Racing Shorthanded: The Scene

By Kimball Livingston Posted August 19, 2014

Maybe it means something that 20 percent of the 2014 Pacific Cup fleet is sailing doublehanded. Maybe it means something that the biggest annual race on San Francisco Bay is a goofy winter event for one- and two-person crews. And maybe it means something that the Singlehanded Transpac is simply an event on the calendar, as opposed to a point of controversy, as it was when it started 35 years ago. Shorthanded sailing is having a heyday in Northern California, and its driving forces fit into the big picture of sailing in 2014.

• The average raceboat has grown smaller. (Even as the average cruising boat has grown larger—go figure).
• Keelboat owners bemoan the difficulty of finding, keeping and feeding skilled crew.
• Many people yearn to escape predictable windward-leeward courses.

So, a smaller boat is easy enough to sail shorthanded. It’s easy enough to provision for only one or two. And nobody, but nobody, sails shorthanded windward-leeward races. Are we making sense here?


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