Monday, October 20, 2008

Sailboat Racing Seminar Attracts Crowd at Bahia Corinthian YC

By: Ambrosia Sarabia | Wednesday, October 15, 2008 10:40:00 AM
Last updated: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 10:40:00 AM

Racers discuss strategies, take notes, ask questions.
– Novice and expert racers alike packed Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, armed with pen and paper, to jot down notes on how to beat their competition on the water during two Sailboat Racing Seminars Sept. 11.

Photo by: Ambrosia Sarabia photo
Rules of the Road — Racers jotted down notes while Paul DeCapua, an assistant fleet captain for Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, taught them the ins and outs of sailboat racing.

The first one, Sailboat Racing 101, was aimed toward first-time racers and covered the basics of getting on the water. Basic ratings, rating adjustments and Rules of the Road were discussed.

“I’m really trying to take the fear and the mystery out of the unknown,” explained Paul DeCapua, an assistant sail fleet captain for Bahia Corinthian YC.

The seminars began last year, in an effort to promote racing. After thinking back to his early days of racing and how confusing it could be for a newcomer, DeCapua decided to lead the seminars.

Back then, “I had no clue what to do,” said DeCapua, who followed the leaders around the marks not knowing what was right or wrong. “What may slow folks down is that they don’t know what to do.”

Now, with more than 15 years of sailing experience under his belt, he is determined to help nonracers make the transition to become experienced racers.

Boaters from local yacht clubs and nonmembers both participated in the seminar, where they received handouts listing the Rules of the Road and information on how to knock seconds off their time. Those who stayed for both lectures (which was everyone) received free entry into the Hot Rum Series at the yacht club.

For those more experienced racers, part two of the seminar — Sailboat Racing 102 — offered tips on how to shave valuable seconds off racing times. Suggestions included strategies for optimum crew placement, sail trim, rigging and crew work.

Other tips included using lightweight sheets in light wind, removing unnecessary clutter from a vessel and installing sail telltales and an inclinometer.

Ward Adams, a resident of Lido Peninsula, said he is going to put some of those tips to work.

“I learned a lot of rigging tips, sail-trimming tips and advice on how to position the crew,” said Adams, a Beneteau owner. “All of it was very helpful.”

For more information on seminars, visit