General Information/FAQ

The dinghy regattas are intended as a fun and relaxed way to improve sailing skills through an introduction to racing. Sailors meet at 12:00 on race days to rig and have a short skipper's meeting, which will include a review of the racing format and the important rules.  We tow out as close to 12:30 as possible and run as many races as we can before 3:00.  Racing costs $5 to help offset the RC/safety boat expenses.

For 2014, regatta dates will be as follows: Saturday, May 3; Sundays May 18, June 8 and June 22, July 13 and July 27, August 17 and August 31, September 7; Saturday, September 27.  Our annual pirate regatta date will be Saturday, October 25, 2014.  Dates are also posted on the UCSC Boating Center's google calendar and will be updated there if any changes are made due to weather.


Q1.  I've never raced before.  How much sailing experience is required to participate?
A1.  Most of our participants are learning (or have learned) to race through these regattas.  Beginners are welcome.  Anyone who has completed the beginning class or has equivalent experience can crew, providing there are enough qualified skippers.  Club members with a Level 2 dinghy checkout can be skippers.  Frequently, both teammates are checked out at Level 2.  In this situation, skipper and crew typically trade positions after every race so everyone gets helm time.

Q2a.  I'm thinking about joining the club, but would like to try it out first.  Can guests participate?
Q2b.  My friend/sister-in-law/fourth cousin will be in town and I would like to bring them.  Can they sail with me?
A2.  Yes, guests can participate provided they are crewing for a club member.  The guest fee is $10 the first regatta and $15 to race as a guest again in the same quarter.  In order to keep the racing fun and competitive, crew should have at least the equivalent of beginning dinghy experience (be comfortable handling the jib sheets while tacking and gybing, hiking, etc.)  Guests with intermediate dinghy experience or the equivalent can take the helm at the discretion of the skipper, who has assumed liability for the boat.

Q3.  What if I don't have anyone to sail with?
A3.  One of the coolest aspects of the regatta program is that it offers a great opportunity to meet other people who like sailing the dinghies.  Most people don't designate a teammate when they sign up, and enjoy racing with a different partner every regatta.  The race organizer will assign boats based on experience, with the goal of making sure teams are evenly matched.

Q4.  What boats are available?
A4.  The primary boats are the Coronado-15 fleet used for classes.  A set of "regatta sails" used only on race days makes this a true one-design fleet.  Lasers and FJs may be added to accommodate more sailors as needed.  Additional certification is required to take these boats.

Q5.  What are the courses like?
A5.  Short, windward-leeward courses are preferred.  A reach mark may be set at the discretion of the race committee.  Races are 1, 2, or 3 laps, as announced by the race committee before the start of each race.

Q6.  How do the boats start?
A6.  The 3-minute start found in Appendix S of the Racing Rules of Sailing describes the signals made during the start sequence.  We will review these during the skipper's meeting before racing.  Depending on the number of boats participating, there may be a separate start for C-15s and Laser/FJ, or all boats may start together.  All races will be conducted with upwind starts.

Q7.  What do you do in the event of bad weather?
A7.  See the Weather and Forecast Info page for more on conditions that would warrant cancelling or postponing the regatta.  Decisions regarding cancellation or postponement will be made by the race organizer. Participants will be contacted by email or phone as soon as a decision is made.

Q8.  I'm not sure I'm ready to race, but I would like to watch/take pictures/help with race committee. 
A8.  We are always looking for people to help with running the races, and there is sometimes room for an additional spectator/photographer on the committee boat.  Check with Mark Merritt; he will know more specifically about available space on the date you have in mind.