Introduction to Sailboat Racing

Learn the basics of racing a sailboat in this one-morning class presented by the Arizona Yacht Club. Prerequisites: None required. Tuition: $10

Our next class will be in mid-September 2024.
Contact Mike Ferring if you have questions.

Racing a sailboat is a kick. It combines the fun of sailing your boat with the raw competition of trying to beat someone else in a similar boat. Racing also teaches you boat handling and sail trim in a way that no amount of cruising could—by comparing your speed and handling side-by-side with other boats.

True, the first time you see a sailboat race, you may think it’s too complicated and chaotic (it can be both). But like anything else new, you can grow into it step-by-step. This is designed to let you take a bunch of steps all at once.

Who should take the class: Anyone who would like to sharpen sailing skills or sink your teeth into the excitement of sailboat racing. Even if you’ve raced before, you’ll probably learn new things about rules, tactics and procedures. Even if you only intend to crew or simply want to understand the game, you’re welcome in this class.

“I enjoyed it and learned a ton! You guys make great instructors.”

— Ryan Kroelinger, Introduction to Sailboat Racing student.

Class Description: This class will familiarize you with AYC race procedures and offer a crash course in, well, racing and not crashing.

Course Content Includes:

  • Race Procedures: Race Documents, Entry, Check-in, Starts, Race Courses, Finishing, Scoring, Race Committee Responsibilities, Protests
  • Rules: Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing 2021-2024, including when boats meet, complying with race procedures, and avoiding incidents
  • Tactics: Starts, Upwind Tactics, Downwind Tactics, Mark Roundings, Wind Shifts, and Finishes
C14s neck and neck downwind at TTL. Photo: Marc Danner

Because of limited time, the class can not include sections on making your boat go faster or on boat handling, both of which are essential to winning races. But we can help.

Class meetings: Tempe Public Library meeting room, 3500 S. Rural Road, Tempe, AZ 85282. Starting at 9:30am and ending at noon.

Instructors: Mike and Maryellen Ferring, both US Sailing Small Boat Instructors, originated the course and have taught it for over 10 years. Mike is also a US Sailing certified Powerboat Instructor and certified Club Race Officer. They race a C14 at Tempe Town Lake and a J/70 at Lake Pleasant. They’ve won the 2022-2023 C14 Championship at Tempe Town Lake, the 2020-21 Sport Boat fleet championship and previously won other Sport Boat championships, four PHRF Non-Spin season championships and three C14 fleet championships.

Maryellen & Mike Ferring