6 things to consider when taking your dinghy racing

Entering a dinghy race for the first time? Here are six things to consider when taking your dinghy racing, including kit, what to wear, essential skills and general advice and tips…

 

1. What do you want out of your dinghy sailing experience?

The first thing to consider is whether you’re racing for fun or racing competitively. There are lots of different types and some are built for speed and exhilaration while others are better for relaxed cruising. If you bought your dinghy for leisurely sailing, you might want to trade it in for a faster model - it's all down to each individual sailor and what you want out of the experience. 

 

2. What’s your skill level?

If you’re not sure what level you’re at, whether it be somewhere between beginner and intermediate or more towards the advanced end, ask your local sailing club what category and class you should compete in. You don’t want to be out of your depth racing against experienced dinghy sailors, but you’ll still want some kind of a challenge. Be sure to get some practice in before your race so you’re up to scratch and feeling confident on the water.

 

3. Do you know the basic racing rules?

Before you sign up for anything, you should make sure that you have a sound understanding of the rules of racing. The RYA Handy Guide to the Racing Rules is essential reading for anyone new to the sport and even long-standing participants, as the Racing Rules of Sailing are revised and republished every four years. It's a simple, straightforward guide covering key areas of principles, when boats meet, penalty turns, propulsion, protesting  and the race committee. It's also strongly recommended that you study the RYA Racing Rules of Sailing Code as well as this guide to gain a comprehensive view of the sport and take a look at the RYA Racing Rules of Sailing page for more in-depth areas. 

 

4. Is your dinghy fit for purpose?

One of the most important things to consider before entering a race is whether your dinghy is fit for purpose. Check the interior and exterior of your dinghy for any damage, cracks, leaks of wear and tear. You want to make sure your dinghy is as good as new to better your chances in the race so if there’s any repair work, make sure you’ve ample time before the race to fix it up.

 

5. What safety equipment will you need?

Having the correct safety equipment on board is essential, especially during a race. Anything could happen so be prepared for every eventuality. Be sure to have a first aid kit, whistle, buoyancy aid and a maritime radio device (VHF). For a full list of safety essentials, click here.

 

6. Are you insured?

As mentioned above, anything can happen during a dinghy race so having a fully comprehensive insurance policy in place is vital. Dinghy insurance will offer you full racing risk cover, as well as a refund of your race entry fee should you not finish, personal accident cover and medical expenses cover. You’ll also have 30 days European cover for dinghy racing abroad. For more information on dinghy insurance, click here.

 

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