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Barz Optics - Floaters

Inshore and Offshore

by David Schmidt on 19 Jul 2010
One of the greatest aspects of our sport is the opportunity for variety and adventure. Take, for example, the Pacific Cup fleet. Some boats have now finished, some classes have been determined, while others are still up for contest, and possibly can be for several more days.

And while these sailors will be seriously psyched for some strong mai tai's and cold beers, there's a damned good chance that more than a few of these salts are already day dreaming about the next offshore adventure. Offshore sailing is just like that.

Or, for those who love sailing long distance while staying within the international boundaries of the United States, distance racing on the Great Lakes is always an option.

Foolish is the sailor who underestimates the huge wind-blown seas and 'offshore' like conditions that often prevail on these massive lakes. The foulies (and the crew) might not get as salty as their Hawaiian-bound brethren, but the sense of competition is equally strong.

Just ask the crew of the Beau Geste, a Farr 80. These guys managed to set a new record for this year's Annapolis-Bermuda Race, quickly swap out crewmembers, point the bow for Newport for the start of the Newport-Bermuda Race, and now, just about a month later, they enjoyed a quick ride to Mackinac Island.

And then, on the east coast, Newport just hosted what can be considered one of the all-time classic regattas, the New York Yacht Club Race Week, which was attended by 107 boats.

Here, sailors playing the inshore game enjoyed superb weather, great winds, and excellent racing. Competition was especially heavy in this year's Club Swan 42 class, as well as in the J/109 class and J/105 classes, but, as always, it was the classic yachts that managed to turn the most heads.

Case in point: sailing offers a 'choose-your-own-adventure' opportunity far more than most sports; yet another reason to celebrate our fine sport. And that's not even to mention dinghy sailing, match racing, speed records or kite boarding…and the list goes far deeper…

Fair winds and following seas,

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