Perfect Circle Racing is a program designed to improve amateur sailboat racing. Why has Fred Young created Perfect Circle Racing? Fred has been fortunate enough to learn about sailboat racing from some of the best racers in the world, and he would like to share that knowledge.
Currently, there is no training or certification authority for sailboat racers. Sailing classes are set up to teach the captain how to sail, and then leave the captain on his own to teach his crew. But when a racing sailboat has 10 crew and one captain, the quality of the crew becomes an issue, and most captains have not been taught how to be good trainers and race program mangers. Most racing crew express interest, and the captain brings them on board and teaches them what they need to know. The training is usually not very complete, because we need to get out to the race course, and the crew learn by trial and error and talking to other racing sailors. Perfect Circle Racing intends to change that by establishing a consistent curriculum for sailboat racers, and providing a certification process for each crew position. This will improve the quality of racing crew, and allow a captain to know something about the capability of a potential new crew before he is invited to race on the captain's boat. This will also allow more non sailors to get involved in sailboat racing creating a large crew pool for the skippers. Perfect Circle Racing recognizes that the skill sets required to be a captain, helmsman, jib trimmer, bowman, or any other crew position are different. So Perfect Circle Racing allows each crew to be trained and certified in each of the crew positions.
Fred has been sailing since the early 70's, and has sailed all over the world. During the 70's and 80's Fred raced quite a bit, IOR on the east coast, and PHRF on the west coast, all handicap racing. He was regarded as a very good racer. So when Fred fell into a Schock 35 and was invited to sail with the fleet; while he was not so arrogant to think he would win immediately, he thought we would do OK. However, he received a wake up call. In his first Schock 35 one-design race he was so DFL (dead last) he could not see the boats finishing in front of him. He realized he had some things to learn, and as it turned out, the Schock 35 fleet was the perfect platform to teach him. So after 8 years in the Schock 35 fleet, and taking his team from last to second in the country in three years he started sharing what he had learned.
Fred started flying in 1978, and by 1980 was a commercial pilot with three flight instructor ratings. By 1990, Fred had over 3500 hours of flight time, 1200 hour teaching students how to fly, had made numerous flights across the US, and delivered a small aircraft (Cessna 310) from Oakland, across the Pacific to Australia. For years, Fred had been studying and teaching weather, aerodynamics, and other subjects. Fred had become skilled at training people to develop the new skills required to pilot aircraft in many different environments. Fred discovered that these same training techniques and subject matter were a perfect fit for teaching people how to sail racing sailboats. He used these flying techniques successfully in his Schock 35 program.
Fred started sailing one design with the Schock 35 fleet in 2002. This was a great experience. The Schock 35 Fleet is very well organized. They have an excellent set of class rules. They have put on racing clinics where Dave Ullman, or some other expert, would spend the morning teaching us how to race better, then in the afternoon he would come on our boats and show us how to improve. Other presentations included how to create a racing program, with a panel of National Champions. And at the end of a days racing, all the boats would tie up together, with beer and munchies on the dock. While this was a fun social event, the best skippers would share their knowledge with all of us who were at the bottom of the fleet and had much to learn. It quickly became clear that even those at the back of the Schock 35 Fleet were really good racers. Fred was asked to be Class president in 2004. As President of the Schock 35 Class, Fred wanted to promote the fleet. So, among other things, he wrote a book titled "Performance Sailing" and started teaching Performance Sailing seminars in yacht clubs from Santa Barbara to San Diego. These seminars were well received with attendance as high as 235 sailors. These seminars brought together some of the best sailors in the world in a format that would allow us mere humans to learn some tricks and techniques to help us be better racers. It was clear our sport of sailboat racing needed better educational opportunities.
One of the great lessons Fred learned, was the difference between being a good racer, and a good seaman. While sailing handicap races such as PHRF, Fred, and many others, thought him to be a good racer. But once Fred started racing one-design, and learned a myriad of subtleties associated with top of the fleet racing, Fred realized that before he started racing in the Schock 35 fleet, he really wasn't a good racer, he was just a very good seaman. He was able to sail a boat anywhere in the world, in any weather; but he was not yet expert at the subtleties that make the difference between 19th and 1st is a very competitive one design fleet. As with many things, becoming an "expert" racer is not a destination, but a journey. Anyone who has raced is on the road to becoming a better racer. Every time you sail around the race course, you learn something. And every time you compete against those who are better sailors, you learn more. Eventually, with study and practice, you find yourself at the top of your fleet, competing with the best. Then you start looking for the next, more competitive fleet. You are on the road to becoming an expert racer. Just remember to have fun in the process.
This program is open to anyone who is or wants to be involved in sailboat racing, and provides education, training and certification for both race crew and skippers, experienced or new to racing. We are looking for boat owners who need crew, or just want to raise their skill level; and crew of any experience level who desire to improve or get involved. Any existing team can participate in our training sessions, and any unattached crew will be made available to boat owners on our list. If you own a boat think you might need crew, you should sign up.
Sign up and get on our email list. You will be made aware of our training sessions, and where possible, we will give you crew referrals. We hope to see you out on the water.
Fill in this form and click the submit button, and we will add you to our schedule email list. We will then send you scheduling information regarding our free classes so you can participate if you choose.