What Sailors Want

You have spoken! Here's what we found when we asked our readers what made for a good regatta party.
regatta party
Party on at last year’s Helly Hansen Marblehead NOOD Regatta. Paul Todd/Outside Images

The unwritten code of sailboat racing is that the party is as important as the race itself. Yes, it’s true: Our post-race gatherings are essential, whether inside the club, under a tent, in the boat park or the nearest brick-and-mortar bar; these locations present a place to hunt for speed tips or tactical assurances — assuaging the “if only.” Yes, we’ve seen our share of parties, which mostly provide the essentials: a place to gather, a light snack, and bartenders slinging the good stuff. One could argue our parties are all the same these days, which, after polling our Facebook audience, might not necessarily be a bad thing. Here’s what we discovered from our 72 respondents, 48 percent of whom came from individuals who classify themselves as skippers, and 52 percent as crew.

Race for the party
If you feel as though the party’s always hopping, it’s because 66 percent of sailors say they always attend post-competition events, while another 37 percent go often. “The Chicago-Mac Race Rum Party is a great ­opportunity to get together with friends after a long trek to the island to share tales from the race,” writes one respondent, claiming it as the best of the season.

It’s social. Duh.
Seventy-seven percent of respondents say that socializing with other sailors is the priority, and 66 percent say they prefer to do it with a beverage in their hand. According to one skipper from Florida, the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship throws a solid shindig: “The food, beverages and entertainment are always top-notch. It’s really cool to meet and get to know sailors from all over the nation.”


Suds or spirits? Everybody wins.
Fifty-one percent tell us they head for the beer and wine offerings, while 41 percent prefer to keep bartenders busy with mixed drinks — notably rum, of course. One skipper from ­Wisconsin writes: “The Mount Gay Rum is the best, and a great supporter of events. I reciprocate by drinking and buying only Mount Gay.”

Hangin’ with the crew
A impressive 81 percent of sailors say they attend the parties with their crew or skipper. Only 10 percent of sailors said they bring their significant other or kids to the parties. “Figawi Race Week [in Nantucket] always has the highest energy under the big tent,” says a crewmember from Massachusetts. The tent must be rocking, since 63 percent claim they love it when the dance floor gets active.

Stay thirsty for knowledge
Sailors yearn to learn, and 42 percent say they enjoy informational sessions in the form of pro talks and panels. “It’d be great to see more professional- or race-leader-led discussions at events,” says a skipper from Rhode Island. “It’s a chance to share tips, evaluate performance and talk about what worked that day.”