Please select your home edition
Rooster Sailing - Aquafleece Leaderboard

Club Racing vs. Circuit Racing by Charlie South

by Charlie South, Laser Radial on 29 May 29 May 2017
Charlie South sailing at Stokes Bay © SBSC

In 2016 / 2017 I moved from the Topper to racing the Laser Radial. I'd sailed the Laser a bit before, but it was a big change! I thought I'd write a few things on the pros and cons of attending open training & circuit racing vs. spending time at your home club if you want to make a change to racing a Laser Radial.

I'm lucky my home club is Stokes Bay. Stokes has a really active Laser fleet with a great Radial section and a number of talented local sailors. If you're lucky enough to have a strong home fleet there are some real pros for staying local.


  • Little / no travel
  • Friendly yet great racing that you can test yourself in without pressure
  • Great advice and training
  • Regular races in a familiar format
  • Enables you to focus on boat handling and racing as you know the venue
Sailing locally has massive advantages if you've got a strong home fleet. That said, there are disadvantages too.


  • Pecking orders – it's easy to 'fall' into your usual place in a race "because that's where you usually finish"
  • Competition – with smaller fleets you don't get to race against as many people and can end up just racing yourself
  • Start lines & courses – not all clubs can put on an Open Meeting standard start line and course
  • The number of races and how long they are – at a home club you may only get 2 short races a weekend (pro & con!)

I think it comes down to what you want from sailing. I love sailing at Stokes – it's friendly, competitive, good fleet numbers and you can learn loads from the really experienced Standard and Radial sailors. But, if you are looking to do well at Open Meetings you need the experience of big fleet starts and courses.

Local Series

I'm doing the Rooster South Coast Laser Grand Prix Circuit at the moment and these one day events are really good fun. I did one last year and Keyhaven this year. it's a really good way of moving from Club racing in to the circuit without travelling too far! The racing is a step up from the Club because of the courses and starts, but not as full on as the qualifiers and has a great range of people racing.


In the Toppers it seemed that every week I was away at an event somewhere. The National Series is great in the Toppers with big fleets and really good competition. I was a little worried about going to the Laser Qualifiers, but found that the fleet was really friendly with a big range of sailors racing. I'd say if you want to give it a go, go for it! You won't be put off on the water by the other sailors and you could surprise yourself as well. What is also good is that the key opens are either in the Spring or Autumn. This means in-between you get to sail at your Club and local events!

T1 / Open Training

The class and RYA put on Autumn / Winter open training and last year / this year I did most of them. The training is excellent and you get to know and learn from sailors at a similar level to you as there is a great range of Radials doing them. At some we had 25 or more boats so it's like a really busy open meeting – on the water training hard for two full days with great briefings. These weekends really helped me step up from the Topper sailing to racing the Laser instead of just steering it around the course!

So... I think it's a balance between Club and circuit and what you want to do and are able to do!

Thinking about going to the Qualifiers in the Autumn? I'd say get to grips with the Laser at your Club over the summer, attend the local events to start Open Meeting practice on start lines and then pick your Qualifiers! If you can attend any of the open training over the winter these days really help get you up to speed for the Youth Nationals and Spring Qualifies! Hopefully I'll be doing them again this winter.

My tips for moving from Club to Qualifiers would be:

  • Race at your club regularly to help get your racing going
  • Attend the Open Training to learn and meet other Radials doing what you are
  • Go to the local events to get Open experience and race other people not at your Club
  • Do a qualifier for the experience – they're really good fun!
  • GET FIT! Then get even fitter!

Read more on the Rooster Sailing blog at

Related Articles

Latest Supertherm® Steamer
Revealed by Rooster! The pessimist complains about the weather, the optimist expects it to change, the realist sails through winter with the right kit. Posted on 17 Nov
British University Fleet Racing Championships
Bournemouth, Plymouth & Southampton take Fleet Trophies A record entry for the annual BUCS Fleet Racing Championships - over 230 student sailors from 25 universities - competed at Draycote Water SC over the first weekend of November. Posted on 17 Nov
Laser Inlands at Grafham Water
150 helms race across the three fleets 43 Laser Standards gathered at Grafham Water SC to compete in the 2017 Laser Inland Championships. Notoriously shifty and unpredictable, the Inlands can throw up some real surprises and it really means that anyone can win. Posted on 9 Nov
Latest on the Rooster Blog
Including Confessions of an Optimist sailor Confessions of an Optimist Sailor by Millie Irish, Rooster® Lace Tidy® DAME Design Award Nominee, Junior Sailing, a Guide to Get Going! By Nick Welbourn, Wind, Rain & Broken Kickers, by Monique Vennis-Ozanne and more! Posted on 6 Nov
RYA North East Youth Championships overall
A fantastic celebration of youth sailing The RYA NE Youth Championships delivered all that was expected of it and more, with sunshine, a fantastic wind, an ace race management team and, most important of all, over 50 Youth sailors showing the highest levels of sailing skills. Posted on 6 Nov
Zhik to partner with Sail Melbourne
As Official Apparel Partner and Event Supplier Australia's technical sailing apparel producer Zhik has come on board as Official Apparel Partner and Event Supplier of the 2017 Sail Melbourne International regatta (29 November - 3 December 2017). Posted on 3 Nov
Belize Sailing Association Nationals
Joo emerges as the Opti Fleet Champion After delays and a postponements to inclement weather and poor wind conditions, the Belize Sailing Association's (BzSA) National Championships for the Optimist class boats got underway October 28th and 29th at the BTL park in Belize City. Posted on 3 Nov
Rooster Sailing at METSTRADE 2017
Showcasing the DAME-nominated Lace Tidy and more Alongside our bestselling layering system, we will be showcasing some exciting new registered designs, our innovative DAME nominated Lace Tidy® and offering insight into the development of our new ladies and shore side ranges. Posted on 31 Oct
Enoshima Olympic Week
Views from USA and AUS teams US Sailing Team Laser Radial athlete Erika Reineke (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) won gold at the conclusion of a stormy Enoshima Olympic Week, the first large multi-class regatta to be held at the site of the Tokyo 2020 sailing competition. Posted on 30 Oct
Australian Olympic medallists confirmed
For Sail Melbourne International Regatta The Australian Sailing Team, including its Olympic medallists, will head to Melbourne at the end of November for the 2017 edition of the Sail Melbourne International Regatta. Posted on 28 Oct