So you want to give it a try at racing your sail boat?
Probably you were cruising along and saw a race or got bombarded by group notices or chat in-world or read it in these forums, but your interest is there and maybe you want to give it a try?
Well am sure that is how most of us started or maybe some seasoned sailors just joined SL, rezed a boat and Go Go Go
OK a few important tips on first time racing. (This may also apply to experienced sailors especially on new boats )
1- Get information about that race. Ask the RD's (Race Directors) about what you need to join the race for example how to ID the boat, how to acquire wind. Good to also know if possible the courses that may be used as well as tools like Trapnav, USB etc that could be available to help navigate the courses. Try to do this at least 30 minutes or more before the race or days before would be even better. IM the RD, most will reply to you within 24 hours.
2- Put it to practice. Try it. Taking notes is good but do try to make sure you can get wind ID etc. then you will be certain :)
3- Do your own practice. Again if you know the courses and winds that will be used you can feel the course by having some practices.Can also ask the RD about it, most will help you with this.Also you may run into others practicing just like you and make new sailing friends
4- Show up at the race 30 minutes prior to start. Especially your first times. Then any issues you can makes sure to get help from the RD or experience sailors.
Remember that we are all on RL time and some like to follow schedule times of races. So showing up at 5 minutes to the start and not knowing anything about racing is not a good to all those who are waiting for the start signal.
5- Have fun but race fair. Very true if you are new to racing that you may not know of any rules but do get inform of the basic ones.
If unsure of any rules then best to keep a bit of distance or avoid contact with other boats at all. As you get more experience then all will start coming naturally.
Here is a great site you can have fun learning about the rules.
To sum things up as a first timer the more you know the better your sailing experience will be for you as well as for others.