The great thing about the Kestrel is that it performs well for almost any crew combination. You don’t have to be little or large to get the most out of your racing (though you can be). Thoroughbred handling allows Kestrel crew to race in the widest range of conditions and at almost any location. This means more racing and less time spent ashore.
The Kestrel racing fleet is made up from a diverse lot with all ages and abilities represented. What unites us is our passion for this boat and the Kestrel racing scene. We love it when a new boat arrives at one of our open meetings – even better if it does well.
Don’t worry if you’re new to the racing scene – we’ve all been there and can remember our first event. Arrive at a Kestrel Open and in a matter of minutes someone will usually have said hello and introduced themselves (you might even get a cup of tea). We’re not a vast, annonymous fleet and are proud of our inclusive, family-friendly approach to racing. Many good friendships have started at a Kestrel event which is why even non-sailing “Kestrellers” turn up time-after-time.
Many a Kestrel sailor will say that you’ll learn more during one Kestrel open meeting than in a whole season of club racing. It’s probably true, especially if you remember all the hints and tips you’ll get given. There will certainly be some tales to tell once you get back to your club!
At the top of the fleet, racing is very competitive and mistakes are punished, but then that’s the way it should be. . . and there’s no better incentive to improving one's sailing than to see a similar boat going faster than your own. Some sailors will spend hours measuring, tweaking and tuning their Kestrel but you don’t have to be a “techie”. Others just arrive, rig the boat and sail, doing equally as well.
Because the Kestrel class rules allow for a certain amount of customising within the Kestrel cockpit, you’ll occasionally find a boat surrounded by those wondering what latest “go-faster” bit has been added. This leads to in-depth dinghy park discussions which get more complicated once the bar opens and an evening of “après-sail” begins! Fear not; standard Kestrels have won the Nationals. It is also worth mentioning that builders of the Kestrel, Richard and Mark Hartley, have won the Nationals in the past. That gives a good idea as to just how committed to the boat they are.
Race with us – we know it will be good for you.
As a club racer, Kestrels are fantastic. They can be found doing well at a wide assortment of venues such as: The Norfolk Broads; The Solent; The Lakes; from large reservoirs to small gravel pits; many river, estuary and coastal clubs – and Kestrels can even be found racing in North America and Bahrain. Once again, it is the Kestrel’s proven performance across all conditions that makes it so successful. A good beam-to-length ratio on a low-drag hull makes the Kestrel the terror of flukey gravel pit breezes – just sit still and keep the transom out of the wet stuff! On larger waters it’s the Kestrel’s poise, power and ease of control that come into play as conditions become stronger and the spray starts to fly.