- Top competitors - In a local fleet, the one or two competitors where winning is the most important thing. They hate to lose ! and they usually don't.
- Semi competitors - They are competent racers but are out there more for fun. However semi competitors are very cognizant of where they should finish within a fleet. If they usually finish fourth and beat Ray ..... they are comfortable with this result. If Ray beats them and they finish sixth, it is not a good day. A semi competitor is out there to enjoy the competition but finishing where they assume they should finish is also very important. Pecking order matters. A semi competitor also needs to gauge his finish against a top competitor.
- Non competitors - Tailenders. They like to belong to the group. They just enjoy being out there and they can be very regular attendees.
Certainly I can apply Stuart's theories to my own sailing. When I realized the International Canoe class had moved beyond where I could compete physically or wanted to compete technologically (both in cost and time)........ when I realized I was not going to get results at my previous level, I moved on.
What Stuart's unified theory doesn't explain is how someone picks a fleet and why fleet loyalty is so important. If at Severn Sailing Association I want to race a doublehander class, I can pick either a Snipe, Comet, Jet 14, Daysailor, Vanguard 15 or Johnson 18. Usually once a sailor chooses his class, there is little crossover. When the Comet fleet declined relative to the Snipe fleet, there was not one Comet sailor that switched classes.