Yacht racing

From Academic Kids

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J-24_yacht_racing,_Sydney_Harbour.jpg
Inshore yacht racing on Sydney Harbour, Australia

Yacht racing is the sport of competitive sailing. There is a broad variety of kinds of races and sailboats used for racing. Much racing is done around buoys or similar marks in protected waters, while some longer offshore races cross open water. All kinds of boats are used for racing, including small dinghies, catamarans, boats designed primarily for cruising, and purpose-built raceboats.



Contents

1 Single Handed Yacht Racing

2 Classes and ratings
3 Classes of Sailing Dinghies, Skiffs, Yachts and Multihulls

Offshore racing

Offshore racing involves a fleet of yachts racing over a course that takes them away from the coast and across blue water for considerable distances, even around the world. Some of the most famous offshore races are the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the Transpacific Yacht Race, the Fastnet race, the Volvo Ocean Race (formerly called the Whitbread Round the World Race), the Vendee Globe and the Global Challenge.The Bermuda Race and Transatlantic race

Single Handed Yacht Racing

One challenging feature of yacht racing is the opportunity to race in single handed yacht races. Perhaps the first and most famous is the single handed transatlantic race which began in the early 1960s with now famous people such as Sir Francis Chichester, Blondie Hasler (inventor of a self steering system and Cockle Shell Hero), Dr David Lewis and Val Howells taking part.This race was from England to the USA. Single handed yacht racing has grown since then and there have been a number of single handed around the world races.

Harbour or buoy racing

Harbour or buoy races are much shorter than offshore races, usually taking anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. All sorts of sailing craft are used for these races, including keelboats of all sizes, as well as dinghies, catamarans, skiffs, sailboards, and other small craft. A competition, or regatta, usually consists of multiple individual races, where the boat that performs best in each race is the overall winner. The most famous such event is the America's Cup, but harbour races are common anywhere there is a community of sailors.

This kind of race is most commonly run over one or more laps of a triangular course marked by a number of buoys. The course starts from an imaginary line drawn from a 'committee boat' to the designated 'starting' buoy. A number of warning signals are given telling the crews exactly how long until the race starts. The aim of each crew is to cross the start line at full speed exactly as the race starts. A course generally involves tacking upwind to a 'windward' marker or buoy. Then bearing away onto a downwind leg to a second gybe marker. Next another gybe on a second downwind leg to the last mark which is called the 'downwind mark'. At this mark the boats turn into wind once again to tack to the finish line.

Classes and ratings

Many design factors have a large impact on the speed at which a boat can complete a course, including the size of a boat's sails, its length, and the weight and shape of its hull. Because of these differences, it can be difficult to compare the skills of the sailors in a race if they are sailing very different boats. For most forms of yacht racing, one of two solutions to this problem are used; either all boats are required to be identical (a one-design class), or a handicapping system is used.

In one-design race all boats must conform to the same standard, called class rules. In this way the boats are as identical as they can be manufactured, thus emphasizing the skill of the skipper and crew. Examples of popular classes include Etchells, Snipe, Star, Thistle, Lightning, Laser, and J/24. Each class has a detailed set of specifications that must be met for the boat to be considered a member of that class. At important regattas the boats are measured prior to the event to insure that they do conform.

When all the yachts in a race are not members of the same class, then a handicap is used to adjust the times of boats. The handicap attempts to specify a "normal" speed for each boat, usually based either on measurements taken of the boat, or on the past record of that kind of boat. Each boat is timed over the specified course. After it has finished, the handicap is added to each boat's finishing time. The results are based on this sum.

Classes of Sailing Dinghies, Skiffs, Yachts and Multihulls

Template:Sailing Dinghies and Skiffs Template:Keelboats Worldwide Template:List of Catamarans and Trimarans

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