The sport of sailing is racing other boats around a track or course which is marked with floating buoys or other fixed marks. Boats can be from small dinghies to large yachts. Usually, the small boats will just race each other and be of the same type. This is called one-design racing. Larger boats will often be of different sizes and race with a handicap system.
Inshore yacht racing on Sydney Harbour
|Highest governing body||World Sailing|
|First played||18th century|
On the water, a large sailing competition among different boats is a regatta. This is usually a number of races, where the boat crew that performs the best over the series of races is the winner. A lot of racing is done around buoys or marks in safe water near the shore but some longer offshore races cross open water.
It could be said that the sport of international yacht racing began with the America's Cup in 1851. A group of members from the New York Yacht Club built a 101-foot schooner which they called America. This yacht was sailed to England where it won a challenge race for a trophy called the Hundred Guineas Cup. The race course took them around the Isle of Wight. This trophy was subsequently renamed The America's Cup and remained with the New York Yacht Club until 1983. An Australian yacht called Australia 2 finally took it from them after 132-years.
Famous yacht racesEdit
There are a number of famous yacht races being held every year is different parts of the world. These are held using large yachts and involve racing for a number of days without stopping. It is a test of skill and strength over a long time.
Some of the most famous races are:
- Fastnet Race
- Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
- Transpacific Yacht Race
- Bermuda Race
- Hamilton Island Race Week
- Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac
- Governors Cup 
- South Atlantic Race 
Several famous round-the-world races are held also and these are:
The oldest known one-design sailing dinghy is the Water Wag. In 1887 a Mr Thomas Middleton proposed the idea of one design sailing punts, with centreboards all built and rigged the same. A number of these were built and the first race took place on April 12, 1887, in Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) Harbour near Dublin in Ireland.
Now dinghy racing is a worldwide sport and holds events and championships in many classes every year.
This is done entirely in small boats known as keelboats and dinghies. A keelboat has a weighted keel to keep it upright and a dinghy just uses a centreboard and the boat must be balanced by the crew. These were divided into different groups of identical boats called Classes. The first sailing Olympics took place in 1900 at Meulan near Le Havre in France. Over the years the classes of boats allowed to compete have changed because of new design and technology.
Races are sailed in fleets of equal boats racing around the same course at the same time. These race courses include different sailing angles: upwind, downwind and reaching.
This is one boat against another over a short course. It is important that the boats are the same and it is the normal race now used for the America's Cup but it is also sometimes used for racing in yacht clubs.
The Racing Rules of Sailing are used for the sport of yacht racing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, model boat racing, dinghy racing and any other form of racing around a course with more than one boat while powered by the wind.
- Olympic Studies Centre (March 2015). "SAILING: History of Sailing at the Olympic Games" (PDF). stillmed.olympic.org. International Olympic Committee. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-03-07. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
- Royal Ocean Racing Club
- Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, 630 nm
- The Governor's Cup, Cape Town to St. Helena Island, 1690 nautical miles (nm)
- Heineken Cape to Bahia Race (South Atlantic Race), 3500 nm Archived 2009-06-08 at the Wayback Machine
- "First Two Campaigns Announced For 2021 As The Ocean Race Enters New Era". Afloat. March 19 2019
- "British man, 60, dies while taking part in round-the-world yacht race". Guardian. November 19 2017
- "Water Wags Still Learning New Tricks After 131 years". W.M. Nixon, Afloat. April 26 2018
- "Dinghy racing".
- "Racing Rules of Sailing". World Sailing. Retrieved July 2 2019