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A Quick Guide to Different Types of Sailing
There are two main types of sailing. Competitive racing and cruising, which is leisurely. The latter demands experience and knowledge gained from racing. This short guide gives a brief introduction to both.
- Fleet racing
Fleet racing is a competitive type of sailing, with boats of the same type and size taking part. The course is either marked with buoys or goes around several islands. Fleet racing can also be classed as a handicap sport with different types of boat competing against each other. Timing is adjusted accordingly.
- Match racing
Match racing takes place between two contestants with identical boats. The course must always be windward and lasts about twenty minutes. Match racing requires strategy and tactics to outdo opponents.
- Team racing
Team racing is a fun and exciting form of sailing with two teams of up to four competitors each. Each race lasts only about ten minutes, with team race weekends often holding several hundred races. It's a very friendly event attracting keen sailors and their families. Team racing is excellent for honing sailing skills used in match and fleet racing. In fact, scoring is the same as in fleet racing.
- Offshore racing
Offshore racing provides the opportunity to travel, with many events lasting days or weeks. Some trans-Atlantic races can be treacherous with sudden storms and the risk of capsizing.
Cruising is a leisurely form of sailing. Boats become floating homes covering short or long distances. Those skippering boats must be knowledgeable in all areas of safety. Experience in handling boats in all weather and sea conditions is essential. Skippers master this over time by taking part in racing events and learning from the pros.