Team Racing top tips for a fleet racing sailor

by Chris Kameen on July 1, 2013

Wilson Trophy sailing towards grandstandMost sailors think that Team racing is all about mark traps and stopping the opposition, the truth is that for good teams this is not the case. Boat Speed, Boat Handling, and great starts will get you a long way in this sport.

Like any sport team racing is about practicing – but what to practice if you haven’t really got time.. this blog post and one page download sheet should hopefully give you some tips for going to an event when you haven’t really practiced!


What to Check in the Sailing Instructions:

  • – Course
  • – Race Order – how do you find out what race is currently running?
  • – Starting Sequence
  • – Are there any Out of Bounds areas?
  • – Do sailors need to be in any particular boats?
  • – What is the umpire process? – will umpires be following particular teams or zones?
  • – What is the recall procedure?

Kit to bring per boat:

  • – Red / Yellow flags
  • – Bailer
  • – Watch
  • – Team Bibs if necessary
  • – Life Jackets
  • – Mini tool kit: Shackle with clevis pin , thin rope, PVC tape for running repairs during race

Difference between Team Racing and Fleet/Match Racing:

  • – Very short races
  • – Aggressive starting – if you get tailed outside of port layline – stop!
  • – Races are self policed with umpires if necessary
    • 360° self policed
    • 720° umpire given
  • – You must ask for an Umpire decision and it can go against you
  • – The zone is 2 boat lengths, not 3
  • – You can sail below your proper course unless you are overlapped

What to beware of against seasoned team racers:

  • – Running into the back of someone who deliberately does a slow mark rounding or gybe
  • – When tacking onto Port beware of an opposition bearing away in the time between you looking and you tacking – rely on your crew to make the call
  • – Coming into the windward Mark on port and an opposition stopping on Stbd and forcing you to tack

Roles and Responsibilities within the team:

  • – Allocate starting positions to each boat in the team (boat, middle , pin)
  • – Allocate low, middle, high boat numbers to each member of the team for the regatta unless stipulated in SIs. This helps if a team mate boat number is called over (Stbd end starter should listen for the recall numbers)
  • – Who is in charge of the race order – when are you next on?
  • – Who is in charge of getting food and drinks
  • – Who is going to the briefing/ captain etc.

Pre-race checks when you get in the boat:

  • – Rudder secured down
  • – Tiller Extension Secured
  • – Mainsheet Block attached/ shackle tight
  • – Outhaul tension correct if non-adjustable
  • – No water in the boat
  • – Halyards secured and tidy
  • – Toe straps secured
  • – Shroud clevis pins in place and taped up


  1. Always have a member of your team approach the windward mark on Starboard
  2. Try and never have more than two boats from your team on the same tack when sailing on run or wwd leg.
  3. When two team mates meet, ideally both should switch tacks rather than one duck
  4. Always have a planned strategy for the team prior to the race and then talk to each other during the race.
  5. If you are winning the race you want the race to be over as quickly as possible. If you are losing you want the race to take as long as possible!

For a one page down load of this click on this link:  130403 Team Racing Tips

Compiled by Chris Kameen Team race Coach, former Team racing Champion, UK, Ireland and Australia

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