Team Racing in the wet and wind!

by Chris Kameen on May 5, 2014

Saturday 3rd May saw a strong wind warning forecast and heavy rain, but this didn’t deter a great bunch of friends and sailors to make the trip to St George Sailing Club for a random pairs team racing event.

Guy sighting down the finish line

Racing was held just off the club with the first and last legs incorporating the club itself adding additional challenges for the sailors and the few hardy spectators who had a grand view.

Team racing is a great fun way of getting people sailing and racing in short sharp races, and is played out with two teams of matched boats, Teams of 2,3 or 4 are quite common and each have their own unique strategies. Pairs is the simplest to understand and is a great place to start.

A close team racing finishSydney Sailing School provided 4 matched boats plus a rescue boat and set a triangular course. Those that were not scheduled to race were in charge of the starting and finishing! In normal fleet racing, the first boat to cross the finish line wins the race and gets 1 point and the 2nd boat 2 etc. and this is the same for team racing, except you add up the points of your team at the finish. So a 1st and 3rd beats a 2nd and 4th. In the case of  a tie breaker in a team race, the team with 1st place loses, which when we are doing pairs simplifies to “last boat loses”.

The aim of the day was such that crews and helms were switched so that everyone got to sail with and against someone different each time, and if your team won the race each person won 1 point, the losing team members received 0 points. The benefit of this is that strong team racers can help their more inexperienced team mates by blocking or slowing down the opposition using the rules of sailing and blocking the opposition’s wind.

The standard was very high and in this video we can see all 4 boats being on the line going fast at the start gun.

Team racing has fallen foul lately of becoming a bit too intense and a number of high profile events have been cancelled, I can’t help but feel that sometimes this is because we try and make them too complicated and forget why we do it.. to have some fun. If we will only go to events that have a pre-determined number of umpires and race crew, then we miss out on wonderful days like Saturday. If you are interested in doing some yourself then get in touch and we look forward to doing more of the same for the fun of it and not just for sheep stations!

At the end of the day Niall Powers squeaked home as the overall worthy winner.

I am passionate about team racing and love seeing people enjoy this sport.  During the next school holiday starting June 30th we will be running a team racing academy for 4 days. This will be limited to 12 spots only and cost $150 a head.


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