What is Match Racing?

What is Match Racing?

A match race is a challenge between two identically-matched boats with a winner -and a loser. When two boats are on the starting line, the race is called match racing. Match racing has its own set of rules, which are slightly different from the regular racing rules that create very close, aggressive competition in which collisions are certainly not rare. Match racing also has on-the-water judging, with umpires issuing "instant justice" on the water.
Course
  • The match racing course resembles an oval shape with the Start/Finish line close to shore.
  • The course consists of a starting line, between two marks, laid at right angles to the wind's direction.
  • The boats begin from the starting line and sail upwind to the first mark to be rounded to the starboard (right side). The spinnakers are set, and the duel continues downwind to the second mark that is laid in close proximity to the starting line 100-meters further up the course.
  • The boats round the marks 2-3 times before the winner crosses the Finish line

Crew & Duties

Skipper (or helmsman) is the team leader or captain on the yacht whose job not only involves steering the boat around the course but will make the final decisions regarding tactics and strategy during the course of the race
Mainsheet trimmer controls the largest sail onboard where most of the speed is centered. The mainsheet trimmer works closely with the skipper to ensure the maximum speed potential is gained from his sail.
Trimmer controls the smaller head or front sail. On the downwind leg, he will work closely with the pitman in controlling the spinnaker.
Bowman who is responsible for sail changes at the front of the boat. He is the "eye at the front". The bowman must be athletic and possess the ability to move about the front of the boat with ease and speed.
Pitman assists the trimmer in winching in the headsail & spinnaker. He controls most of the ropes that will shape the sails.