Match Racing is often regarded as the ‘purest form of the racing’, with two identical boats racing against each other. With just one boat to beat, boat handing and tactical nous are key to success. Whilst the leader uses blocking techniques to hold their rival back, the trailing boat will constantly look to escape the grasp of the leader and pass.
As it is umpired racing, the winner is decided instantly on the water rather than in the protest room. This one-on-one duel is a game of tactics and strategy. There is only one winner.
The format of match racing events varies depending on the number of competitors and the organiser’s decisions, but the most common format is to sail a round robin where each team sails against everyone else followed by knock-out stages to ultimately crown a winner.
Match racing is the perfect platform to hone tactical skills, particularly around attack and defence, which can be translated into a fleet racing environment.
Anyone who has raced will have battled in a what is essentially a match racing, as you look to break free from another boat, be it for a race position or championship glory.
Winter Match Racing
Whilst the America’s Cup is the most renowned match racing event, there are many opportunities to get involved at all levels and on your doorstep.
The RYA run the Winter Match Racing series which is open to all British teams, held annually at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. With the added benefit of competition and training, with coaches and a full empire team at every event, it’s the perfect opportunity to try out match racing for the first time.
Re-writing the rule book
Racing in the America’s Cup in multihulls has evolved into an event with its own rule book written to suit the event and corresponding environment. The stadium race format sees reaching starts and exclusion zones, whereas the RYA Match Racing circuit follows a more traditional set-up of monohull racing and windward-leedward courses.
With the World Match Racing Tour having used multihulls for the past two years, the sport is evolving all the time and there’s no better time to get involved. Whilst the step from dinghy racing to America’s Cup may seem inconceivable for many, the UK match racing scene provides the ideal environment to sail, race and learn and you could even end up on the Europe or World Match Racing tour.
Inspired? Try sailing this summer www.rya.org.uk/go/startsailing #trysailing