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Club team racing gets its due

Published on May 16th, 2023

More yacht and sailing clubs are now offering adult team racing programs and its working to get more younger members back to the house. Report by Gary Jobson for Sailing World:


For Doug Sabin, one approach to getting more of his yacht-club peers active and on the water was simple: adult team racing. Sailing’s energetic and all-­encompassing ­discipline, Sabin knew, would appeal to younger members at Marblehead’s Corinthian YC, and he was right. Corinthian’s success in building a team-­racing program and engaging its membership in a new and exciting way is a great example for any club or organization looking to jump-start its stagnant sailing program.

Team racing is a ­strategic ­battle where boat position, clever tactics, precise boathandling, tactical skill and teamwork are the ingredients for success. The top teams practice maneuvers to gain an advantage. When one team is winning, it is on defense, and when a team is losing, they are on offense. Like other sports, including basketball and hockey, there are man-to-man ­matchups and zone defenses. It is a fast-­moving game as positions change. Sailors must be quick at math as the scores change.

The most popular format is three boats versus three matches. Watch a competitive intercollegiate team race and you will see teams attacking and ­trading the lead during fast-paced ­maneuvers at turning marks. Often there will be a lot of noise during these moments, although the best teams are remarkably quiet as they execute their plays. Champion teams are fluid and make it look like ballet. – Full report

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