This 'ten minute guide' was prepared by Peadar (Peter) Ó Coileáin and Joe Penhaul Smith in 2019 for those less experienced in team racing, including those prior to university or freshers wanting to get their heads around what it involves.
What is team racing?
Team racing is actually pretty simple to understand. Two teams start off, race round a course, and the team that has the lowest number of points when they cross the finish line wins.
Normally, teams either consist of two or three boats.
In two-boat team racing, the team who have the boat in 4th place lose the race. It’s as simple as that. 1st and 4th is a losing combination. The boat in 1st had better do something to get their team mate back into the game.
In three-boat team racing things are a little more complicated. 1st + 2nd + 3rd + 4th + 5th +6th adds up to 21, so if your positions add up to 10 or less, your team wins. You quickly get used to which combinations give you a win, and which ones give you a loss, but as a quick summary, 1-2-anything wins, 1-3-anything wins, and also 1-4-5, 2-3-4 and 2-3-5. Anything else is a loss. There are specific plays for different situations, but the basic rule is generally if you are in a losing combination, you want to compress the race, slow things down, and create opportunities, whereas if you are in a winning combination, you want to stretch things out and keep the race moving quickly.
Before we go into any specifics, it’s a good idea to be familiar with the team racing course.
It’s fairly simple. Standard start line, then two marks to your right, two marks to your left, up to the finish, and make sure your team get there before the other team. So how is this done?
Things usually move fairly quickly. Races are only about 5-10 minutes in length, but you’ll end up doing a lot of them throughout a day.
There’ll be a race schedule telling you when your races are, and who they’re against. It’s your responsibility to be ready to change over into boats when it’s your turn to race. If you’re lucky there’ll be someone calling your team name as well.
The most important thing
Team racing is hectic, fast paced, and great fun. Enjoy it, get out there, make mistakes, lose races, because there’s always at least one moment that makes your day!
See also copy of "Ten Minute Guide to Team Racing" as a pdf
About the authors
Peter started team racing as an undergraduate, proudly propping up bronze fleet with Trinity College Brown. Stints at Edinburgh and Glasgow met with slightly more success and a couple of appearances at BUSA finals. He is now the Chair of the Scottish Team Racing Association (https://www.facebook.com/STRASailing)
Joe is the BUSA development officer 2019-2020. His team racing career started at Newcastle with minimal success. Since then he moved to Scotland and founded UHIWWC, with rather more success. He team races enthusiastically (read badly) and makes occasional appearances further south with the Exiles SC and Staunton Harold SC.