About the Racing

Whether you’re a hard-core sailing fan or a wide-eyed newbie, the Extreme Sailing Series™ has something for everyone. The free to enter public Race Village puts fans right at the heart of the action - racing their catamarans at full throttle just off the waterfront, the sailors can hear the roar of the fans, who experience the competition up close like never before. Fans around the world can follow the racing for free online through live video streaming and dynamic SAP Sailing Analytics.

But what exactly can you expect to see on the water? Here is a quick guide.

The start:
The start is one of the most exciting parts of any sailing race, and with such short races, each lasting around 10-15 minutes, a good start is a vital part of winning tactics. Each race is started with a four-minute countdown. If any boat jumps the line before the start gun, they will receive a substantial penalty!

The course:
Depending on the number of boats and wind conditions, Race Management may decide to run racing over different shaped courses around a number of large, inflatable coloured buoys. Races can vary from full fleet and group racing to match racing, and can take place in the ‘stadium’ or out in the open water.

During the racing:
Teams use all of their tactical prowess to out-maneuver each other, particularly during mark roundings, and can call a protest on the water if they think another boat has infringed the rules. Umpires are on the water and, like football referees, they can give out penalties, which are normally a penalty turn (a costly manoeuvre). If the umpire thinks no foul has been committed they blow a whistle and raise a green and white flag. If there is a really bad foul the umpires can show a black flag resulting in instant disqualification.

First past the post wins – it’s as simple as that. The winner of each race will get 12 points, second place is 11, and so on. The last race of each Act counts for double points, putting the pressure on for a great finale!

An explanation of a Stadium Racing course:
A race in the Extreme Sailing Series will start in one of two ways; either with a reaching start, where the wind is parallel to the start line, or a windward start, where the wind is perpendicular to the start line.

For the signature stadium races in the Extreme Sailing Series, the boats race on a windward-leeward course. If there is a windward start, the fleet will be set off from a start line and head straight upwind to the windward gate (marked by white buoys). If there is a reaching start, the fleet will first complete a reaching leg and then head around a red inflatable mark before sailing downwind to the leeward gate (marked by yellow buoys).

The boats will go through the first gate and around either of the two marks and then sail back the way they came towards the opposite end of the racecourse where there is another gate. This ‘sausage’ shape can be repeated multiple times. Before crossing the finish line the fleet will usually complete one last reaching leg.

Diagram of an Extreme Sailing Series™ windward-leeward stadium racecourse with a reaching start
Diagram of an Extreme Sailing Series™ windward-leeward stadium racecourse with a reaching start