8 different types of yacht racing
8 different types of yacht racing

In this guide, we cover some of the different types of keelboat racing.

  1. Twilight racing – Social evening (or afternoon) racing held throughout the summer months. Often two-sail, but sometimes with the option of using a spinnaker.
  2. Club racing – Weekend racing hosted by your local yacht club. Generally more competitive than twilight racing, but still a social form of sailing.
  3. Windward leeward – Windward leeward courses consist of an upwind and a downwind leg, each sailed 1 to 4 times. These are short, fast races where precision is key.
  4. Passage – A race of varying distance that passes around multiple marks – buoys or landmarks – usually encompassing multiple points of sail.
  5. One design – Competitive, fast and generally close racing using a single type of yacht. Class rules determine allowable crew numbers, sail and vessel requirements.
  6. Regatta – Multiple races held over several days – the race format can vary. Generally quite competitive, with an overall winner determined for the event.
  7. Match racing – A race between two identical yachts going head-to-head. Match racing is a race of strategy and tactics with one goal – finish before your competitor.
  8. Offshore – A long distance race held over many days or even weeks. Held in open waters, navigation, endurance and experience are critical in offshore racing.

Different types of keelboat racing - infographic

Want to learn about different types of sailing? Read our post 6 Ways to Get Involved in Sailing (with Lessons Learned from my Personal Journey).