Boat racing

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Boat racing is a sport in which boats, or other types of watercraft, race on water. Boat racing powered by oars is recorded as having occurred in ancient Egypt, [1] and it is likely that people have engaged in races involving boats and other water-borne craft for as long as such watercraft have existed.


A regatta is a series of boat races. The term comes from the Venetian language, with regata meaning "contest" and typically describes racing events of rowed or sailed water craft, although some powerboat race series are also called regattas. A regatta often includes social and promotional activities which surround the racing event, and except in the case of boat type (or "class") championships, is usually named for the town or venue where the event takes place.

Although regattas are typically amateur competitions, they are usually formally structured events, with comprehensive rules describing the schedule and procedures of the event. Regattas may be organized as championships for a particular area or type of boat, but are often held just for the joy of competition, camaraderie, and general promotion of the sport.

One of the largest and most popular rowing regattas is the Henley Royal Regatta held on the River Thames, England. One of the largest and oldest yachting regattas in the world is Cowes Week, which is held annually by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, England, and usually attracts over 900 sailing boats. Cowes Week is predated by the Cumberland Cup (1775), Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta (1822) and Port of Plymouth Regatta (1823). North America's oldest regatta is the Royal St. John's Regatta held on Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John's, Newfoundland every year since 1818.

The term "regatta" is from Venetian regata ("contention for mastery"), from regatare ("compete, haggle, sell at retail"), possibly from recatare.


The Head of the Schuylkill Regatta Eights at Head of the Schuylkill.jpg
The Head of the Schuylkill Regatta
Rowing, by Lucien Davis, 1898. Rowing, Lucien Davis, 1898.jpg
Rowing, by Lucien Davis, 1898.

World Rowing Federation championship events

North America

United States



United Kingdom

Continental Europe


Sailing race events are typically held for a single one design class and usually last more than one day. Regattas may be hosted by a yacht club, sailing association, town or school as in the case of the UK's National School Sailing Association and Interscholastic Sailing Association (high school) regattas or Intercollegiate Sailing Association (college) regattas.

The Barcolana regatta of the yacht club Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano is currently the Guinness world record holder as the "largest sailing race" with 2,689 boats and over 16,000 sailors at the starting line. [2] Currently, The Three Bridge Fiasco, conducted by the Singlehanded Sailing Society of San Francisco Bay with more than 350 competitors is the largest sailboat race in the United States.


Oldest sailing regattas

Britannia Boating Club Regatta 1895 Britannia Yacht Club regatta 1895.jpg
Britannia Boating Club Regatta 1895

Current sailing regattas

School sailing regattas

University / college sailing regattas

Motorboat racing

A boat race seen from the International Space Station, 2006 ISS013-E-48021.jpg
A boat race seen from the International Space Station, 2006

Race format types

Notable boat races




Other regattas

See also

Related Research Articles


Yachting is the use of recreational boats and ships called yachts for racing or cruising. Yachts are distinguished from working ships mainly by their leisure purpose. "Yacht" derives from the Dutch word jacht ("hunt"). With sailboats, the activity is called sailing, and with motorboats, it is called powerboating.

Team racing, also known as team sailing, is a popular form of dinghy racing and yacht racing. Just 2 teams compete in a race, each team sailing 2, 3, or 4 boats of the same class. The winning team is decided by combining the results of each team's boats. This differs from an inter-club fleet race where boats from 3 or more clubs compete. Then the results of each club's boats are combined to give their club's overall position.

Cowes Week Sailing regatta

Cowes Week is one of the longest-running regular regattas in the world. With 40 daily sailing races, up to 1,000 boats, and 8,000 competitors ranging from Olympic and world-class professionals to weekend sailors, it is the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world. Having started in 1826, the event is held in August each year on the Solent, and is run by Cowes Week Limited in the small town of Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

Yacht club Sports club specifically related to yachting

A yacht club is a sports club specifically related to yachting.


The SB20 is a one-design class of sailboat commonly used for racing. Marketed and distributed by Sportsboat World the boat was designed by Tony Castro and launched in 2002.

The Admiral's Cup was an international yachting regatta. For many years it was known as the unofficial world championship of offshore racing.

Snipe (dinghy)

The Snipe is a 15+12 foot, 2 person, one design racing dinghy. Designed by William F. Crosby in 1931, it has evolved into a modern, tactical racing dinghy with fleets around the world. The class is governed by the Snipe Class International Racing Association (SCIRA) and recognized by the International Sailing Federation as an International Class sailed in 30 different countries. There have been over 31,000 Snipes constructed worldwide.

Algoa Bay Yacht Club

The Algoa Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) is a yacht club in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Port Elizabeth forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.

The Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta is a regatta in the English county of Devon. The first recorded regatta was in 1822 and the regatta was formally established in 1834. It is based on the River Dart, in the town of Dartmouth, and the village of Kingswear opposite.

National Schools Regatta Rowing regatta for junior rowers in Great Britain

National Schools' Regatta is the largest rowing regatta for junior rowers in Great Britain. Held annually in May, the three day regatta offers events for junior rowers between the categories J14 and J18.

The Phuket King's Cup Regatta (PKCR) is a one-week event held annually in Phuket, Thailand. The regatta was inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday of the King of Thailand. The event has been held every year since during the first week of December. With royal patronage, the regatta is organised by the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organizing Committee under the auspices of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club (RVYC), in conjunction with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), and Phuket Province. In 2016 the event will be held from 3–10 December.

Burghfield Sailing Club

Burghfield Sailing Club is an inland sailing club located close to the town of Theale in Berkshire near Reading in the south of England. The club and lake are easily seen from the M4 motorway as the westbound lane approaches Junction 12. BSC was one of the first Clubs in the UK to be awarded RYA Champion Club status.

Neenah Nodaway Yacht Club

The Neenah Nodaway Yacht Club (NNYC), based in Neenah, Wisconsin, has been in existence since 1864, making it one of the oldest yacht clubs in the country. During these years, the NNYC has been committed to promoting sailing for individuals of all ages by sponsoring club racing and cruising for many types of boats, participation in Lake Winnebago events, helping to support the Fox Valley Sailing School, and taking part in many community events. When the NNYC was formed it set out to accomplish several goals:

  1. To promote pleasure sailing and racing on Lake Winnebago.
  2. To establish a standard code of rules and signals for the Lake.
  3. To discourage extravagant expenditure in yachting.
Barcolana regatta

The Barcolana is a historic international sailing regatta organized by the yacht club Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano. It takes place every year in the Gulf of Trieste on the second Sunday of October. The Barcolana is one of the most crowded regattas in the world. The Barcolana became the Guinness World Record holder in February 2019 when it was named "the greatest sailing race" with its 2,689 boats and over 16,000 sailors on the starting line.

Sailing (sport) Amateur or professional competitive sport

The sport of sailing involves a variety of competitive sailing formats that are sanctioned through various sailing federations and yacht clubs. Racing disciplines include matches within a fleet of sailing craft, between a pair thereof or among teams. Additionally, there are specialized competitions that include setting speed records. Racing formats include both closed courses and point-to-point contests; they may be in sheltered waters, coast-wise or on the open ocean. Most competitions are held within defined classes or ratings that either entail one type of sailing craft to ensure a contest primarily of skill or rating the sailing craft to create classifications or handicaps.

The Verve Cup Regatta was established in 1992 and is organized annually by the Chicago Yacht Club. In 2010, it became the largest offshore course race regatta in North America. The Verve provides is one-of-a-kind regatta that is a highlight of the sailing season in the Midwest U.S. The event is sailed over three days and takes place on three racing circles in Lake Michigan with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop. The competition includes offshore and inshore courses, as well as a new distance race added in 2010.

International Cadet Australian Championship

The International Cadet Australian Championship is an annual series of championship races held in Australia as the top racing event for the Cadet class sailing dinghy in the country. Generally held as a qualifier for the world cup, the championship will reach its 50th event in 2011 when it will be held at Lake Macquarie in New South Wales from 27 December 2011 to 4 January 2012.

Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club

The Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club, formerly the Gibraltar Yacht Club, was established by officers of the Royal Navy in 1829. It was one of the first yacht clubs founded outside of Britain. British monarchs and Gibraltarian governors have been patrons of the club; the first visit by a reigning monarch was in 1954. During the latter twentieth century, the naval presence waned and the membership of locals dominated. The club's sailing school was established in 2001, accredited as a teaching facility in 2004, and became a testing centre in 2010. The reclamation projects in the middle section of Gibraltar Harbour necessitated the club's move from 26 Queensway to temporary premises. A new facility is under construction.

Bosham Sailing Club

Bosham Sailing Club is the oldest sailing club in Chichester Harbour and was founded in 1907 It is located in the historic village of Bosham in West Sussex. Its clubhouse is the Old Mill on Bosham Quay.

Sailing is a popular sport and recreational activity in Australia with its varied coastline and often warm climate.


  1. Evžen Strouhal, Life of the ancient Egyptians (1992), p. 46.
  2. Barcolana, the largest regatta in the world is presented in London
  3. Hunts Yachting Magazine 1865
  4. Leinster Express, 30 August 1834
  5. Sapp, Claudette Gaudet. Sailor & Rattling Teacups: A History of the Chester Yacht Club.
  6. Athlone Sentinel, 31 Aug. 1835
  7. "Appledore & Instow Regatta". Archived from the original on 13 September 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
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  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2013-11-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. World Professional Powerboating Association Archived May 8, 2016, at the Wayback Machine , UIM