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Introduction to Teams Racing

Teams racing I believe is the most intense and exhilarating form of sailing. It usually involves two teams of three identical boats. The more identical and evenly matched the six boats are the better. The focus on team racing is on tactics as the races are usually short minimising the physical aspect of the sailing. Also no matter how good your boat speed is, it is impossible to sail fast when someone is dumping dirty air on you, often by letting their jib flap. Having said this boat speed and physical condition are often all that separate the top teams so do not necessarily neglect them!

Essential Aspects of Teams Racing

  • Communication between team members.
  • Sacrificing your own speed temporarily to benefit a teammates position.
  • Avoiding covering or slowing down your teammates.
  • Avoiding fouling opponents while trying to get them to foul you.

Scoring

As the below points table shows it is possible for a team to win a race without a team member actually coming first. Ten points or less wins a race with each place counting for one point. A simple rule of thumb is that 1,2 anything and 1,3 anything wins (so long as the last boat actually finishes). Naturally teams often try to establish a 1,2 breakaway with the third boat acting to slow down the opposition.

Winning Cominations
Losing Combinations
1,2,3
1,2,4
1,2,5
1,2,6
1,3,4
1,3,5
1,3,6
1,4,5
2,3,4
2,3,5
4,5,6
3,5,6
3,4,6
3,4,5
2,5,6
2,4,6
2,4,5
2,3,6
1,5,6
1,4,6

 

Stable Vs Unstable Combinations

A stable combination is when each team member is in control of a boat from the other team. An example combination is 1,3,5. Boat one is controlling (usually by covering them upwind) boat two from the other team, boat three is controlling boat four from the other team and boat five is controlling boat six from the other team. As each boat is in effect dominating one boat from the opposition their is to tendency for places to change unless a boat makes a mistake and does not cover an opposition boat for example. Their are many other stable combinations like 1,2,3 and 1,2,5.

An unstable combination is when the leading team can not cover all the opposition boats. The combination of 1,3,6 is unstable for this reason as while boat one is covering boat two from the opposition boat three has to cover two opposition boats. Not the easiest thing to do! The common sense thing for the losing team to do in this case is for boat four to drag boat three into a tacking duel or out to the unfavoured side of the course while boat five goes all out for speed and does as few tacks as possible. Boat two may also choose to cover boat three to give boat five a better chance to pass. As you can see the number of options for the losing team increases markedly when it is in an unstable combination increases, hence why it is 'unstable'.

Teams Racing Series
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