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Sail GP: how do supercharged racing yachts go so fast? An engineer explains

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Head of Engineering, Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering, Solent University

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Jonathan Ridley does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Sailing used to be considered as a rather sedate pastime. But in the past few years, the world of yacht racing has been revolutionised by the arrival of hydrofoil-supported catamarans, known as “foilers”. These vessels, more akin to high-performance aircraft than yachts, combine the laws of aerodynamics and hydrodynamics to create vessels capable of speeds of up to 50 knots, which is far faster than the wind propelling them.

An F50 catamaran preparing for the Sail GP series recently even broke this barrier, reaching an incredible speed of 50.22 knots (57.8mph) purely powered by the wind. This was achieved in a wind of just 19.3 knots (22.2mph). F50s are 15-metre-long, 8.8-metre-wide hydrofoil catamarans propelled by rigid sails and capable of such astounding speeds that Sail GP has been called the “ Formula One of sailing ”. How are these yachts able to go so fast? The answer lies in some simple fluid dynamics.

As a vessel’s hull moves through the water, there are two primary physical mechanisms that create drag and slow the vessel down. To build a faster boat you have to find ways to overcome the drag force.

The first mechanism is friction. As the water flows past the hull, a microscopic layer of water is effectively attached to the hull and is pulled along with the yacht. A second layer of water then attaches to the first layer, and the sliding or shearing between them creates friction.

On the outside of this is a third layer, which slides over the inner layers creating more friction, and so on. Together, these layers are known as the boundary layer – and it’s the shearing of the boundary layer’s molecules against each other that creates frictional drag.

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A yacht also makes waves as it pushes the water around and under the hull from the bow (front) to the stern (back) of the boat. The waves form two distinctive patterns around the yacht (one at each end), known as Kelvin Wave patterns.

These waves, which move at the same speed as the yacht, are very energetic. This creates drag on the boat known as the wave-making drag, which is responsible for around 90% of the total drag. As the yacht accelerates to faster speeds (close to the “hull speed”, explained later), these waves get higher and longer.

These two effects combine to produce a phenomenon known as “ hull speed ”, which is the fastest the boat can travel – and in conventional single-hull yachts it is very slow. A single-hull yacht of the same size as the F50 has a hull speed of around 12 mph.

However, it’s possible to reduce both the frictional and wave-making drag and overcome this hull-speed limit by building a yacht with hydrofoils . Hydrofoils are small, underwater wings. These act in the same way as an aircraft wing, creating a lift force which acts against gravity, lifting our yacht upwards so that the hull is clear of the water.

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While an aircraft’s wings are very large, the high density of water compared to air means that we only need very small hydrofoils to produce a lot of the important lift force. A hydrofoil just the size of three A3 sheets of paper, when moving at just 10 mph, can produce enough lift to pick up a large person.

This significantly reduces the surface area and the volume of the boat that is underwater, which cuts the frictional drag and the wave-making drag, respectively. The combined effect is a reduction in the overall drag to a fraction of its original amount, so that the yacht is capable of sailing much faster than it could without hydrofoils.

The other innovation that helps boost the speed of racing yachts is the use of rigid sails . The power available from traditional sails to drive the boat forward is relatively small, limited by the fact that the sail’s forces have to act in equilibrium with a range of other forces, and that fabric sails do not make an ideal shape for creating power. Rigid sails, which are very similar in design to an aircraft wing, form a much more efficient shape than traditional sails, effectively giving the yacht a larger engine and more power.

As the yacht accelerates from the driving force of these sails, it experiences what is known as “ apparent wind ”. Imagine a completely calm day, with no wind. As you walk, you experience a breeze in your face at the same speed that you are walking. If there was a wind blowing too, you would feel a mixture of the real (or “true” wind) and the breeze you have generated.

The two together form the apparent wind, which can be faster than the true wind. If there is enough true wind combined with this apparent wind, then significant force and power can be generated from the sail to propel the yacht, so it can easily sail faster than the wind speed itself.

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The combined effect of reducing the drag and increasing the driving power results in a yacht that is far faster than those of even a few years ago. But all of this would not be possible without one further advance: materials. In order to be able to “fly”, the yacht must have a low mass, and the hydrofoil itself must be very strong. To achieve the required mass, strength and rigidity using traditional boat-building materials such as wood or aluminium would be very difficult.

This is where modern advanced composite materials such as carbon fibre come in. Production techniques optimising weight, rigidity and strength allow the production of structures that are strong and light enough to produce incredible yachts like the F50.

The engineers who design these high-performance boats (known as naval architects ) are always looking to use new materials and science to get an optimum design. In theory, the F50 should be able to go even faster.

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BALTIC 142 Released from Mold

Published on June 30, 2018

The hull of Design 788 - Baltic Yachts Custom 142 has been released from the mold at the yard in Finland. Farr Yacht Design was responsible for the Naval Architecture on this project including specification of the innovative Dynamic Stability Systems foil that promises improved handling, reduced heel angles and improved speeds. This is the largest foil assisted sailing yacht to be developed and follows from extensive work and design studies to optimize the hull and foil package.

We are the top racing-yacht design team in the world based upon one of the most extensive, impressive records of winning yacht racing results ever compiled by a single design group. Our long-running record of achievement dates back more than 30 years and includes 43 world championships won in Farr designs and a multitude of design successes at internationally prestigious grand prix yachting events.

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The Yachting World hall of fame: 50 yachts that changed the way we sail

Helen Fretter

  • Helen Fretter
  • May 13, 2020

We asked historians, round the world race winners and legendary sailors to name the yachts that changed the sport for good. In no particular order, these are the 50 yachts that shifted how we sail...


Photo: Guido Cantini / Panerai / Sea&

1. Mariquita

Built: 1911 Design: William Fife III

Mariquita is a living link between the ‘Big Class’ behemoths, such as Britannia , the J Class and all that went after, including the hugely popular 12-metres. The 125ft gaff cutter was launched as part of a new 19-metre class designed to pitch matched yachts against one another.

Just four were built. Mariquita performed well, particularly in light airs. She also, uniquely, survived. Having been used as a houseboat for many years, she was discovered in the mud in 1991 and lovingly restored to relaunch in 2003, and she still races today.


Photo: Oskar Kihlborg / Volvo Ocean Race

2. ABN Amro One

Built: 2005 Design: Juan Kouyoumdjian

Two Volvo Ocean Race -winning skippers nominated Juan Kouyoumdjian’s ABN Amro One , the 5.6m beam, aggressively chined winner of the 2005-06 race. Her skipper Mike Sanderson comments: “I am biased, but I think ABN Amro One was very special and really did change people’s thinking about what made a good offshore race boat.

“As this was the first generation of Volvo 70s it was always going to be an interesting time seeing how people translated the rule,” says Sanderson. The other factor was many of the team’s involvement in Open 60 sailing.

“We very much looked at the concept of the boat differently: no spinnaker pole, furling No.4 Jibs, twin rudders, lazyjacks, snuffers on spinnakers… They all went from being equipment that was only used on single-handed boats to our team thinking it could make us faster around the world, day in day out.”

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Mariquita, the Fife designed 19 Metre from 1911

Yours for €2.75 million – Mariquita, the elegant and glamorous 125ft Fife design

Not very often does a yacht come on the market that has such a storied history behind her. Marquita, the…

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Ian Walker , winner of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, recalls: “This generation of boats smashed the previous 24-hour records and made the 600-mile day possible. ABN Amro was quite radical structurally but the key thing was she prioritised stability over anything else – such as wetted surface area.

“The Farr boats were lower wetted surface area and even started out with spinnaker poles! Asymmetric spinnakers meant sailing higher angles and more often needing righting moment.

“ABN Amro One also had twin rudders and more transom immersion, which meant it was slow in light winds but fast at high speed. There was some doubt when it was last in the first in-port races and because much of the race is in light winds, but it was so fast reaching that it negated any weaknesses.”

The black boat went on to win six of the nine offshore legs. Sanderson adds: “In all the Volvo 70s that where built – and to be honest in all the offshore boats that have followed ( Rambler , Comanche etc.) – you can see a bit of ‘Black Betty’ as we nicknamed her.”

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Photo: Thierry Martinez

3. TP52 Patches

Built: 2007 Design: Reichel Pugh

Originally created to produce fast yachts for the Transpac Race, the TP52 class developed into an owner-driven inshore circuit which continues to attract the world’s best monohull sailors (these days as the Super Series). One development refined on the TP was the change to wide aft sections.

“We started off with quite narrow sterns and the working deck stopping well over one metre forward of the stern,” comments class manager Rob Weiland. “We now see an almost continuous width of the working deck from Beam Max aft and the working deck continuing to the stern.

“The ‘powerful stern’ is now the norm in offshore racing. I’m not sure whether we started it, but for sure, we were the test bed for how to refine that hull shape concept for windward leeward performance.”

First to have a working deck all the way aft was the 2007 Reichel Pugh Patches , a style then taken a stage further by ETNZ (2009), which added slab-sided topsides with a knuckle to create more hull stability when heeled. ETNZ also saw refinements in deck layout, elements of which have filtered down to more mainstream designs, such as transverse jib car tracks.


Photo: Ivor Wilkins Offshore Challenges / DPPI

4. B&Q Castorama

Built: 2004 Design: Nigel Irens

‘Mobi’, as she was affectionately known, was the 75ft trimaran designed by Nigel Irens specifically for Ellen MacArthur’s solo round the world record attempt in 2004.

B&Q Castorama was highly optimised, being longer, narrower, and with more freeboard than the ORMA 60s, reducing the risk of a pitchpole.

She was also, uniquely, custom built for a petite female skipper, with a full-scale mock up of the cockpit created at Offshore Challenges office. The trimaran took over a day off Francis Joyon’s record to finish in 71 days and 14 hours.

5. Ragtime, J/24. 1976, Rod Johnstone: It took 18 months for Rod Johnstone to build this 24-footer in his garage in Connecticut. It was simple to sail, and light enough to be trailable. Competing in the summer of ’76, Ragtime was so successful that many people asked Rod for a sister ship. He quit his job, and with brother Bob Johnstone set up J-Boats. Just two years later the J/24 had its own start at Key West. Over 5,500 have since sold worldwide.

5. J/24 Ragtime

Built: 1976 Design: Rod Johnstone

It took 18 months for Rod Johnstone to build this 24-footer in his garage in Connecticut. It was designed to be simple to sail, with few rig adjustments, and light enough to be trailable. Rod’s family helped sand and finish the boat, and she was called  Ragtime . Competing at their local race series in the summer of ’76, Ragtime was so successful that many people asked Rod for a sistership. He quit his job, and with brother Bob Johnstone set up J-Boats.

Their confidence proved well placed. Just two years later the J/24 class had its own one-design fleet at Key West in 1978, with 20 boats on the line. Now over 5,500 boats have been built and sold worldwide.

The J-boat line expanded to include one-designs like the J/70, as well as cruiser-racers such as the J/109. It has since has become synonymous with asymmetric sailing, doing much to popularise the use of asymmetric spinnakers on big boats.

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Racing sailing yachts for sale are often in high demand among sailors and racing enthusiasts who are looking for a competitive edge on the water. These yachts are specifically designed and optimized for speed and maneuverability, with sleek, lightweight hulls and high-performance sails. The market for racing sailing yachts includes a range of sizes and classes, from small one-design dinghies to large, ocean-going boats. Buyers interested in purchasing a racing yacht will typically look for models that offer a balance of speed and control, as well as high-quality equipment and rigging. Whether for personal enjoyment or professional competition, racing sailing yachts offer an exciting and challenging way to experience the thrill of the open water.

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I expressed my interest to compete in our first Transatlantic Race. We contacted Mike to not only race onboard but also to be hands on with getting the Yacht ready for her first Transatlantic Race.

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Performance Yacht Brokerage specialises in Racing Yachts around the World. As well as being the home for Racing Yachts, we are fully committed to ensuring that each client is serviced professionally by offering a dedicated and bespoke service over a broad range of offerings. Whether you are looking to sell your race yacht, or looking for the best race yachts for sale, wanting to build a new performance race boat or simply need race campaign management, Performance Yacht Brokerage can tailor make any service you require. 

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Mike's professional yacht racing career includes two Volvo Ocean Race campaigns as bowman. He has achieved multiple Line Honours victories in famous yacht races around the World including most of the iconic 600nm offshore races. He was part of 5 World Record setting race crews through his professional yacht racing career. Mike currently races onboard top Race Yachts like Skorpios, Hetairos, Bullitt, Jasi, Topaz, Leopard 3 and many other top level racing campaigns. 

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With over 15 years professional yacht racing experience, ranging from high performance dinghy’s through to the largest of Super Maxis, Mike has gained extensive knowledge on all racing yacht types and understands each type of race yacht and their different requirements.

Mike has managed new race yacht builds from the initial concept to their first racing regatta and he was part of the build team for Camper Emirates Team New Zealand in the Volvo Ocean. Mike then went on Boat Captain the race boat in the toughest yacht race in the world. That experience gives him extensive knowledge on race yacht build requirements for all types of race yachts no matter their racing performance. 

Mike has also worked directly under private race yacht owners and managed their various yacht racing campaigns and race crews. The yacht racing campaigns were based in various locations around the World which required a meticulous level of detail to meet the expectations of result driven owners.

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What is Yacht Racing? (Here’s All You Need To Know)

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Have you ever watched a yacht race, with its colorful sails gliding across the water in a graceful dance? Have you ever wondered what it takes to participate in yacht racing? This article will take you through all you need to know about yacht racing, from the different types of yachts and races, to sailing clubs and regattas, technical knowledge and skills, safety, and the benefits of yacht racing.

We’ll also explore some of the most popular events and races.

So whether you’re an avid sailor or just curious about this exciting sport, you’ll find all the information you need here.

Table of Contents

Short Answer

Yacht racing is a competitive sport and recreational activity involving sailing yachts .

It is most popular in areas with strong maritime cultures, such as the UK, US and Australia.

Races typically involve a course that boats must follow, which can vary in length depending on the type of race.

Competitors often use advanced sailboat designs, and use tactics and strategy to try to outmaneuver their opponents in order to be the first to cross the finish line.

Types of Yachts Used in Racing

Yacht racing can be done with a wide variety of boats, from dinghies and keelboats to multihulls and offshore racing boats.

Dinghies are small, lightweight boats with a single sail and are often used in competitive racing.

Keelboats, on the other hand, are larger and heavier boats with a fixed keel and two or more sails.

Multihulls, like the popular catamaran, are boats with two or more hulls and are designed with speed and agility in mind.

Finally, offshore racing boats are designed for long-distance racing and are typically larger and more powerful than other types of yachts.

No matter what type of yacht you choose to race, they will all have common features that make them suitable for racing.

All yachts must have a mast, sails, hull and rigging, and will usually feature a deck, compass, and navigation equipment.

Additionally, racing yachts are often fitted with safety features such as life jackets, flares, and emergency radios.

Each type of yacht has its own unique characteristics, and some are better suited for certain types of racing than others.

For example, dinghies are better suited for short-course racing, while offshore racing boats are better for long-distance racing.

Additionally, keelboats and multihulls are often used for more challenging types of racing, such as distance racing or match racing.

No matter what type of yacht you choose for racing, it is important to remember that safety should always be your first priority.

Be sure to check the weather conditions before heading out and make sure that you have the proper safety equipment on board.

Additionally, it is important to get professional instruction or join a sailing club to ensure you have the necessary skills to race safely and enjoyably.

Types of Races

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Yacht racing events can take place in a wide variety of forms and formats, from long-distance ocean racing to short-course inshore racing in protected bays and estuaries.

Each type of race requires different skills and equipment, and the type of race you choose to participate in will depend on your sailing experience, budget and the type of boat you have.

Long-distance ocean racing is a popular form of yacht racing, with races often taking place over several days and often involving multiple stages.

These races often have several classes of boat competing, with each boat competing in its own class.

These races may involve sailing around a set course or route, or they may be point-to-point races, where the boats sail from one point to another.

Inshore racing is the most common form of yacht racing, with races typically taking place over a few hours or a single day.

This type of racing is often conducted in protected waters, such as bays and estuaries, and generally involves shorter course lengths than ocean racing.

Inshore races may involve multiple classes of boat, or they may be one-design classes, where all boats are the same model and size.

Multi-hull racing is another popular type of yacht racing and involves boats with two or more hulls.

These boats are generally faster and more agile than monohulls, and races are often held over a short course.

These races can be highly competitive, with teams of experienced sailors vying for position and race victory.

Offshore racing is similar to ocean racing, but often involves much longer distances and more challenging conditions.

Races may take place over several days and multiple stages, and require a high level of experience and skill.

Offshore racing boats are usually specially designed for speed and agility, and may have multiple crew members on board to help manage the boat in challenging conditions.

Sailing Clubs and Regattas

Yacht racing is a popular sport around the world, with sailing clubs and regattas held in many countries.

Sailing clubs are organizations where members can come together to race, learn, and enjoy their shared passion for the sport.

Membership in a sailing club usually includes access to the clubs facilities, equipment, and training classes.

Regattas are large-scale yacht racing events, often hosted by a sailing club.

The regatta can be organized for any type of boat, from dinghys to offshore racing boats, and the races can be held over a series of days.

The goal of the regatta is to crown the winner of the overall race, or the individual class honours.

Sailing clubs and regattas are a great way for sailors of all levels to come together and compete.

They give sailors an opportunity to hone their skills, network, and make friends with other passionate sailors.

Additionally, these events are often open to the public, so they give the general public a chance to see the amazing spectacle of yacht racing up close.

If youre looking for an exciting and fun way to get involved with sailing, look no further than your local sailing club or regatta.

Technical Knowledge and Skills

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Yacht racing is a sport that requires a great deal of technical knowledge and skill.

Competitors must be familiar with the physics and dynamics of sailing, including how to read the wind and manipulate their vessel to maximize speed and maneuverability.

They must also be able to understand the principles of navigation, so they can accurately plot a course and adjust it to take advantage of the prevailing wind and current conditions.

Furthermore, competitors must be able to read the weather and use that information to their advantage in the race.

Finally, competitors need to have a good understanding of the rules of the race and how to adhere to them.

Yacht racing is a complex sport with a steep learning curve, and it requires a great deal of experience and practice to master.

Safety is a key element of yacht racing, as it involves operating large vessels in often unpredictable and hazardous conditions.

All racers must be properly equipped with the appropriate safety gear, such as life jackets, flares, and a first aid kit.

It is also essential that all racers are familiar with the rules of the race, and have a good understanding of the safety protocols that must be followed in order to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

All yacht racing events must be properly insured, and there are often medical personnel on standby in case of an emergency.

Before any race, all participants must sign a waiver declaring that they understand the risks involved and accept responsibility for their own safety.

Benefits of Yacht Racing

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Yacht racing is a great way to challenge yourself and take part in a thrilling sport.

It offers numerous benefits to those that participate, from improved physical health and mental well-being to an opportunity to travel and explore new places.

Whether youre a beginner or an experienced sailor, yacht racing provides an exciting and rewarding experience.

One of the main benefits of yacht racing is its impact on physical health.

It requires a great deal of strength and endurance, as the sailors must use their arms and legs to control the boats sails and rudder.

Its also a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your cardiovascular health.

Additionally, sailing is a low-impact sport, meaning theres less risk of injury than other more strenuous activities like running or cycling.

Yacht racing also has many mental benefits.

Its a great way to relax and take in the beauty of the ocean, as well as the camaraderie and excitement of competing in a team.

Additionally, it gives sailors the opportunity to put their problem-solving skills to the test, as they must think quickly and strategize in order to succeed.

Yacht racing also requires quick decision-making, which can help to improve mental acuity and develop a more acute awareness of ones surroundings.

Finally, yacht racing is a great way to explore new places and meet new people.

Races often take place in different locations around the world, meaning sailors can get a glimpse into different cultures and explore new destinations.

Additionally, yacht racing provides an opportunity to socialize with other sailors, as well as make connections in the sailing community.

Overall, yacht racing is a great way to challenge yourself and reap the numerous physical, mental, and social benefits that come with it.

With its exciting races and stunning locations, its no wonder that yacht racing has become a popular sport around the world.

Popular Events and Races

Yacht racing is an exciting and popular sport with events and races held all over the world.

From the world-famous Americas Cup to local regattas, there are races and events of all sizes and skill levels.

The Americas Cup is the oldest and most prestigious yacht race in the world, with the first race held in 1851.

Held every 3-4 years in a different location, the Americas Cup pits the worlds best sailors against each other in a battle of boat speed, tactics and teamwork.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is another major race, held annually in Australia.

The race begins in Sydney Harbour and ends in the port of Hobart, Tasmania and is known for its unpredictable and challenging conditions.

The Whitbread Round the World Race (now known as The Volvo Ocean Race) is a grueling nine-month, round-the-world yacht race.

This race is one of the most challenging and dangerous races in the world.

In addition to these larger races, there are many smaller local and national regattas and races that offer an opportunity for sailors of all skill levels to compete.

From small dinghy races to larger keelboat and offshore racing events, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in yacht racing.

Yacht racing is a fun, competitive and rewarding sport and with so many events and races available, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Whether you are a competitive sailor or just looking to have some fun on the water, yacht racing is the perfect sport for you.

Final Thoughts

Yacht racing is an exciting and challenging sport that is enjoyed by many around the world.

With a variety of yacht types, races and events to choose from, there is something for everyone.

To get started, it is important to have a good understanding of the technical skills and knowledge needed, as well as the safety protocols associated with the sport.

With the right preparation and dedication, yacht racing can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

If you’re interested in taking up this exciting sport, make sure you check out your local sailing clubs and regattas to find out what’s on offer.

James Frami

At the age of 15, he and four other friends from his neighborhood constructed their first boat. He has been sailing for almost 30 years and has a wealth of knowledge that he wants to share with others.

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Yacht Charter

We offer the unique opportunity to race on spectacular racing yachts such as a TP52 in exciting regattas in the Caribbean and Europe like Les Voile de St Barths, Heineken Regatta, Cowes Week and Copa del Rey, but also team building and daytrips are in our package. Contact us now to book an experience of a lifetime!

racing yachts

  • Builder / Designer : Elan
  • L.O.A. (mtr): 10.60

racing yachts

  • Builder / Designer : Class 40
  • L.O.A. (mtr): 12.19
  • Location: Germany

racing yachts

  • Builder / Designer : Brenta
  • L.O.A. (mtr): 17.05

racing yachts

  • Builder / Designer : Archambault
  • L.O.A. (mtr): 10.34

racing yachts

  • Builder / Designer : TP52
  • Location: Italy

racing yachts

  • Builder / Designer : Reichel Pugh
  • : Reichel Pugh
  • L.O.A. (mtr): 22.00
  • Location: Antigua and Barbuda

racing yachts

  • Builder / Designer : German Frers
  • : German Frers
  • L.O.A. (mtr): 22.24
  • Displacement (Kg): 43220

racing yachts

  • Builder / Designer : Italia Yachts
  • : Matteo Polli
  • L.O.A. (mtr): 10.30
  • Displacement (Kg): 4500

racing yachts

  • Builder / Designer : Grand Soleil
  • L.O.A. (mtr): 12.95


We have several boats available for charter. Ranging from bareboat to racing with skipper. For the regatta calender, click

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This weekend's Bayview Mackinac Race marks 100 years with record number of boats

  • Published: Jul. 19, 2024, 7:15 a.m.

Bayview Mackinac Race

This weekend is the 100th running of the Bayview Mackinac Race, one of the oldest freshwater sailing races in the world. This photo shows the 2023 competition. Provided by Martin Chumiecki. Martin Chumiecki

PORT HURON, MI - Excitement is building along the shores of Lake Huron as the 100th running of the Bayview Mackinac Race is set to kick off Saturday.

This century milestone is made even more special because a record number of sailboats - 332 are registered - are set to sail up the course to the finish line near Mackinac Island.

As a nod to the race’s impressive history, boat crews will be competing on the original course mapped out for the first Bayview Mackinac Race in 1925. This means all the racing yachts will start in southern Lake Huron, then head 235 miles north and west. The boats will pass south of Bois Blanc Island before crossing the finish line that sits between Round Island and Mackinac Island.

Boats from 17 states and Canada are set to participate in what is one of the longest-running freshwater yacht races in the world.

The race begins Saturday, with the first group of boats set to hit the starting line at 11:30 a.m.

Bayview Mackinac Race

The 100th running of the Bayview Mackinac Race begins Sunday. In this photo, competitors race the course in 2023. Photo by Martin Chumiecki. Martin Chumiecki.

“Anyone up the Thumb coast of Lake Huron should be in for quite a show as the entire fleet sails up to Mackinac, and if there is a downwind blowing and spinnakers unfurled it will be a spectacular view from the shore,” said Charlie Trost, race chair for the 2024 Bayview Mackinac.

“The large and diverse fleet reflects the inclusivity and wide appeal of the race, drawing competitors from various regions and backgrounds, which enhances the competitive spirit and camaraderie among sailors.”

Want to get in on the fun? Like Trost said, the Lake Huron shoreline will be a good spot for race spectators to catch a glimpse of these sleek and speedy boats. You can use the race tracker here to see where the fleet is situated.

You can also dress like a fan with the new limited-edition sailing T-shirts featuring Peanuts characters like Snoopy and Woodstock. You can find those shirts and other race gear at the Bayview Mackinac Race online store.

Once the boats reach Mackinac Island, it’s party time. And there’s a big island awards celebration hosted by Mission Point Resort.

The Bayview Mackinac Race follows exactly a week behind the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, which this year saw a fast course, heavy storms on Lake Michigan, a man overboard rescue , and a new record set.

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The most boats ever will compete in the 100th Bayview Yacht Club race to Mackinac Island

Billed on its website as the “world’s longest continuously run long-distance freshwater yacht race,” the 100th Bayview Mackinac Race is set to start Saturday.

A record-setting 334 boats have registered for the 100th year of the race, shattering the record of 316 in 1985 and a huge contrast compared with the 200 boats that raced last year, said David Stoyka, spokesman for the Bayview Yacht Club, which puts on the race.

Bayview Yacht Club says boats start leaving the Black River in Port Huron around 8 a.m. on race day and will continue leaving until around noon. From the Black River, they will proceed up the St. Clair River, under the Blue Water Bridge, into Lake Huron.

The first scheduled start time in Lake Huron is 11:30 a.m., with starts every 10 minutes until approximately 1:30 p.m. The starts may be delayed due to weather conditions.

This year, for the 100th running, the race will follow the original 1925 route and span 204 nautical miles. From the starting point, the boats will head north along the Michigan shoreline, passing south of Bois Blanc Island, sailing west to east at the finish line between Round Island and Mackinac Island, organizers said.

The range of boats are expected to finish in between 30 and 60 hours.

The sailors

Teams at all skill levels have entered the race, which draws competitors from around the world.  The highly skilled racers know they will cross the bow of competitors within inches. Still, there's always risk of a crash with the slightest miscalculation.

"Everybody recognizes this is super intense," said champion sailor  Tim Prophit , 65, of St. Clair Shores, past commodore of Bayview Yacht Club and owner of Fast Tango, a North American 40 sailboat.

The teams are vying for trophies and flags to show their accomplishments.

The J.L. Hudson Trophy is awarded to the boat with the best corrected time in Division I, and the Canadian Club Classic Trophy is awarded to the boat with the best corrected time in Division II.

How can spectators follow the race?

Spectators can go to during the race and click on “RaceTracking” link to watch real-time GPS positioning of all the race boats, or, on your mobile device, download the free app YB Races and select the current race.

Boats will start arriving at Mackinac Island on Sunday afternoon and continue until Monday evening, all dependent upon the wind.

Finishes can be seen from Windermere Point on Mackinac Island at the south end of Main Street.

Sailors who have completed 25 Bayview Mackinac races are called “Old Goats,” according to the club, while those who have completed 50 are called “Grand Rams.” 

"Double Goats" are sailors who have completed 25 Bayview Mackinac races and 25 Chicago Yacht Club race to Mackinac races. This year’s Chicago to Mackinac race encountered strong winds in Lake Michigan , snapping some boats’ masts and tossing one sailor overboard. No one was hurt.

Volunteers who have served for 15 years on the Race Committee are honored with the title “Old Forts,” as designated by the Race Committee.

This story includes material from a staff report by former Free Press reporter Phoebe Wall Howard and from the Bayview Yacht Club.

The 7 Best RC Boats for Racing Around Lakes, Riding Upstream, and Ripping Through Waves

Like sailing or speedboating, but tiny.

rc boat

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Why Trust Us?

RC boats come in lots of shapes, sizes, and styles, but the best models can shred water from afar without becoming sinking ships. We’ve rounded up the best remote-control boats for beach visits, lakefront races, poolside entertainment, and some advice on picking the best RC boat for you.

Stay in play and check out our picks for the best magnetic toys , remote-control trucks , and remote-control planes .

The Best RC Boats

  • Best Overall: ALPHAREV RC Boat with Case R308
  • Best for Beginners: DEERC RC Boat with LED Light
  • Most Well-Rounded: Altair Aerial AA102 RC Boat
  • Best Value: Force1 Velocity H102
  • Best Sailboat: PLAYSTEAM Voyager 400 RC Sailboat

What to Consider

While you can likely get away with using a larger RC boat on a pond or lake, you may want to stick to a smaller model if you’ll be floating yours in a backyard swimming pool or need to pack something tiny. RC boats can be up to two feet long, so make sure to consider the journey to the water, too, especially if the boat you’re eyeing doesn’t come with a carrying case.

Weight and Speed

The RC boat’s weight helps determine how fast it can move. Heavier boats are better equipped to move at high speeds without capsizing, whereas lighter boats can be speedy using less power, a.k.a., slower acceleration. Think of it like torque on a car (or a full-sized boat, for that matter)—the more power the boat gets from the battery, electric, or gas motor, the faster it can accelerate.

Speed is also dependent on the type of hull—some boats are shaped for optimal turning and curves, while others are built for picking up speed while driving in a straight line.

The priciest models can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. We mostly recommend recreational, battery-powered RC boats that reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour, since the more powerful, expensive models are meant for hardcore hobbyists and professional racers.

Capsize Recovery

Many RC boats have anti-capsize, or capsize recovery, functionality to prevent them from flipping over (and staying overturned). Flipping an RC boat is extremely easy, especially if you lack experience, and can lead to a sinking ship. If you’re new to RC boating, consider grabbing one with capsize recovery, making your boat rebalance and flip back over if it tips.

How We Selected

We researched each model’s speed, customer rating, durability, and unique features. We also consulted buying guides from several top hobbyist publications. We’ve picked options for every type of RC boat customer, whether you’re a casual hobbyist, buying a first boat for your kids, or you’re a dedicated RC enthusiast.

ALPHAREV RC Boat with Case R308

RC Boat with Case R308

This boat features capsize recovery, so if it tips over or gets hit by a wave, it’ll flip back over to recover. It also has LED lights installed to make it easy to see when it’s dark. Thanks to the autopilot mode that loops the boat into a figure-eight shape, children can easily use it, too.

The R308 comes with two batteries and a charger, with users reporting approximately 20 minutes of power (counting both batteries) when operating the boat at full speed. It has a 400-foot signal range for distance driving and tops at 20 miles per hour. With its carry case, the R308 is a solid RC boat for most users.

Dimensions 15.86 x 9.13 x 5.31 in.
Weight8 oz.
Speed20+ mph

DEERC RC Boat with LED Light

RC Boat with LED Light

This is an excellent option for anyone eager to get into RC boating but unsure of their prowess on the water. It features two autopilot modes, so there’s plenty of opportunity to learn how to use it. It also has an extended playtime of 30 minutes, giving you plenty of time to practice.

With features like capsize recovery, double hatch design, and low-battery and signal alarms, this boat is pretty much goof proof, making it the perfect boat for beginners on their way to becoming enthusiasts.

Dimensions15.98 x 7.44 x 6.77 in.
Weight2.03 lbs.
Speed20+ mph

Altair Aerial AA102 RC Boat

AA102 RC Boat

If you need a well-rounded RC boat, this one has ample protection, zippy speeds, and excellent customer service, all in one attractive package. Its anti-capsize feature prevents it from tipping over, while several users say its nose bumper saved their boats from getting totaled through crashing.

It has an extra battery for more playtime, and several users say it provides up to 20 minutes of action after swapping it. Users who experienced issues with their boats were able to find replacement parts and products thanks to the company’s customer service help. Others say that it’s a terrific value, though the lack of a carry case is disappointing.

Dimensions17.32 x 10.12 x 5.98 in.
Weight1.38 lbs.
Speed18 mph

Force1 Velocity H102

Velocity H102

This boat reaches speeds of 20-plus miles per hour, making it great for anyone who wants their toy to fly on the water. This boat features a capsize recovery mode, a water-cooled engine, and a double-hatched body, making it easier to control on waves. The charge time is a little long, three to four hours, but it can ride for up to 15 minutes at full power.

Customers say this boat reaches top speed fairly quickly, though some report that the controller is difficult to use and not very responsive. Still, it handles well on the water and is a super speedy boat.

Dimensions10.85 x 2.75 x 2 in.
Weight5.9 oz.
Speed20+ mph

PLAYSTEAM Voyager 400 RC Sailboat

Voyager 400 RC Sailboat

If sailing is your preference, the Voyager 400 is the way to go. Rather than rely on an electric motor to push it forward, the Voyager 400 can sail in any body of water via wind power. Its remote controls the rudder and the propulsion, and just in case wind isn’t in the forecast, it comes with a detachable motor to help propel it.

Customers say it’s easy to use, and everything is sealed to keep interior components dry when it tips over. Its rechargeable remote battery can work for up to one hour, which puts most RC speedboats to shame. A drawback, however, is that if it gets stuck at sea without the motor attached, you’ll have to wait for it to wash ashore.

Dimensions27.25 x 17 x 5.25 in.
Weight1.34 lbs.

Cheerwing RC Racing Boat

RC Racing Boat

Cheerwing RC boats are fantastic if you’re looking for an affordable toy to race with your friends. This boat can hit up to 15 miles per hour and has some great features, including capsize recovery and automatic yaw correction, which rebalances your boat. It also signals when the battery is low or starts to lose signal, giving you peace of mind.

If you want to try RC boating without spending much, this is a solid buy. Its biggest downside is in its battery life—just six to eight minutes per charge—and it doesn’t come with the option to buy a second battery, so it requires frequent recharging.

Dimensions13.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 in.
Weight11.4 oz.
Speed15 mph

VOLANTEXRC Brushless RC Boat

Brushless RC Boat

If you need speed and don’t mind investing more money into your hobby, this boat is fantastic. The fastest model on this list, this boat has a top speed of 40 miles per hour, a range of up to 656 feet, and a water-cooled system that prevents the motor from overheating.

It also has safety features to prevent damage from the high speeds, like waterproofing and a one-piece hull to prevent cracks.

The biggest flaw is its lack of capsize recovery, and several users say their boats flipped in action, causing them to swim out to retrieve their toys. It also only comes with one battery.

Dimensions27.56 x 7.48 x 5.31 in.
Weight5.39 lbs.
Speed40 mph

Headshot of Kevin Cortez

Kevin Cortez is an editor for Runner's World, Bicycling, and Popular Mechanics covering reviews. A culture and product journalist for over ten years, he’s an expert in men’s style, technology, gaming, coffee, e-bikes, hiking, gear, and all things outdoors. He most recently worked as the Style Editor for Reviewed, a top product recommendation site owned by USA TODAY. He also helped with the launch of WSJ's Buy Side commerce vertical, and has covered the music and podcast industries for Mass Appeal, Genius, Vulture, Leafly, Input, and The A.V. Club. Equally passionate about leisure as he is his penmanship, Kevin dedicates his spare time to graphic novels, birding, making cold brew, and taking long, meandering walks.

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Stary Oskol

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Rusmania • Deep into Russia
  • Belgorod Region

Coat of arms

Stary Oskol is the Belgorod Region’s second city by population and today consists of two main parts: the historical centre on the hill and the new centre made up of blocks of housing estates (mikroraiony). It is named after the river on which it stands on; the word stary (old) was added to distinguish it from the new settlement of Novy Oskol (New Oskol). Just outside the city is an impressive cave-monastery complex.

Top recommendations in Stary Oskol

Stary Oskol 6

Kholkovsky Monastery

Travel outside the city to the nearby settlement of Kholki to visit the Kholkovsky Monastery - an impressive cave monastery.

Stary Oskol 40

Historical Centre

Walk around the historical part of the city, located where once a wooden fortress stood to protect Russia’s southern borders, and visit the museum here.

Stary Oskol 37

War Memorials

Have a look at all the war memorial in the city - in recognition of Stary Oskol’s status as a City of Military Glory.

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  1. Pictures: Sir Ben Ainslie's new America's Cup racing yacht

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    Billed on its website as the "world's longest continuously run long-distance freshwater yacht race," the 100th Bayview Mackinac Race is set to start Saturday.. A record-setting 334 boats ...

  21. Stary Oskol

    Stary Oskol (Russian: Ста́рый Оско́л, IPA: [ˈstarɨj ɐˈskol]) is a city in Belgorod Oblast, Russia, located 618 kilometers (384 mi) south of Moscow.Population: 221,678 (2021 Census); 221,085 (2010 Russian census); 215,898 (2002 Census); 173,917 (1989 Soviet census). It is called Stary Oskol (lit. ' Old Oskol ') to distinguish it from Novy Oskol (lit.

  22. The Best RC Boats in 2024

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    Stary Oskol Stary Oskol is a city in Belgorod Oblast, Russia, located 618 kilometers south of Moscow.Population: 221,678 ; 221,085 ; 215,898 ; 173,917 . It is called Stary Oskol to distinguish it from Novy Oskol located 60 kilometres south. Both are on the Oskol River.

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