How to match race
A match race consists of two identical boats racing against each other. This is a one-on-one duel of strategy and tactics and the objective is simple – to be the first to cross the finish line.
A match racing course is always a windward / leeward course with variable start and finishes, and each race takes approximately 8-12 minutes to complete.
A match race begins two minutes before the starting time when each boat must enter the starting area from opposite sides of the start boat.
As soon as they enter the starting area they will engage in a pre-start battle as each one tries to gain an advantage over the other.
They will both be trying to cause the other boat to infringe a rule and so receive a penalty or to simply get the most advantageous position on the starting line for themselves so that they are in control of the race.
Match racing is officiated by umpires on the water who follow the boats and make instant on-course decisions about whether a penalty is given.
The umpire boat will use yellow and blue flags to indicate which boat has been given a penalty or a green flag if no penalty is given.
When a boat is penalised it must complete an immediate penalty to slow it down behind the opposition boat. If one boat has a penalty and the other also gets one before the first has taken theirs then they are cancelled out.
If a boat receives three penalties in succession, it is disqualified.
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