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America's Cup.

World's Top 20 Major Sailboat & Yacht Racing Events

Boat Race News, Reviews & Resources (27) Top 20 Major Boat Races

SAILING is the propulsion of a vehicle and the control of its movement with large (usually fabric) foils called sails. By changing the rigging, rudder, and sometimes the keel or centreboard, a sailor manages the force of the wind on the sails in order to move the vessel relative to its surrounding medium (typically water, but also land and ice) and change its direction and speed. Mastery of the skill requires experience in varying wind and sea conditions, as well as knowledge concerning sailboats themselves and an understanding of one's surroundings.

Yacht racing is a form of sport reserved for yachts and larger sailboats. Yacht racing usually refers to sailboat racing in a variety of forms with large racing yachts; distinguished from dinghy racing.

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  • 37th AMERICA'S CUP - since 1851. (Aka the "Auld Mug".) The most prestigious regatta and match race in the sport of sailing, and the oldest active trophy in international sport, predating the Modern Olympics by 45 years.
  • Bermuda Race - since 1906. Widely known as the Bermuda Race, the Newport Bermuda Race is a biennial sailing yacht race from Newport, Rhode Island to the island of Bermuda sailed in even-numbered years. The sailing distance is 635 nautical miles (1175 km) across open ocean and the Gulf Stream.
  • Cigarette Racing - since 1969.
  • Commodores' Cup - biennial amateur team sailing regatta first held in 1992. The competition is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club consists of a number of events held in the oceans of the Solent, the English channel and the Isle of Wight.
  • COWES WEEK - since 1826. One of the longest-running regular regattas in the world. With 40 daily 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.
  • Fastnet Race - since 1925. Famous biennial offshore yachting race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club of the United Kingdom. Generally considered one of the classic offshore races, 'Fastnet' is a difficult contest testing both inshore and offshore skills, boat and crew preparation and speed potential.
  • Giraglia Rolex Cup 2023 - 70th edition: June 9-17. Sinde 1953. Mediterranean keelboat regatta, named after the island of Giraglia, which has been held annually since 1953. The regatta consists of a week-long set of races, beginning with inshore races in the St. Tropez Bay followed by the primary event which begins in St. Tropez, France, passes through the Îles d'Hyères near the island of Giraglia, and then finishes off in Genoa, Italy, a total distance of 243 nautical miles (450 km).
  • HENLEY ROYAL REGATTA - since 1839. Rowing event held every year on the River Thames by the town of Henley-on-Thames, England. The regatta lasts for 5 days (Wednesday to Sunday) over the first weekend in July.
  • Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez - since 1981. "The history of the Voiles de St Tropez began on September 29th, 1981 when the sailing boat Pride launched a challenge to the 12 meter Ikra on a course going from the village of St Tropez to the beach of Pampelonne through the Nioulargo (nest of the sea in south french dialect). Since every year and during 2 weeks, the most extraordinary sailing boats of the world, modern and traditional, meet in the Gulf of Saintt Tropez to challenge each other in an atmosphere where competition and conviviality mix. From this edition the format of the Voiles de Saint Tropez is enlarged with 2 weeks of regattas instead of one. The first week is reserved for yachts under 24m, the second week for yachts over 24m."
  • Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille - since 2010. "A truly grandiose spectacle." 1,200 sailors, 63 racing yachts, Les Voiles de St Barth Richard Mille is the perfect combination of sporting performance and innovation. Richard Mille has been an active partner of Les Voiles de St. Barth since the event was created in 2010.
  • 10th Monaco Energy Boat Challenge - "Faced with environmental and technical challenges that require an urgent response to move forward, the Yacht Club de Monaco aims to be the driving force behind a new vision for yachting and to promote any positive approaches through this unique event." July 3-8, 2023.
  • Route du Rhum - since 1978. Transatlantic single-handed yacht race, which takes place every four years in November. The course is between Saint Malo, Brittany, Metropolitan France and Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, overseas France.
  • Sailing at the Asian Games - since 1970.
  • Sailing World Championships - world championships organized by International Sailing Federation (ISAF). All Class that are member of the International Sailing Federation may hold class world championships in addition to those initialed by the organisation.
  • Stotesbury Cup Regatta - since 1927. One of the largest high school rowing competitions. It is held annually in mid-May over a two-day period along the Schuylkill River near Boathouse Row in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Competing crews come from schools all over North America.
  • Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - since 1945. (Sometimes referred to as the Bluewater Classic in the Australian media) is an annual event hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km). The race is run in co-operation with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, and is widely considered to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world.
  • The Boat Race - since 1829. Annual rowing race between the Oxford University Boat Club and the Cambridge University Boat Club, rowed between competing eights on the River Thames in London, England.
  • The Ocean Race - since 1973. The Ocean Race is a yacht race around the world, held every three or four years since 1973. Originally named the Whitbread Round the World Race after its initiating sponsor, British brewing company Whitbread, in 2001 it became the Volvo Ocean Race after Swedish automobile manufacturer Volvo took up the sponsorship, and in 2019 it was renamed The Ocean Race.
  • Victoria to Maui Yacht Race - since 1965. The longest offshore sailing race off the west coast of North America, is the pinnacle of Pacific Northwest ocean racing. First contested in 1965, since 1968 the Vic-Maui has run in even-numbered years, starting in June or July off Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and finishing near Lahaina, Maui, United States, a distance of approximately 2,308 nautical miles (4,274 km).
  • WORLD CRUISING CLUB - since 1986. Global sailing event organisers World Cruising Club (WCC) are best known for the ARC, the world’s largest annual trans-ocean sailing event. The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, to use its official title, is the originator of the many WCC cruising rallies now taking place around the globe.
  • WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR | WMRT - professional sailing series, featuring 9 World Championship events across the globe, sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation with "Special Event" status. The tour currently spans 3 continents.
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