Would you like to bring team racing to your club?

Would you like a fleet of boats to make it happen? 

Find out all about how you can have this amazing fleet of boats in your club. GO HERE.

If your club is interested, complete the Irish Sailing Team Racing Fireflies Expression of Interest HERE


Contact Jack if you want more info jack@sailing.ie

Notice posted: 16 Nov 2021

What is Team Racing?

Team Racing is a popular form of dinghy or yacht racing where only two teams compete against each other in a race. A team consists of 2,3 or 4 matched boats from the same class, often identified by sail & boat colours and numbers alternatively the helmsman may be wearing coloured bibs. Using the low points scoring system, a combination of a team’s results decides the winner. i.e. 1st = 1 point, 2nd = 2 points and so on. The team with the least points wins.

Irish Sailing have some funding from BIM FLAG for team racing coaches. Find coaches here.

Anyone considering organising a team racing event and wants advice should contact teamracing@sailing.ie

Why Team Racing?

Team Racing is an ideal way to retain youth sailors after they leave the structured environs of youth classes or Irish Sailing programmes. Team Racing is very sociable as whilst there are a lot of races against different teams, there are also times where team members will be waiting on their next race in change over boats, pontoons or ashore. This allows teams to mix, chat and socialize. It also adds the dimension of practicing and racing as part of a team. The more you practice and work together, the more successful you become.

Each race lasts around 10 minutes and multiple races can be run at the same time using the same course. With around 8 hours of racing in a day and a well organized race team, It is possible to run up to 96 races in one day using a Round Robin format. (8hrs x 3 per flight x 4 flights per hour = 96)!

Whilst on the whole, the rules are the same, there are a few adaptations for Team Racing. Most Rule books have an appendix on the Team Racing Rules.  E.g. boats infringing the rules can take a voluntary penalty spin. However if they are spotted by an umpire and do not take a spin, the umpire can enforce a two spin penalty. Another key rule is that the ‘zone’ is changed to two hull lengths.

As Team Racing uses Umpires, it reduces the ability for people to shout and scare opponents. This is often frowned upon, so reduces attempted Male dominance. It also has lest reliance on physical strength, with more reliance on strategy, communication, rules knowledge and tactics making it a much more attractive sport to females. Umpiring speeds up the process of protests allowing for immediate on water decisions, which in turn ensures that results are quickly updated.

Team Racing focuses on Starts, manoeuvres, tactics, boat handling and rules knowledge, which makes it ideal training for fleet racing medal races. It is ideal to be included as part of youth sailor development. Often you will find that the top fleet racers also compete in major team racing events.

The Course

Courses are short and use up to 6 marks with a start boat and board displaying the race number. Competitions with multiple flights often use rolling starts in intervals of three minutes to get more races through in a tight time frame.  For Premature starters, boat numbers are hailed as OCS’d and must return to correct side of the line. Umpires marshall the racing and the rules using a whistle and flags to notify boats of penalties. Umpires decisions are final.

Races generally last around 10 minutes  using continuous starting and are raced over a digital ‘S’ course offering a Start, Beat, Reach, Run, Reach, Beat, Finish. It’s best to run the races in no current.

Official's Duties

While these are the individual roles required for a large event, for training purposes they are often combined.

Race Officer - Unlike fleet racing, team racing is usually organised as close to shore as possible to make changeovers quicker and easier. This makes it a great spectator sport. It also involves shorter courses with fewer boats and often the race officer will be shore based.

Duties of a race officer include controlling the schedule of races, ensuring results are up to date, processing protests as the event progresses and overseeing tie breaks.

Starter – Controls committee boat, start sequence and boat recalls /ocs.

Course Manager – sets and maintains course due to wind shifts

Umpires - Umpires follow boats on the water and may award penalties to anyone that breaks the rules. If you do break a rule, you can take a voluntary 360 degree penalty turn as soon an possible after the incident. However failure to take a spin, may result in an appeal from your opponent using a protest flag. Umpires may then enforce two penalty turns. Umpires carry 3 flags. Green means sail on, Red enforces 720 degree penalty turns and a black flag means that the umpire has seen something which may result in further action ashore.

Changeover Boat Drivers – Only required if the boats cannot sail back to pontoons.

Team racing, race officers & officials should study appendix D – Team Racing Rules.

Organisations & Events

EVENTS CALENDAR - HERE - search "team"


Irish Schools Sailing Association. Has Regional representatives for Munster, Leinster & Connaught. They organize provincial Schools championships and work together to organize the National Schools championships.

Schools & Youth Competitions 

  • Regionals
  • Nationals
  • Shanahan Cup
  • Elmo Cup (RstGYC – Open Event - Under 18’s)
  • Marconi Cup (Munster Clubs)


Irish University Sailing Association. Each university has a sports union. If there is an interest in sailing, they recruit sailors at their freshers fayre. Several university clubs have a fleet of firefly’s. They partner with local yacht clubs by paying an annual fee to use their premises and store boats. Most of these university sailing clubs organize training and events throughout the year. The main championships are the intervarsities. IUSA work closely with ITRA who provide umpiring, help with event organization and advice on NOR’s & SI’s.

University & College competitions

  • Regionals
  • Alumni
  • Intervarsities

Other Events

Other – Classes, clubs and organisations often organize their own competitions. Some clubs have partnered with other yacht clubs throughout the world to organize rotational & biennial events where each club takes a turn in hosting.

  • Triangular Bowl 
  • Cannon Bowl
  • Millenium Cup – Triangular – Royal St George, Royal Thames, Royal Northern & Clyde
  • IDA Lewis – Kinsale
  • Dragons – Royal Ulster Yacht Club
  • Glens – SLYC & Dublin Bay
  • Inter Club - Marconi Cup


Boats often used for team racing include the 420, Firefly, TR3.6, RS Feva and Topaz, however any matched boats can be used. Keelboats that are often used include Sonar, Squib, J24 & J80.

The most commonly used boats are Firefly’s which are ideal as there are no high-performance features (i.e spinnaker & trapeze). Firefly’s have good rocker, are very manoeuvrable, and have good acceleration. It’s also suitable for women and children to sail.

Typically a Flight of boats = 6 Boats i.e. 3 boats per team. With 2 sailors in each boat, there is a total of 12 sailors afloat in each flight. Competitions may have multiple flights.

Where can you Team Race?

Existing Team Racing Clubs

  • Royal St George Yacht Club
  • Howth Yacht Club
  • National Yacht Club
  • Royal Irish Yacht Club
  • Fastnet Marine Outdoor Education Centre
  • Galway Bay Sailing Club
  • Blackrock Cork
  • Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • Glandore Harbour Yacht Club
  • Baltimore Sailing Club
  • Lough Ree Yacht Club
  • Galway Bay Sailing Club
Team Racing Schools


  • Loretto Colleges – Foxrock, Dalkey, Stephens Green
  • St Conleths
  • St Gerards
  • Sutton Park
  • Wexford CBS
  • Blackrock
  • Holy Child Killiney
  • St Andrews
  • Gonzaga


  • St Enda’s
  • Calsanctius
  • Carraroe


  • Bandon Grammar School
  • Kenmare National School
  • Carrigaline community school, Cork
  • Schull Community College,
  • Skibbereen Community School, Cork
  • Christian Brothers College Cork,
  • Presentation Brothers,  Cork
  • St Francis College, Rochestown,
  • Scoil Mhuire, Cork
  • Colaiste Muire, Crosshaven.
Team Racing Colleges


  • NUIG Galway
  • Dublin University Sailing Club
  • Royal College of Surgeons Ireland
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University College Dublin
  • University College Cork
  • Cork Institute of Technology
  • Queens University Belfast
  • University of Limerick
  • DCU and DTU
Race Official Kit
  • 4-6 Evenly matched dinghies
  • 6 Marks
  • Umpire Flags
  • Fog Horn / Whistle
  • White Board
  • VHF Radios
  • Rib(s) / Launch(s)