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SailGP Explained


Penalties are a key part of SailGP races to ensure the competition remains fair and equal each time the boats take to water.

There are a number of various rules which can be broken by the teams during racing, with penalties decided by the umpires following a protest by a competitor.

The umpire team, using high-tech tracking technology accurate to two-and-a-half centimeters, maintain the fairness of the racing. They are able to replay incidents and have access to all data and audio that comes off the boats.

If a team is found to have breached a rule it receives a penalty, and the boat in question must slow down until it is 20 meters behind the other boats involved in the incident.

Penalties can be awarded for breaking any of the following rules


Following the opening event of Season 2, the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess, tougher rules have been introduced to discourage collisions on the race course.

The new updates give more discretion to the umpires when imposing penalty points (deducted from a boat's score in a particular race) in the event of a collision.

Penalty points can be handed out to both the guilty boat on the water, but also the other boat if it didn't do enough to avoid the collision.

Penalty points will be determined utilising the following methodology:


  • Boat responsible - two points
  • Boat involved - minimum one point (if it was possible for them to avoid)

Collision causing damage
Damage: Tech team needed to review and repair

  • Boat responsible - four points
  • Boat involved - minimum two points (if it was possible for them to avoid)

Collision causing serious damage
Serious damage: Taken out of racing for the day

  • Boat responsible - six points
  • Boat involved - minimum three points (if it was possible for them to avoid)

Season Impact

At the end of an event, a boat's accumulated contact and damage points penalties will result in the following deductions from the Season Championship:

3-4 points = one season point deducted
5-6 points = two season points deducted
7+ points = three season points deducted

Dangerous driving: Black flag

The umpires can give an immediate ‘black flag disqualification’ to a team that, while breaking a rule, puts another team at high risk of serious collision or capsize.

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