SailGP events take place all over the world in multiple iconic venues and in all kinds of weather conditions.
This means our racecourse is always changing, sometimes even multiple times at the same event if the conditions dictate.
This may at times appear confusing, but the fundamentals of a SailGP racecourse remain the same regardless of the actual course layout.
Racing is intended to be on windward (upwind) and leeward (downwind) courses, with the final course to be sailed designated by the race committee no later than five minutes before the starting signal.
The course may have both its position and length altered depending on the weather conditions during events, but the basic windward/leeward configuration remains the same for every SailGP race.
In this windward/leeward configuration, one mark is placed directly upwind from the center of the start line and the second mark is placed directly downwind from the first mark.
One of the most intense parts of a SailGP race is right at the start, as the first leg takes the boats on one of the fastest points in sailing, a reach, to the first mark, or the speed mark.
From there, the boats begin heading to the leeward gate at the bottom of the course, and once a boat has passed through it starts heading upwind to the windward gate at the top of the course.
The boats repeat the journey to the leeward gate once they have passed through the windward gate, and then continue racing this course until the designated number of laps have been completed, before heading to the finish line.
HOW STARTS WORK
There is no standing start in SailGP, with all races beginning with the entire fleet moving.
Various signals are communicated to the boats during the starting procedure, with the entire fleet required to be inside the starting area at a set time. The fleet will then start moving towards the start line as the clock counts down to the starting signal.
Boats may cross the start line any time after the starting signal has been sounded to begin the reach for the first mark.
If a boat has crossed the start line before the starting signal, it is declared OCS (on course side) and penalised.