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The four stages of boat racing

The four stages of boat racing

Thursday, 14 July 2011
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

“The desire to learn is the key to understanding.”

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1 min read

Boat races are made up of several rounds split into four defining “stages”. The starting signal, announcing the time when the competitors can cross the line, is preceded with a preparatory stage lasting between 3 and 10 minutes, the last minute is obviously the most important, indeed it is during this time that the winner may even be determined.

For sailors, this stage, which ranges from “hauling down the answering pennant”, as the expression has it, to the starting signal, is therefore crucial. This is why boat-racing watches provide a visual and sometimes audio system for countdowns, enabling the sailor to position the boat perfectly, depending on the time left. The maximum time authorised to cross the line after the starting signal, the total amount of time recorded by the winner to be used as a reference, and the maximum amount of time authorised to cross the finish line are three other racing references for which a chronograph function is sufficient, with perhaps also the ability to calculate the times in between.

These functions are performed perfectly well by many mechanical watches, such as by Audemars Piguet (Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi Team), Girard-Perregaux (Laureato Régate with a flying tourbillon), Omega (Seamaster NZL-32 chronograph), Tag Heuer (Aquaracer Calibre S Regatta) or Yema (Yachtingraf, Valjoux 7733 calibre). In the electronic field, the functions obviously go beyond that with the addition of a compass, tide information, barometer, temperature gauge, speed or even GPS function such as for the Casio (SPF-40 and SPW-1000), Seiko (Velatura Yachting Timer) or Suunto (Elementum).

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