Course racing is the most common type of Windsurfer One Design competition. As with most sail-craft races, a Windsurfer One Design course race involves a group (fleet) of boards sailing around a designated course marked by a series of buoys. The size of the racing fleet is unrestricted and it is normal to start different divisions simultaneously to make starting a challenge for all competitors.
Windsurfer One Design races are usually designed to take about 30 minutes to complete and the size of the course is adjusted according to wind strength to accommodate this – stronger winds means a larger course.
A championship regatta typically includes 7 to 10 course races, with an Olympic scoring system used to obtain overall scores for the race series. Sailors are assigned to different weight divisions and scored in their divisions, although it is usual for all the divisions to sail the same course at the same time. In a championship regatta, two or three races are usually conducted in one session, with only a few minutes between each race.
Windsurfer races are governed by the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing, published by the International Sailing Federation and available at http://www.sailing.org/documents/racingrules/ . Amendments to the ISAF rules are listed in the sailing instructions for each regatta. Notably, at championship events pumping the sail is usually allowed on reaching and down-wind legs of the course.
Types of Courses
The triangular course is typical at club level. The triangle race course has a top mark, wing mark, and a bottom mark making up the triangle and passage around these marks is followed by a windward return that excludes the wing mark(s). Note that for a formal”Olympic” triangular course a finish line would exist further up the windward leg.
Windward-Return (Hot Dog/Sausage) Course
At championship level, racing is usually conducted on windward-return courses, with the course being half to one kilometre in length and two laps being sailed in each race. The course also permits racing in a narrower area than for a triangular course. In light winds the downwind leg from the top mark to the gate marks is sailed as a run, however in heavier winds broad reaching will be quicker. The finish is typically on a downwind leg, either straight downwind or reaching from a bottom mark to behind the committee vessel.