The sailing regatta is a competition where multiple boat races are involved, with all the participants using sailing boats that make use of their sails instead of relying on engines. You will find these races to take place in areas around certain towns of the world and the name of the event is usually the name of the area. Some of these competitions have been going on since the 18th-19th century and they are quite popular, with hundreds of different boats participating each year.
The purpose of the regatta is to promote sailing and sometimes to act as part of a championship. There are rules in places and there is a certain structure to the whole thing, even though mostly amateurs participate. Usually, you will find that each regatta focuses on a certain type of boat or boat length, so there are similar boats taking part with similar capabilities. In many cases you will find that there are multiple classes that boats belong in, so each one can win the trophy for its own class. The host of a regatta event is either an association, a club and there are even schools that organize them in countries like UK.
The sailing regatta is one of the more popular boat competition, but they’re not the only ones. There are also rowing regattas, where rowing boats are used, plus some competitions that focus on powerboats. A few examples of regattas that have been organized for a long time now would be the Cumberland Cup or the regattas of Port of Plymouth or of Port of Dartmouth. One of the biggest ones is Cowes Week, where each year 900+ sailboats gather to take part. America’s Cup is a different type, where the former winner has to defend the title against a contender that has managed to defeat all the other boats that tried to reach that same position.
Taking part in a race like this doesn’t require much of the boat owner, so pretty much anyone can participate and have a bit of fun. You’ll have a lot more fun if you have a boat that’s actually built for speed, but even if you don’t you can take part as an amateur and enjoy your time at the regatta. At the very least you can make sure you don’t end up finishing last.
In order for the boat to fit in a certain class and be able to compete against others with the same specifications, it has to meet certain criteria. Some classes are very strict, insuring that all boats are the same and the crew’s skill and the boat age are the only ones that will make the difference. Others are a bit more loose, so the equipment quality and the boat can play a bigger role.
Stricter classes include among their more popular names like RS Sailing, Laser Performance and Melges. Looser classes, where the length and the stability are the only requirements, include names like Class 40, Open 60, International One Metre or TP 52.