Boat Racing for Dummies!

Henri Antoine is an International Race Officer at the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). This week, he tells us about a recent boat racing training session that was organised for newcomers to sailing racing: Racing for Dummies!

The first ‘Racing for Dummies’ training session was held in Dunkerque, Northen France on Saturday, April 5, 2014, on the premises of the North Sea Yacht Club.

Boat racing for Dummies
A poster advertising “Racing for Dummies” training session

This event was designed to encourage boaters to take part in boat races. Boaters often want to race but are apprehensive about beginning. It is a fear of not understanding how it is done, or looking ridiculous in comparison to more seasoned competitors.

Thierry Maurick, Chairman of YCMN, (the North Sea Yacht Club) immediately found the idea interesting and fun. It was a way to bring a new audience to boat racing without any pressure in a relaxed setting. Hence the idea of the event title “For Dummies”.

The goal: to demystify and “play down” boat racing, which many people believe to be more complicated than it is.

Participants in this Dunkirk training session really enjoyed it and the event was very successful. To make it as accessible as possible, many concrete examples, diagrams and pictures were used.

MaxSea TimeZero Navigator weather forecast  service explained during the boat racing training session
GRIB weather files overlaid on the chart in MaxSea TimeZero

MaxSea TimeZero was used to demonstrate how coastal routes can be easily viewed. In coastal routes in areas where marine navigation is tricky, this helped participants to quickly understand how to approach this type of race. They learned how to read and understand nautical charts in a practical way.

The participants really liked how easy it was to integrate wind information (using GRIB files in TimeZero) and tidal current data. These types of information are of course, very important for boat racing.

There was positive feedback from participants, and another session in mid-May is planned.

This was a great initiative – thanks Henri!

For more information about ISAF, please click here.

To find out more about the North Sea Yachting Club in Dunkerque, France, see their website.


Download your free guide

The Different Types of Sailing Explained

Sailing, an Olympic sport since 1900, has various competitive types that have been listed by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) along with its non-competitive form, cruising.

Fleet Racing

Fleet racing is the most common form of competitive sailing that involves racing boats going around a course.

Fleet racing can be either ‘one-design’ or ‘handicap’. One-design boat racing, as at the Olympic Sailing Competition means that boats racing against each other are all the same – the same design, the same sail area etc. Handicap racing means different types of racing boat can compete against each other. Each boat has a handicap or rating so that their finish times can be adjusted or their start time determined so that the slowest boats go first.

Fleet racing can be any length of time with several taking place in a day or as a round the world race such as the Volvo Ocean Race.

Fleet Racing boat

Match Racing

A match race consists of two identical racing boats competing against each other. This is a one-on-one duel of strategy and tactics and the objective is simple – to be the first to cross the finish line.

A match racing course is always a windward/leeward course and each race takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Team Racing

Team racing typically consists of two sailing teams each of three racing boats competing against eachTeam racing boat other. It is a fast-paced racing style which depends on excellent boat handling skills and rapid tactical decision making.

The sailing teams will race to try and achieve a winning combination of places – the lowest score wins. The scoring system is 1 for first place, 2 for second and so on. If one boat in the team wins the race they are not guaranteed glory as their combined score must be ten or less to win. Example: 2, 3, 5 = 10 points vs. 1, 4, 6 = 11 points.

Offshore and Oceanic Sailing

Oceanic racing is defined as any offshore race over 800 miles. There are many types of Oceanic and Offshore racing events which are organized for one design classes as well as handicap or rating systems.

The differences between the types of oceanic and offshore racing, ranging from trans-oceanic boat racing to short-course day races sailed in protected waters, are reflected in the six categories of the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations which provide for the differences in the minimum standards of safety and accommodation.

Diasabled Sailing

The International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) is an affiliate member of ISAF and responsible for disabled sailing worldwide.

Almost any racing boat can be sailed by people with disabilities although it is clear that some are more suitable than others.

In 1996 sailing was included on the programme of the Paralympic Games as a demonstration event and it has been full medal sport since then. It is one of the only sports in the Paralympic Games in which athletes of any disability compete together.

Disabled sailing racing boatCruising 

Finally, cruising is arguably the most commonly enjoyed sailing discipline.

Cruising can be a coastal day sail or a longer distance international journey crossing oceans and national borders.

ISAF works with organizations such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to represent the interests of sailors worldwide.

The Piracy updates and links in the Safety section are essential reading for sailors considering cruising in certain waters.


Learn how to train like an Ocean Skipper Free Guide

World Paralympic Championship 2013 in Kinsale, Ireland

Fabrice Levet is a sonar boat coach at the French national school of sailing. Here, he recounts his team’s exciting win at the World Paralympic Championship 2013, which took place in August.  

It is Friday, August 16th, 2013 and there is unrest in the hangars of the national school of sailing and water sports!

The French Paralympic Team has met to load up the equipment needed for the trip to Ireland.

Our exact destination is the coastal town of Kinsale, which hosted the World Paralympic Championship 2013: The highlight of the sailing season.

French team at Kinsale

After poring over the local newspapers and website articles about the event, we realized that we were hardly mentioned!

There is a lot of coverage of the Dutch team, who are Olympic champions, and the Norwegians who are the current titleholders, but not a line about the French boat.  There will be eighteen sonar boats on the water in total.

However, the French sailors Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont- Vicary have won two of the most important pre-season regattas – in Hyères and Medemblick.

Regardless, the training at ENVSN took the form of Match Racing, the West Spinnaker and the Grand Prix of the longtze naval school.  The “Mondial Caravelle” was won this year by Bruno even though he was up against tough competitors such as Michel Desjoyeaux and Armel Le Clea’ch. This illustrates the amount of work and level of motivation of the crew to win this event after a disappointing London Games (coming in at 4th place) .

At Roscoff, we were the first to get on the ferry …  and the first ones out at Cork! All sailors are a little superstitious, so we noted this fact with a smile.

In bright (and unexpected!) sunshine, the preparations began (we were first to start practising!) within the walls of the prestigious Yacht Club of Kinsale.

The anticyclone that had swept across the Atlantic coast this summer had returned. The week appeared atypical for the Irish Sea: it was an average of ten knots with a sea breeze .

On Monday, August 26th, when arriving at the club, we had a preview of what was ahead. This was a true Swiss lake bordering the southern Irish coast. We would have to wait until the next day to get sailing!

team france 2

The sonar-boat French team enjoyed a strong start, and from the very first day the crew seized ahead of the crowd with places 1/5/2.

A good start, insight and speed – the ingredients for a win, but there was still direct competition on our heels, namely the Australians and Norwegians.

There was to be no fast racing the next day for the same reasons as the first: a lack of wind.

Between ten and fourteen knots of wind awaited racers on the Thursday. The conditions were quite complicated with a constant struggle between different air fronts, leading to the constant threat of lightning on the water.

Bruno and his team managed to use their analysis to help them practically and achieved almost flawless results with 1/1/2. Starting the final day, they were 11 points in the lead and ready to attack for the last day of this world championship. It looked very good but everyone remained quiet and concentrated.

Finally some wind! Twenty knots that morning with a sea mist, the typical Irish postcard picture.

With a second place in the first race, we were closing in on the title. Only the Dutch could still cause an upset for us.

The outright winner was determined shortly afterwards with a close finish like a race is supposed to be, France finished 4th and the Netherlands 6th.  It’s official – we are the world champions!

The crew wanted to do well in the last race … and won.

Team France finished 13 points ahead of the Netherlands who came in in second place and Australia were third.

It is clear to see that even though everything ended well, it was of course, more difficult than we had expected.

A very beautiful Irish tour on the road to Rio…

Fabrice LEVET

Sonar Boat Coach

Learn how to train like an Ocean Skipper Free Guide

20 years of the Transat Jacques Vabre Race!

The Transat Jacques Vabre is a yachting race that follows the historic routes followed for coffee trading between France and Brazil. It has become one of the most well-known races in the world since it began in 1993 and it takes place every second year.

The race’s starting point is Le Havre in France, and the end point is in Itajaí, Brazil. The route measures a total of 5,400 miles. There are no imposed waypoints, so the racers must choose what they consider to be the fastest route to their destination.

The route for the 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre race
The route for the 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre race

Le Havre has traditionally been, and remains to this day the leading coffee importing port in France.  This year, about 40 boats are expected to take part across all categories.

The Transat is a two-handed race, meaning that there are two sailors on each team. For the pair to be successful, they must have a complementary set of skills, and it’s also important that they get along well together too.

Both multihulls and monohulls from the following classes may participate in this race: ORMA, IMOCA, Class 2 Monohulls, Open 50 Class and Class40.

All kinds of navigational aids are allowed in particular for routing, except for the Class40 boats (as this is forbidden in their own rules). MaxSea’s advanced routing module is a very effective tool for calculating the fastest route from one point to another. It takes into account various factors such as wind speed/strength, waves and currents and has been used very successfully by famous racers such as Michel Desjoyeaux.

Racing vs Cruise Boat CTA

Important dates for the 2013 race:

  • October 26: Grand opening of public village Le Havre
  • October 26-27: Exhibition race in the basin of the Eure
  • November 3: Start of the Transat Jacques Vabre
  • November 18: Grand opening of village public Itajai
  • 3rd week of Nov: Estimated finish date of the first boats
  • November 30: Postlogue and first prizegiving in Itajai
  • December 7: Official Prizegiving in Itajai

Here are the current title defenders, who were successful in 2011:

Monohull 60′
Jean-Pierre DICK & Jérémie BEYOU
15days 18h 15min 54sec

Multihull 50′
17days 17h 7min 43sec

Class 40′
21days 17h 59min 8sec

MaxSea proudly supports the Jacques Vabre Transat race by acting as a technical partner.

This video gives a nice overview of the race:

Isabelle Joschke tackles the 2012 Solitaire du Figaro with MaxSea

Isabelle Joschke sponsored by MaxSea -2Isabelle Joschke, skipper in the Ocean racing team Absolute Dreamer, will participate at the 43rd La Solitaire du Figaro race aboard Galettes Saint-Michel Figaro boat.

MaxSea International is glad to be the official technical supplier of this great yachtswoman, philologist, benevolent at the Glénans sailing school and sports coach.

The French-German boat racer will face as of June 24th her 5th Solitaire du Figaro along with another 36 skippers in a 3-leg race totaling 1432 nautical miles:

La Solitaire du Figaro race - 3 legs

We wish Isabelle the best of lucks!

Follow Isabelle Joschke on:



MaxSea official supplier of Normandy Sailing Week 2012

Once again, MaxSea International is happy to be one of the official suppliers of the 2012 edition of Normandy Sailing Week 2012.

Normandy Sailing Week 2011 - Boat

For this 7th edition, that is going to take place in Le Havre from June 8th to 10th, MaxSea provided the event with MaxSea TimeZero maritime navigation software, charts and a Routing module, to be used by the race direction.

Normandy Sailing Week 2011 - Le Havre

Last year, the event featured 4 days of races, 112 participants, 106 yachts ranked, 89 races launched across 11 series, 3 race zones in a single day, split between 4 different fleets, harbor courses, one long coastal course around the Seine Bay and one offshore course for the M34s.

Normandy Sailing Week 2011 - Competitors

Follow the event at:

Follow MaxSea Official Facebook Page for more news about our company and partners:

If you want to know more about MaxSea TimeZero Software range, please visit us at:

La Solitaire du Figaro 2011 : Jérémie Beyou wins in Dieppe and is crowned king of the Solitaire du Figaro 2011

Today, Wednesday at 12:49:01 Jérémie Beyou crossed the line first to win the fourth and final leg from Les Sables d’Olonne to Dieppe. By finishing in Dieppe ahead of the rest of the fleet, and scoring his third consecutive victory, BPI’s skipper Jérémie Beyou was crowned overall winner of the 2011 Solitaire du Figaro, an edition he dominated from the outset. This win means he joins the exclusive club of double winners of the event.

The BPI skipper covered the 437 miles in 72 hours, 37 minutes and 1 second. It was one of the closest finishes ever for the race, with four boats flying past the line in a little more than 30 seconds. Second place went to Paul Meilhat (Macif 2011) just 12 seconds later, third to Fabien Delahaye (Port de Caen Ouistreham) 28 seconds after the winner and fourth to Erwan Tabarly (Nacarat) at within 35 seconds. Continue reading

La Solitaire du Figaro 2011 : Jérémie Beyou winner and overall leader in Dún Laoghaire

The 2005 Solitaire du Figaro champion crossed the finish line Dún Laoghaire not only to win the second leg but take the overall lead in the four-stage sailing race. Nicolas Lunven, the 2009 champion was second with Adrien Hardy, who won the stage to Ireland in 2010, third. Morgan Lagravière, was top rookie in 6th. The first of the four British sailors, Phil Sharp, was 23rd, just over an hour behind the leader.

The pewter grey skies cleared briefly to let some bright sun through to spotlight the first Figaro on the horizon and reveal the breakaway leader of the 46 solo sailors competing on the second of four legs that make up La Solitaire du Figaro race. The second leg, 440 miles from Caen to Dún Laoghaire close to Dublin on the East coast of Ireland, set off last Sunday and took just over 65 hours for the winner to complete. Jérémie Beyou (BPI), blew his spinnaker in the shifty breeze just a couple of miles from the finish, but had been surfing downwind at a blistering average of 14 knots, whilst keeping a close eye on his pursuers as he helmed his boat to victory at 10:15 in the morning. The successful and experienced French solo sailor, averaged 6.7 knots over the 65 hours and 25 minutes and 16 seconds. He was both jubilant and exhausted upon arrival. Continue reading

Quelques mots de notre partenaire Isabelle Joschke

Bonjour à tous,

En pleine préparation de la Solitaire du Figaro qui partira ce dimanche de Perros-Guirec, je vous écris un petit mot pour vous donner quelques nouvelles de ma saison 2011.

Après le retrait de Synergie cet hiver, il m’a été difficile de trouver un budget complet pour participer une quatrième fois aux courses du circuit Figaro Bénéteau. Grâce au soutien des Galettes St-Michel, ainsi que de mes partenaires Julbo, Panasonic, Distinxion, Plastimo, Maxsea et VOR, que je remercie pour leur fidélité, j’ai néanmoins décidé de participer à cette Solitaire du Figaro pour laquelle je me suis préparée et entraînée toute l’année. Continue reading

La Solitaire du Figaro 2011 : Perros-Guirec bursting with activity

The picture perfect town of Perros-Guirec in Northern Brittany has been a hive of activity since the Solitaire du Figaro race village opened and boats arrived last Saturday. The marina is full with the skippers making final preparations to their boats and the Race Village is bursting with activity. Final security and measurement checks are being made, moments of rest and concentration for others as they plan ahead to the Eric Bompard Cachemire Prologue race, scheduled for Friday 28th at 17:30. Continue reading