Sailboat racing is a competition in which sailboats race to get to the finish line first.
There are two main types of race courses.
On short courses, also known as buoy racing, sailboats start at the same time and sail around the course a certain number of times.
Boats are then scored by the position in which they cross the finish line.
Buoy races can last anywhere from five to thirty minutes.
During distance racing, also known as offshore racing, sailboats race over long distances.
These types of races can last hours, days, or even weeks.
In both buoy and distance racing, a starting line is used to begin the race.
The starting line is actually an imaginary line drawn in the water between a buoy and the judge's boat.
If a sailboat crosses the starting line early, they are penalized by being forced to sail back and recross the starting line.