Boat class

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A boat class describes boats with a uniform building code, which makes the boats in regattas directly comparable.

Types of boat classes

Boats are divided into classes to enable a certain degree of comparability in regattas. There are several approaches to this:

  • Unit classes : All boats of a unit class are to be regarded as the same. Minor deviations, for example due to the choice of certain sails, the arrangement of deck fittings or interior fittings of different weights are in principle conceivable, but must be explicitly permitted by the class regulations. These strict regulations can keep costs low, e.g. B. expensive building materials are prohibited. Older boats are often still competitive because the design does not evolve.
  • Construction classes : All boats are built according to certain building regulations, but can sometimes differ significantly from each other. Often, formulas are givenfor construction classes , in which certain data of the boat such as length, width, draft, displacement or sail area are included. The result of the formula must then be in a certain range. Design classes are constantly evolving. As a result, they always offer up-to-date designs, but at the price of always having to adapt to progress. Older boats are usually no longer competitive.
  • Box Rule : A subspecies of the construction class - here only very rough dimensions, e.g. B. prescribed a maximum length or a maximum sail area. The restrictions are even looser than with the formula-based construction class, and designers are given even more leeway.

Both construction classes and box rules therefore sometimes produce very different boats within the same class. These can differ significantly in their sailing properties. Also a boat can e.g. B. be very fast in a lot of wind and waves, but hopelessly inferior in light winds. The more freedom a class rule allows, the greater the importance of the boat design and the suitability of a ship for the prevailing weather conditions.

In order to allow boats of different classes to compete against each other, empirically determined "racing values" are assigned in the yardstick system for known boat classes. To determine the placement, the times sailed are offset against this factor.

As an alternative for boats that do not fit into a class, there are handicap systems. These try to calculate the speed potential of a boat and to calculate a "racing value" from it. For this, however, it may be necessary to measure the boat, which is complex and possibly to be repeated at certain time intervals.


In canoeing, there are regulations for each boat class on the size of the boat, the weight and the characteristics of the boat shape. This varies from discipline to discipline, and a distinction is made between kayaks and canoes . There are different building regulations for two-man Canadians in canoe racing than in canoe slalom or whitewater racing , but also within the individual disciplines different specifications, for example between one-kayak and one-canoe . Sometimes there are differences in boats which are used by children.

See also