A yacht race is an event in which boats are sailed competitively. The race organizers will usually dictate what types of crafts can be used for the race, and the boats must feature sails as the propulsion method. Courses for a yacht race can vary in difficulty and length, and the boaters participating in such a race must often be quite experienced in order to sail safely and quickly. Different classes of races are possible to accommodate ability level and ship design as well.
Smaller crafts such as dinghies and skiffs are usually raced on lakes, ponds, or other enclosed bodies of water. While these crafts are generally not referred to as yachts, they are technically yachts and therefore can take part in a yacht race. Much larger boats are more commonly called yachts, and they are generally raced on open water like oceans or very large lakes. A yacht race can be held in different formats: most are designed to test the boater's steering abilities, speed production, and so on, while other races may focus on the boater's ability to navigate.
A point to point yacht race is one in which boats are sailed across large expanses of open water. Some races will even take boaters around the world, though most races are not quite that extensive. Yacht racing can be especially difficult and dangerous because of the length of the race as well as the variable weather boaters are likely to encounter throughout the course of the yacht race. It is not uncommon for boats to become lost at sea, to capsize, or to simply become incapacitated for any variety of reasons. Many boaters will be forced to drop out of the race long before the finish. The sport is inherently dangerous, and boaters are at risk of drowning, becoming hypothermic, suffering from exhaustion and dehydration, and so on.
Multi-day and multi-week race winners are determined by who finishes the entire course the fastest, though in some cases, finishing times are adjusted according to the type of boat being raced. Some boat designs are faster, while others are more maneuverable. Boaters can often determine beforehand what kind of handicap they will receive based on the type of boat they have chosen. The rules of a specific race will vary, and boats can become disqualified for violating established rules of the race or the governing body of that race.