Using the European Championships as an example, a speed event would be run along the following format.
How To: For Dummies*
1) Minimum wind speed: 20 knots at 90 degrees (the reason for angle is to make sure people can get down the course). Offshore wind is important for flat water, no waves and of course strong wind. The more broad the course is the stronger the wind needs to be. You couldn’t run an event with 20 knots at 140 degrees because you can’t sail downwind at such a broad angle, you just stop moving.
2) Course length: 250m or 500m
3) Heats: Based on race officer discretion, generally 2-3 heats a day if the wind is strong enough.
4) Heat duration: Normally 1.5 hours – Geek fact: If it’s a fixed course with live data and the top 5 sailors alter position in the last 5 minutes then 15 minutes can be added to the time, this can only happen twice and is done so because it is assumed that the wind is building.
5) Event duration: 7-10 days
6) Scoring: Each round receives a score, same as in slalom 1st place = 0.7 points, 2nd place = 2 points, 3rd place = 3 points, etc… This score is based on the average of your two best speeds whether it is 250 or 500m.
7) Results: At the end of the competition your points are added up and you receive discards after 4, 7 and 11 rounds. Then a champion is finally crowned.
8 ) Prizes: Categories for prizes can be for the overall speed champion, for the maximum speed in one run, fastest youth, fastest junior, etc..
* = We are well aware that this is a very simplified version and there are many more technical aspects, but for those interested, this is what to expect should you turn up at an event like the Dunkerbeck GPS Speed Challenge