Small Boat Racing

The fundamentals of racing are most easily learned in small boats. Many small boats are designed specifically for youth, and most provide a lifetime of enjoyment for adults as well. Because of their size and simplicity, many small sailboats can be sailed singlehanded or with a crew member or two.

These small boat options provide great racing opportunities
  • One Design
  • Multihull
  • Match Racing
  • Windsurfing
  • Team Racing
  • Kite Boarding

Small boat sailing can bring you relaxing days on the water, adventurous family fun or challenging competition

One Design Racing-

Click here to visit the NEW One-Design Central website

One-design is a form of racing where all boats are virtually identical or similar in design. Class-legal boats race each other without any handicap calculations, start at the same time, and the winner is the first to cross the finish line.

There are more than 150 actively raced one-design classes in the U.S. The classes range from eight-foot Optimist dinghies to the 12 Meter sailboats and beyond.

One-design classes are broken down into fleets that are located at yacht clubs and community sailing programs. Club or fleet racing takes place on a regular basis all over the country, and many fleets welcome newcomers. Contact your local yacht club or community program to get involved in one-design sailing and ask for the name of the fleet captain(s).

International Class World Championships

World Sailing’s regulations require classes planning to hold a world championship in the U.S. to gain the approval of US Sailing (see World Sailing Regulations 10 and 25). US Sailing is pleased to consider world championship approval requests at its monthly Directors meetings. Classes that wish to request US Sailing’s approval should submit a world championship approval request form.

The following information is required when submitting the request: event name and dates; host organization’s name and address; event venue, if different from host organization; class association contact name and email; event contact name and email. The request must be accompanied by a draft notice of race, and both the class association and the event host must be members of US Sailing. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the Race Administration office.

One Design Classes

Below is a comprehensive list of one-design classes. To update the information for your class and access the many resources available, go to My US Sailing. Your class does not have to be a member of US Sailing in order to be listed, however, only member classes have links to their web pages

One-Design Awards

Each year US Sailing presents up to five awards to recognize outstanding individuals, classes, clubs and fleets in one-design sailing. The awards — Service, Leadership, Club, Regatta, and Creativity — highlight role models of creative leadership in one-design sailing.

Did your club run an outstanding regatta this year? Is there an exceptional person at your club who was responsible for making your fleet grow? Anyone can nominate a club, fleet, regatta or one-design spark plug for a US Sailing One-Design Award. US Sailing wants to hear about it – one superbly written nomination per nominee is all that is needed.

SERVICE To recognize distinguished service and leadership in the promotion of one-design sailing and class organization. Make a nomination
In recognition of individual initiative, enthusiasm, organizing ability and leadership in creating the outstanding fleet building program. Make a nomination
CLUB To recognize administrative excellence, fleet growth, creative programming, regatta support, member contribution — at regional, national and international levels — of the one-design yacht club of the year. Make a nomination
To recognize excellence in development, promotion, and management by organizers and sponsors of the year’s outstanding multi-class or single class, international, continental, national or regional regatta. Make a nomination
CREATIVITY To recognize outstanding individual creativity and contribution to the year’s most innovative one design event of national or international significance. Make a nomination

One-Design Insurance Program by Gowrie Group

Whether you sail for fun, race occasionally, or are pursuing an Olympic campaign, Gowrie Group's specialized insurance program will meet your unique needs as a One-Design sailor. Learn more and get a quote at


Multihull sailboats come in a variety of types and sizes, from the popular Hobie Cat to large cruising catamarans. Catamarans have two hulls, while trimarans feature three. In general, multihulls are faster and lighter than monohulls (single hull sailboats). The 2013 America’s Cup was raced in high-tech catamarans. Active multihull classes include: Hobie Cat, A-Class and F16.

Youth sailors are looking for speed and excitement, and that what they get sailing multihulls. Check out this youth multihull sailing video.

Made popular by the America’s Cup, match racing pits one boat against another around a short two-lap windward/leeward course. This race format emphasizes the need for great boat speed, strong boat handling, teamwork and communication. Match racing will improve all aspects of your sailing, specifically your time-on-distance skills, starting line positioning, understanding of the rules, short course strategy and boat-on-boat tactics. Additionally, the tournament-style format makes it fun by maximizing the number of races per day.

Team Racing


Windsurfing, or boardsailing, combines elements of sailing and surfing. This is a fun and exciting sport sure to test your athleticism, whether cruising or racing. If you are looking for a pure form of sailing and want to experience the unlimited possibilities of instant hands-on adventure, windsurfing may be the sport for you.

To learn more about racing windsurfers, contact US Windsurfing.

Learn more about our windsurfing educational opportunities 


Kiteboarding, or kitesailing, is a young and growing sport that combines elements of sailing, surfing and wakeboarding. Kiteboarders can reach high speeds on the water, and like windsurfing, kiteboarding is great for those who like to perform jumps, aerial maneuvers and tricks, freestyle moves, or just for cruising. The gear is relatively simple and compact. The kite easily folds to fit into your sailing gear bag and the board is also lightweight.

To learn more about kiteboarding, contact the American Kiteboarding Association or the International Kiteboarding Association