Started Sailing

First Sailboat Races

by Cierra Haas
(Newport Beach, California, US)

When were the first sailboat races?

Can a sailboat, any type or size, sail around the world and be okay in bad weather?


Comments for First Sailboat Races

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Jun 16, 2010
Dear Cierra, to my knowledge...
by: Han

...there are no records of sailing races before the 16th century. Around that time the first yachts were built in Holland for rich ship-owners and the nobility, and they raced them (not they themselves of course; the yachts were sailed by their crews while they looked on). Some of those yachts were given as a present to English trade-partners, and they raced them too. After that, sailing races were primarily an English thing.

But: we know for sure there was a strong tradition in Holland and the Dutch province of Friesland from the Middle Ages on to race locally available boats in economically poor times. The races were organised by local barkeepers and the prices to be won were a pig, a cow or the like, anything that could be used as food. Last vestige of those races are the barge-races in Friesland as shown in Sailtube on this site.

And please, don't ever think that any kind of boat can be sailed safely around the world. As I wrote in another post, seaworthiness is not in the boat but in it's captain. I am (was, I should say) a very knowledgeable and experienced sailor, but I sure wouldn't take any boat even across the North Sea.

Hope you're happy with this,



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