In New Zealand, Team Racing typically consists of two teams, each of three boats (420 class yachts) competing against each other. It is a fast-paced racing style which depends on excellent boat handling skills and rapid tactical decision making.
The teams race to achieve a winning combination of places - the lowest score wins. The scoring system is 1 for first place, 2 for second and so on. If one boat in the team wins the race they are not guaranteed glory as their combined score must be ten or less to win - 2,3,5 = 10 points v 1,4,6 = 11 points.
If a team is lying in 1,4,6 positions, the boat in first place boat will go back and try to help their team mates through to 2,3,5 or better. How do they do this? Firstly, they can position their boat between the wind and their opponent, blanketing their sails and slowing them down. Secondly, they can use the right of way rules to their advantage, approaching their opponent in such a way that their adversaries have to change course or incur a penalty. Both of these tactics come into play before the race starts when the manoeuvres begin, with all six boats performing an intricate and aggressive dance to try and gain the advantage.
The racing is followed by umpires on the water who issue on the spot penalties. If a boat is protested against by another boat, they can accept it and perform a 360 degree penalty turn straight away, or wait for the umpires to give a decision which may result in a green flag (no penalty) or a 720 degree turn.