About team racing

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.


The first major international team racing event started in 1921 with the first British-American series sailed in 6M yachts, four a side. In 1933, the International 14 class began a multi-nation series that continues to this day. In the 1940’s and 1950’s the growth of the ‘one design dinghy’ helped team racing grow as an affordable and entertaining way to enjoy sailing.

Team Racing is the bedrock of collegiate sailing with very competitive university circuits in most of the world's leading sailing nations. Many former student teams continue to sail together independently or under club burgees.

In New Zealand, Team racing is the focus of Secondary school sailing, with Regional and National Championships each year. Teams in the South Island from schools in Nelson, Marlborough, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin & Wanaka regularly race and compete.

Team racing in Nelson has historically been strong, with often over 50 sailors from Nelson College for Girls, Nelson College, Waimea, Nayland, Garin & Motueka participating. In 2019, teams from both Nelson College & Nelson College for Girls competed in the Interdominion Championships (New Zealand v Australia) in Hobart.

Our organisation

Nelson Bays Team Sailing (NBTS) – formerly known as Nelson Bays Youth Team Racing Association (NBYTRA) is an incorporated society. It has been strongly supported by volunteer parent committees since its inception. It is closely associated with the Nelson Yacht Club (NYC), with NBTS sailors being members of both NYC and NBTS. Our 42O yachts ae based at the NYC, and we share resources and facilities. We always require parental help to support the committee and help run Sunday race days.

We own a fleet 13 modern Olympic class 420 class yachts, the most recent purchased from Italy in 2019/20. We also own a 4 metre patrol rib and a 30 ft Pontoon boat which resides at Nelson Marina.

Schools each have a practice night during the week, and on Sundays we have a full day of racing between the school teams during the season (School terms 4 and 1). Every second year (alternating with Picton), we host the Top of the South Secondary Schools Team Sailing Regatta.

NBTS provides an excellent environment for secondary school students to grow their tactical and team skills in a supportive, competitive and fun environment.

Committee Members

Meet the Team


Chris Roff

021 0248 4834



Amanda Wiggins

021 986 022


& Grants

Nicky Mitchell

027 539 9634



Emma Burnaby

021 151 2662


Safety Officer

Simon Graney

021 992 942


To nominate a Committee Member, please download the Committee Nomination Form

Team Managers

Nelson College

Nelson College for Girls

Nayland College

Waimea College

Garin College

Contact Details

Nicki Lawes

027 771 1173


Mirka Langford

027 703 2415


Dale McDonald

021 0309 043


Kelly Taylor

021 259 4709


Rob O'Grady

027 571 5611


Nelson Yacht Club

ManagerTim Fraser-Harris021 0250 3767manager@nelsonyachtclub.org.nz
NYC CommodoreGeoff Pitcaithly03 5487 154chrisandgeoff@slingshot.co.nz