Boat Racing Basics
A boat race consists of six boats, each with a designated boat number and color.
Three 600-meter laps
All boats start by crossing the start line and racing around the 1st and 2nd turn markers in order. The boats compete to place by running three laps around the 600-meter course for a total of 1,800 meters.
Unique way of starting a race
Boat racing employs the flying start system. Unlike track and field races where competitors start from a standstill, the boats must cross the start line within a designated time period.
Flying (F) and Late (L) Starts
In the flying start system, each boat must cross the start line within one second after the clock reaches zero. The earlier a boat crosses the start line, the better its chances of winning. If a boat crosses before the clock reaches zero - called a "Flying Start", or one second or later - called a "Late Start", that boat is scratched from the race. * If a boat is scratched from the race, all bets on that boat are refunded.
Prior to the start
Prior to the start of the actual race, the competitors jockey for a start position, conduct practice starts, and run two laps at full speed. This helps betters make predictions, and gives an idea of how well each boat and motor will perform. The Exhibition run consists of a "Start Exhibition" and a "Lap Exhibition".
In the start exhibition, racers jockey for an advantageous start position and perform practice starts. Since a boat will often start in a different position from its boat number, the start exhibition provides betters with useful information for predicting race outcomes.
The "lap exhibition" shows betters how racers handle corners and straight runs. It is similar to the paddock in horse racing.