Need a Boat Break? Discover the World’s Most Incredible Boat Races

Need a Boat Break? Discover the World’s Most Incredible Boat Races

Ready, steady, race! To celebrate National Maritime Day this September 29th, we’re sailing around the world to destinations like London, Osaka, Maui and Rio to catch these incredible boat races.

Great River Race, London (September)

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Image by Andy Roberts via Flickr


Can you imagine over 300 boats all sailing up the River Thames, racing for the finish line? London’s Great River Race is one of the most famed and fun boat races in the world, attracting crews from all over Europe, as well as past spectators like Sting and Jerry Hall.

Sailing past sights like Tower Bridge and Westminster Bridge make this race worthwhile, even if you don’t win a trophy.



Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, Sydney/Hobart (December)

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Image by Jason Armstrong via Flickr


While some of us will be watching the Boxing Day Test match, others will be gawking at the glorious yachts in the Sydney to Hobart race. This iconic event has been going since 1945 and covers over 1,000 nautical miles.

Currently, the race record holder is Wild Oats XI, owned by the late winemaker, Bob Oatley.


Vic-Maui Yacht Race, Victoria/Hawaii (July)

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Image by KC via Flickr

Would you sail across the Pacific Ocean, from Victoria (Canada) to Maui (Hawaii) in a mere boat? Keen racers have been doing just that since 1965, where navigating winds and pressure zones are key challenges for crews.

In 2016, Valkyrie took out the record run and Line Honours (first boat to cross the finish line), while Kinetic V was the Overall Winner of the race.


Cape 2 Rio Yacht Race, Cape Town/Rio de Janeiro (January)

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Image by Pietro Ferreira via Flickr

The Cape 2 Rio event is the longest continent-to-continent boat race in the Southern Hemisphere. It starts in Cape Town and weaves a route through the Atlantic of around 3,600 nautical miles to a chosen destination in South America, most usually Rio.

The January 2017 race will mark exactly 46 years since the first race took off from Table Bay in 1971.


Tour de France à la Voile, France (July)

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Image by Olivier Duquesne via Flickr

Unlike other races, there are no handicaps in the Tour de France à la Voile. All boats are of the same type, and crews can participate in both Coastal Races and Stadium Races to gain points.

The 2016 race finished in Nice, with spectators from France, Europe and elsewhere flocking to watch the event.

Round the Island Race, Isle of Wight (June/July)

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Image by Kevin Walters via Flickr

Sponsored by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, the Round the Island Race might not be as long as some (it’s only 50 nautical miles), but it’s been around since 1931 and sees over 1,700 boats participating each year.

Crews sail right around the Isle of Wight, starting and ending at Cowes, and taking in sights like the Needles Lighthouse and St. Catherine’s Point.

Melbourne-Osaka Cup, Melbourne/Osaka (March)

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Image by angelap2009 via Flickr

The four-yearly race between these sister cities (Melbourne Down Under and Osaka in Japan) began in 1987 and is set to take place again in 2018, marking its 40th anniversary.

Boats will sail across the Bass Strait, up past the Australian east coast, through the Solomon Islands and up towards the coast of Japan.

What makes this race stand out, however (other than being a south-north race), is that it’s double handed – only two sailors per boat – and no stopovers are allowed.