Several types of boats are used for boat racing. From human-powered crafts to the fastest yachts, there are vessels of many sizes involved in the sport of boat racing.
Dragon boats are one example of the types of boats used for boat racing. They have a long, narrow shape and need a multi-person crew to paddle them. Between 20 and 50 people are needed to race a dragon boat. A drum is generally used to help the crew members time their strokes so that they are working in unison. The drummer is an important part of the crew, since this person sets the pace the paddlers will use. In competition, a dragon boat is adorned with a colorful dragon's head and tail.
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Outrigger canoes are also used for racing. This form of boat racing originated in Polynesia, and is now popular with fans around the world. Some canoes seat three or four people, and other models can accommodate larger crews. For this type of boat used for boat racing, the paddlers sit in a single row facing forward. The person sitting at the front of the line is known as the "stroke," and they are responsible for setting the pace for all the paddlers on the outrigger canoe.
Jet sprint boats are also used for racing. These speed boats usually carry two people at a time. Instead of being powered by propellers, they use water jet propulsion to move through the water. This means of locomotion works by drawing water up from underneath the boat into a pump-jet inside the vessel. The water passes through and is expelled through a nozzle located at the back of the jet sprint boat. This type of racing is conducted on a course made up of interconnected channels that are between 10 and 15 feet wide, in shallow water.
Hydroplanes are other types of boats used for boat racing. This is a very popular spectator sport that takes place on lakes and rivers using a specialized motor boat. It is designed so that when the boat is traveling at full speed, it is held up by "planing," and only a small portion of the hull touches the water. When a boat is planing, it is moving quickly enough that it skims across the surface of the water instead of pushing through it like slower-moving vessels do.
Yacht racing is another popular sport that may come to mind when you think about the types of boats used for boat racing. Sailboats of many sizes are used for yacht racing, including keelboats, with a beam around which the hull of the boat is built; small racing dinghies; and catamarans, which are boats with tow hulls joined).
Some forms of yacht racing are conducted in protected water with the participants navigating around buoys or markers, while other races take place in open water. Larger yachts are used for offshore races that may take place over a few hours or over several months, such as ones where participants plan to circumnavigate the world.