Today's intense competition in ocean racing is dominated, as in any sport by those who are fairly new at it. Many of the aspects of today's sport are also new. This paper is not a manual on how to do it, but will attempt to give perspective to the sport by tracing its growth, including design trends, rating and handicapping, effect of new materials, navigation, gear and above all the fierce competitive spirit that has emerged from one in which comfortable, well-found cruising yachts would have an occasional “go” at one another off-shore to one involving the flat-out, all-or-nothing yachts of today.

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