Sailing Trivia

By: Nautical Trivia, Sailing History, Sailing Races

Fun Facts about Sailing and Sailboats

So you are at a dinner party, and it comes time for some trivia. Are you prepared with some sailing facts that would stump the competition?  Are you intrigued by tidbits of information that might spark a conversation? Take a look at some sailing facts that might get you the win on trivia night. 

It’s a little-known fact…

What is the longest sailing race in the world?

The Volvo Ocean Race, now known as The Ocean Race, is one of the world’s longest and most challenging sailing races. Covering approximately 45,000 nautical miles, it circumnavigates the globe and takes over nine months to complete. 

Did you know: The Vendée Globe 

Known as the “Everest of the Seas,” the Vendée Globe is a solo, non-stop, and unassisted around-the-world yacht race. It covers a distance of approximately 28,000 nautical miles and starts and finishes in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France.

Could You Do It? The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 

This is a unique race where amateur sailors can join a fully equipped yacht and race around the world. The race is divided into several legs, and it takes nearly a year to complete the full circumnavigation.  Take a look at where the race is now.


The America’s Cup Trophy

Did you know that the oldest trophy in international sports belongs to sailing?

The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sports, first awarded in 1851. It is a prestigious sailing competition where teams from different countries compete for the honor of defending or challenging for the cup.

Other Oldest Trophies (not International):

The Carlisle Bells, is a horse racing trophy dating back to 1559. It is a horse racing trophy and this race in the United Kingdom has been run for over 400 years.  The oldest sports trophy in North America is the Stanley Cup, awarded annually to the National Hockey League playoff winner. It has been awarded since 1893.


Not all sailboats are slow.

The world record for the fastest sailing speed is held by the “Vestas Sailrocket 2,” reaching an impressive speed of 65.45 knots (around 75 mph or 121 km/h) in 2012. This high-performance craft was designed specifically for speed records.  Currently, a group of sailboat designers are in a race to see who tops this record with speeds above 80MPH.

What about the hydrofoils?

Americas Cup and Sail GP races have recently experienced a surge in hydrofoil racers. These vessels can get upwards of 50 knots. Their speed is limited by their technology and the process of cavitation. What? Yeah, read about the science of sailing very fast here.

Can a sailboat get you there faster?

In 2019, the multihull “Maserati Multi 70” set a new record for the fastest crossing from New York to the Lizard Point in the UK, completing the journey in just 4 days, 11 hours, 10 minutes, and 23 seconds. Since then, it has continued to set records in sailing races around the world. The technology behind this multihull is fascinating.  Check out the facts here.


Who is the fastest sailor in the world?

He is a sailor named François Gabart. He holds the record for fastest round-the-world sail both solo and on a crewed vessel. His record of 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds. In 2005, Dame Ellen MacArthur set a world record in 2005 by becoming the fastest person to sail solo around the world. She completed the journey in just 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes, and 33 seconds. In less than 15 years, the record has been slashed by 30 days.  Follow his journey on Instagram.

Who did it first?

Joshua Slocum, a Canadian seaman, completed the first recorded solo circumnavigation of the globe in 1898 aboard his sloop “Spray.” His journey took three years to complete, and he wrote Sailing Around The World, where he described his circumnavigating adventure. He eventually was declared dead in 1919 after disappearing with his boat somewhere between Miami and the Caribbean.


Sailing yacht A
Sailing Yacht A

How big is the biggest yacht?

The “Sailing Yacht A,” is currently the world’s largest sailing yacht. This massive vessel measures around 468 feet (142.81 meters) in length.  However, “Koru” owned by Billionaire Jeff Bezos often makes the claim that it is the largest sailing vessel at 127 meters. Sailing Yacht A is currently seized due to EU sanctions against its owners.

Check out a few more super yachts.

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