Boat Polo?
June 20, 2005 2:14 PM   Subscribe

Last week as I was driving over the Charles River in Boston, MA I saw a group of small sailboats with numbers on the sails. They were all moving and changing direction very fast, and it seemed that there was an orange ball floating amongst them. Is this some sort of polo-like game? Anybody have any info on what the heck they were doing?
posted by splatta to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
Course marker buoys are sailed to so closely that from a distance it would appear that the boats were hitting them.
posted by 517 at 2:25 PM on June 20, 2005

Best answer: Sailboat racing. The numbers are to identfy the boats in their order of finish or any racing rules transgressions. The buoys mark the course, and the closer you can sail to them the shorter dstance you have to sail. There is inevitably a lot of jockying and near pile-ups at the buoys (or "marks"). The changing direction was probably jockeying for better (unimpeded) wind. Most likely you saw the pre-start, where there is an extremely dense pack of boats in a very confined space jockeying for the most advantageous starting positions.
posted by Rumple at 2:39 PM on June 20, 2005

You likely saw folks in a regatta from Community Boating (on the Esplanade) or from the B.U. Dinghy Sailors, Harvard Sailing Center, or MIT's Sailing Pavilion.
posted by ericb at 2:46 PM on June 20, 2005

Did it look something like this?
posted by Rumple at 2:47 PM on June 20, 2005

Best answer: They were circling within a small area, right? They're from MIT -- and they were running drills, not racing. That bridge is my favorite spot in Boston during the summertime, and I often watch them in the afternoons.
posted by cribcage at 4:11 PM on June 20, 2005

Goes to show how exposed the sport is in North America.

If they were all tightly circling the orange buoy, the training drill you've described sounds like "The Circle of Death" -- a popular mark rounding drill.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 5:09 PM on June 20, 2005

Being MIT, you were seeing the Tech or FJ Racing practice, or an actual club race.
posted by ericb at 5:16 PM on June 20, 2005

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