The six attending boats to the race leave from the pit all at once. It is called "pit-out" in the Japanese boat racing scene.
Once they are out of the pit, all the racers must get ready for the start between the time of leaving the pit and the time of passing the start line. It is called the "Wait Action", Taiki Kohdoh in Japanese. Running straight from the pit, the boats are to round counterclockwise at the 2nd marker and the cheat-prevent bouy, positioning themselves by using various tactics to obtain the most favorable position at the moment of the race start.
A giant clock counts to start the race. Once all the start positions are set, the six racers lead off speeding up, and prepare their boats to start. No racer may cross the start line until it strikes "12:00" and then every racer must cross the start line within the next second. The racers use various tactics to ensure that they cross the start line within this 1-second window of time while positioning themselves for best advantage over their opponents. If a boat crosses the start line before the clock strikes 12:00, this is called a "flying start" (F), meaning a premature start. If a boat crossed the start line more than 1 second after the clock strikes 12:00, then this is judged a "late start" (L). In the case of either a flying start or late start, the boat is scratched from the race.
*All the tickets of the scratched boats are to be refunded.
The pleasure of the BOAT RACE is watching the offensive and defensive battles at the first marker of the first lap. Each boat tactically competes to reach and round the very first marker first. The outcome of the battles at the first marker of the first lap is the most important key element to influence the victory of the race.
In boat racing it is disadvantageous to run over another boats' backwash. However even after the turn at the second marker of the first lap, you will find a lot of exciting racing competion to win the 2nd or 3rd places. Sometime even the reversal of the 1st place can occur. When there is close competition in an exciting race, you never know who wins until the race is completely over.
After the turn at the 2nd marker of the 3rd lap, the boats have only to pass the goal line to finish the race. The finish line is the same as the start line.