SG (Special Grade)

  • SG BOAT RACE Classic

    40 million yen

    Only those racers who are expected to deliver results are allowed to compete in BOAT RACE Classic.

    The race was held for the first time at BOAT RACE Omura in Omura City, Nagasaki Prefecture, on April 6, 1952.
    The SG races include the five major races, called GRANDE5, which are historic top-tier events among the SG category races. It was in 1966 that the first SG race took place.
    BOAT RACE Classic, the first SG race of the year, has always received attention as it serves as a barometer for the prospects of the grade races in the coming one-year period. But this race has another aspect to it.
    Only “clutch” racers are allowed entry. The competition decides who is the best racer.

    Qualifications for entry are as follows.
    ・Winner of the previous year’s BOAT RACE Classic
    ・Finalists of the previous year’s Grand Prix (6 racers)
    ・Winners of the previous year’s SG, G1, and G2 races
    ・Racers who won the most races of G3 and lower grades in the previous year

    The right to compete in this race is granted only to those who have delivered results by winning races. Competition is growing more fierce every year.

    The winner of the race, a bona fide victor, is awarded 40 million yen in prize money.

  • SG BOAT RACE All Star

    40 million yen

    “What’s special about BOAT RACE All Star?”

    The racers who compete in the race are chosen by fan votes.

    BOAT RACE stadiums are located at 24 places across the nation. Races are held on 180 to 200 days a year at each stadium.
    Each BOAT RACE stadium hosts 12 races a day. A total of 54,800 races take place annually at the 24 BOAT RACE stadiums.
    There are about 1,600 racers. Of these racers, about 240 are women, who actively demonstrate their individuality.
    Boat racers are classified into A1, A2, B1, and B2 according to their race results. There are rules in place that determine what kinds of and how many races the racers are allowed to compete in.

    BOAT RACE All Star, which is one of the five major races, called GRANDE5, is particularly special in the top-tier SG category races.
    The reason is that the race is attended by star racers chosen by fans.
    Fans vote for a racer for a variety of reasons, such as because the racer is strong, cool, good-looking, conspicuous, or funny or because the racer is their favorite or needs a career boost. Only those A1 racers loved by fans can compete in the race.

    While there are special slots reserved for the winner of the last race and others, the selection criterion is, in principle, whether the A1 racers rank as top contenders chosen by fan votes.

    The race is a big event not just for the racers but for the fans as well because they all get the chance to live in the world of victory and defeat.
    A total of 52 male and female racers can participate in the race.
    Enjoy the race attended by popular racers!

  • SG Grand Championship

    34 million yen

    Most prestigious SG race in the SG race category.

    BOAT RACE stadiums are located at 24 places across the nation. Races are held on 180 to 200 days a year at each stadium.
    Each BOAT RACE stadium hosts 12 races a day. A total of 54,800 races take place annually at the 24 BOAT RACE stadiums.
    A total of eight SG (Special Grade) races are held annually (nine races if the Grand Prix series is included).

    Grand Championship is at the top of the SG races. It is considered the most prestigious SG race in the SG race category. The reason for this is the unique qualifications for entry.
    Those who are allowed to compete in the race are limited to the winner of the previous year’s Grand Championship race (defending champion), the finalists of the previous year’s Grand Prix, the winner of BOAT RACE All Star of the current year, the finalists of the SG races who crossed the finish line in the past one-year period (from April of the previous year through March of the current year), and the racers who earned the most points in the SG qualifying races. Naturally, racers who have never participated in an SG race before are not allowed entry. The race is open only to experienced racers who have competed in big racing events.

    As its name suggests, the Grand Championship series decides who is the true champion. The event is held in June every year.
    The first Grand Championship race took place in 1991. It is fun to think about who will get the prize money of 34 million yen in the coming years.

  • SG Ocean Cup

    34 million yen

    Race for enjoying the summer.

    The first Ocean Cup race took place at BOAT RACE Suminoe in July 1996 to mark the national holiday “Marine Day.”
    Since then, it has been held in July every year.

    Halfway point of the year
    A total of eight SG races are held annually (nine races if the Grand Prix series is included). In addition, there are roughly 38 G1 races and about 9 G2 races.
    The G1 and G2 races are the core of memorial races.
    Races are divided into five categories. SG (Special Grade) is the top category, followed by G1, G2, G3, and general races. Generally, the G2, G1, and SG races are referred to as “memorial races.”

    The Ocean Cup, which is held in July, marks the halfway point of the SG competition schedule that features a total of eight races annually.

    Entry qualifications
    ①Special slots are reserved for the defending champion, finalists of the previous year’s Grand Prix, etc.
    ②In principle, the race is open to the finalists of the G1 and G2 races held from May of the previous year through April of the current year who earned the most points in those races.
    A racer is given points according to his or her order of finish in a race. The right to participate in the race is given to racers with the highest point totals.

    In the Ocean Cup series, an event created for enjoying the summer, racers vie for the prize money of 34 million yen, making the race a hot competition as its purpose indicates.

  • SG BOAT RACE Memorial

    40 million yen

    “Why you cannot miss BOAT RACE Memorial”

    The race is a hot event in which strong racers compete to live up to the expectations of local fans.

    BOAT RACE stadiums are located at 24 places across the nation. Races are held on 180 to 200 days a year at each stadium.
    Each BOAT RACE stadium hosts 12 races a day. A total of 54,800 races take place annually at the 24 BOAT RACE stadiums.
    There are about 1,600 racers. Of these racers, about 240 are women, who actively demonstrate their individuality.
    Boat racers are classified into A1, A2, B1, and B2 according to their race results. There are rules in place that determine what kinds of and how many races the racers are allowed to compete in.

    BOAT RACE Memorial, a traditional race that has continued since 1955, is held in August every year.
    This “mid-summer festival” is one of the five major races, called GRANDE5, which are historic top-tier events among the SG category races.

    Only the A1 racers recommended by individual BOAT RACE stadiums can participate in the race. Each of the 23 stadiums other than the one hosting the race selects 2 racers.
    A total of 52 contenders participate, including the winner of the previous year’s race as well as racers designated by the stadium hosting the race.
    Each participant represents their BOAT RACE stadium and, needless to say, they are fully committed to living up to the expectations of local fans.

    Of course, all the racers compete for the prize money of 40 million yen. More than that, though, they compete for the honor of winning this prestigious race with gratitude for being chosen to be part of the event.
    Top racers splash through water on a mid-summer day in Japan. You just can’t miss this race!

  • SG BOAT RACE Derby

    40 million yen

    Oldest traditional SG race. BOAT RACE Derby.

    It was on April 6, 1952, that a BOAT RACE was held for the first time. The venue was the BOAT RACE Omura stadium in Omura City, Nagasaki Prefecture.
    The oldest SG race in the long history of boat racing is BOAT RACE Derby. The first BOAT RACE Derby took place at BOAT RACE Wakamatsu in November 1953. The race had started before the time when the categorization of races into SG, G1, G2, G3, and general races did not even begin. BOAT RACE Derby is now a competition of the highest SG (Special Grade) category and one of the five major races, called GRANDE5, which are historic top-tier events among the SG category races.

    [Entry qualifications]
    The point is that racers are not allowed to compete in the race unless they keep achieving good results constantly.
    Details
    1. The winning rate must stay in the top places throughout the year (from August of the previous year through July of the current year).
    * A racer is given points according to his or her order of finish in a race. The winning rate is calculated by dividing the racer’s total points by the number of races in which he or she participated.
    2. Winner of the previous year’s race or person with other qualifications

    Since just getting to participate in BOAT RACE Derby is a tough challenge in itself, winning the race is of immeasurable value for any boat racer. The prize money of 40 million yen awarded to the winner, as well as the royal blue jacket, are the symbol of this honor.

  • SG Challenge Cup

    34 million yen

    Challenge Cup began in November 1998.

    This SG race is attended by the racers chosen from among those who finished higher on the money list from January 1 through October 31 of the year.

    Final qualifying race for the Grand Prix
    This event is the last chance to qualify for the SG Grand Prix in December.
    The prize money of the race is 34 million yen, which is enough to bring a huge change in the prize money standings.
    The hotly contested race is known for producing dramatic developments.
    ・Eizo Tsuji won in the Tamagawa series in 2021 and soared to 8th place from 29th place in the prize money standings, which allowed him to compete in the Grand Prix.

    The race was attended by 52 racers in the past. Currently, however, 34 racers participate as the event is co-located with Ladies Challenge Cup.
    The additional prize money of 34 million yen makes for a compelling drama.

  • SG The Grand Prix

    110 million yen

    A bunch of top boat racers compete for the prize money of 110 million yen in a year-end race. That’s SG The Grand Prix.

    Winning this race requires both luck and skill.
    One of the five major races, called GRANDE5, which are historic top-tier events among the SG category races, SG The Grand Prix is a “showdown at the summit.” The race is held in December, and only the 18 top money winners of the year are allowed entry.
    Of these racers, 6 are seeded and exempt from the qualifying first trial race.
    Participants in 7th to 18th places need to get through this trial race.
    In the first match of the trial race, the racers who finished higher on the money list are assigned to more advantageous courses. In the subsequent matches, however, the courses are assigned by lottery.

    Without luck and skill, it is impossible to reach to the top of the boat racing world.

    In a BOAT RACE, competitors run 3 laps around an oval course on water.
    The boat races at approximately 80 kilometers per hour. It takes 1 minute and 50 seconds or so for the boat to travel from the starting line to the finish line.
    In the Grand Prix race, competitors vie as if they bet everything on this span of time that is less than 2 minutes long.
    Everything - the past, future, fans, family, skill, luck, process, and results.

    Boat racers can be evaluated by many different criteria, such as the number of titles, the number of races in which they finished first, and the winning rate. But the prize money earned is the most suitable measure of how great a boat racer is as a professional.

    The origin of the race dates back to 1986. There has been a fiercely contested competition every year since then, turning the race into a legendary event.

    Competitors put everything into the race. That makes the Grand Prix race what it is.

About SG
SG stands for Special Grade, which is the highest race grade.
Races are divided into five categories. SG (Special Grade) is the top category, followed by G1, G2, G3, and general races.
The highest amounts of prize money are paid in the SG category races.