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A new world

Sailing

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Sailing was supposed to make its Olympic debut at Athens 1896, but due to bad weather it was postponed until Paris 1900. Now one of the most celebrated Olympic sports, in Rio there will be five men’s, four women’s and one mixed event on Guanabara Bay.
Spectator's Guide - Sailing
  • Sailing

Countries

Athletes

Events

66 380 10

Schedule & Results

Schedule & Results

Sailing

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August21
Date Event Status

About

About

Aim of the game

Powered only by the wind, athletes must sail their boats around a course marked out by buoys

Why should you watch this?

Thrilling races full of skill and daring will be played out against a beautiful backdrop on Guanabara Bay

International Federation

Olympic debut

Athens 1896

Rules
  • Halyards

    Halyards

    Ropes used to hoist the sails

  • Knot

    Knot

    Unit of speed corresponding to one nautical mile per hour

  • Windward

    Windward

    Direction from which the wind is blowing

Impress your friends

  • Sailing was on the Olympic programme for Athens 1896, but was cancelled due to bad weather, so the boats did not compete until four years later in Paris

    Sailing was on the Olympic programme for Athens 1896, but was cancelled due to bad weather, so the boats did not compete until four years later in Paris

  • Women have been Olympic crew-members since the London 1908 Games and women-only events first featured in the Seoul 1988 Games

    Women have been Olympic crew-members since the London 1908 Games and women-only events first featured in the Seoul 1988 Games

  • Founded in 1720, the Royal Cork Yacht Club (Ireland) is the oldest sailing club in the world

    Founded in 1720, the Royal Cork Yacht Club (Ireland) is the oldest sailing club in the world

  • Cuban father-and-son duo Carlos de Cárdenas (44) and Carlos de Cárdenas Junior (16) won the Star class silver medal at the London 1948 Olympic Games

    Cuban father-and-son duo Carlos de Cárdenas (44) and Carlos de Cárdenas Junior (16) won the Star class silver medal at the London 1948 Olympic Games

  • At the London 2012 Games, Cypriot Pavlos Kontides won his country's first Olympic medal in any sport by taking silver in the Laser class

    At the London 2012 Games, Cypriot Pavlos Kontides won his country's first Olympic medal in any sport by taking silver in the Laser class

  • Britain's Ben Ainslie and Brazilian duo Robert Scheidt and Torben Grael have the most Olympic medals – five each

    Britain's Ben Ainslie and Brazilian duo Robert Scheidt and Torben Grael have the most Olympic medals – five each

  • With a gold, a silver and two bronzes, Italy’s Alessandra Sensini is the most decorated female Olympic sailor of all time

    With a gold, a silver and two bronzes, Italy’s Alessandra Sensini is the most decorated female Olympic sailor of all time

  • King Charles II of England was a great sailing enthusiast, even converting a jachtschip, a Dutch merchant vessel, into a competition boat

    King Charles II of England was a great sailing enthusiast, even converting a jachtschip, a Dutch merchant vessel, into a competition boat

  • A total of 49 different sailing classes have featured in the Olympic programme at one time or another, including vessels of up to 20 metric tons

    A total of 49 different sailing classes have featured in the Olympic programme at one time or another, including vessels of up to 20 metric tons

  • In racing, there are specific rules for overtaking, such as which side you may pass, all depending on the direction of the wind relative to the boats

    In racing, there are specific rules for overtaking, such as which side you may pass, all depending on the direction of the wind relative to the boats

Scoring

Competitions consist of a series of races with sailors winning points based on their finishing positions – the first boat gets one point, the second boat gets two points, and so on – the top 10 compete in a final with the winner being the competitor with the lowest points total.

In each event, sailors compete in identical boats – meaning the outcome is dependent on the sailors’ talent and how they adapt to the conditions.

Course

Two official boats take up parallel positions, forming an imaginary line from where the race begins. The course is defined by a series of buoys around which the boats must sail – the Race Management Team determines how many laps (2-4) the sailors must complete. In a sport fuelled purely by the wind, competitors must adapt to the climatic and sailing conditions if they are to succeed.

Men’s classes

Laser

  • Single-hull, single-sail, one-man boat

  • 4.23m long and weighing 59kg

  • First in Olympics at Atlanta 1996

Finn

  • Single-hull, single-sail, one-man boat

  • 4.5m long and weighing 130kg

  • In the Olympics since Helsinki 1952

470

  • Single-hull, triple-sail, two-man boat

  • 4.70m long and weighing 120kg

  • First in Olympics at Montreal 1976

49er

  • Single-hull, triple-sail, two-man boat with two wings

  • 4.99m long and weighing 94kg

  • First in Olympics at Sydney 2000

RS: X

  • Single-sail, one-man surfboard

  • 2.88m long and weighing 30kg

  • First in Olympics at Beijing 2008

Women’s classes

Laser Radial

  • Single-hull, single-sail, one-person boat

  • 4.23m long and weighing 59kg

  • First featured in Olympic Games at Beijing 2008

470

  • Single-hull, triple-sail, two-person boat

  • 4.70m long and weighing 120kg

  • First featured in Olympic Games at Montreal 1976

49er FX

  • Single-hull, triple-sail, two-person boat with two wings

  • 4.99m long and weighing 94kg

  • Makes its Olympic debut at Rio 2016

RS: X

  • Single-sail, one-person surfboard

  • 2.88m long and weighing 30kg

  • First featured in Olympic Games at Beijing 2008

Mixed classes

Nacra 17

  • Double-hull, triple-sail, two-person catamaran

  • 5.25m long and weighing 135kg

  • Makes its Olympic debut at Rio 2016

Climatic conditions

In a sport fuelled purely by the wind, competitors must adapt to the climatic and sailing conditions if they are to succeed.

Athletes

Athletes & Teams

Gender

Gender
Woman 43
Men 57
Women
Men

Age Range

Age Range
Under 15 0
16 - 20 7
21 - 25 30
26 - 30 38
31 - 40 24
Over 40 1
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