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Sailing


Sailing is the art of moving a boat by harnessing the power of wind. Mastery over ever-changing conditions requires both great skill and experience.

America’s Cup

International yacht racing began in 1851 when a syndicate of members of the New York Yacht Club built a 101-foot schooner named America. The yacht was sailed to England where it won a trophy called the Hundred Guineas Cup in a race around the Isle of Wight. The trophy was renamed The America's Cup and remained in the hands of the United States until 1983, when an Australian yacht finally brought to an end the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year winning streak.

Evolving design

Sailing was first contested as an Olympic sport at the 1900 Paris Games. Since then, the classes of boats allowed to compete have continually evolved to reflect advances in yacht design and technology. Equipment advances over the past 20 years have created a trend towards smaller and lighter craft, placing ever greater demands on both the athletic and technical capacities of the sailors.

Class rules

The sport is organised under a single set of rules for racing published by World Sailing. Olympic racing is now conducted with boats categorised into one-design classes based on similar weights and measurements.

Fleet racing and match racing

Races are sailed in what is known as a fleet racing format: fleets of equally-matched boats racing around the same course area at the same time. Courses are designed to incorporate a variety of different sailing angles: upwind, downwind and reaching.

There are two new additions for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The 49erFX skiff has been introduced for women’s sailors and a mixed multihull for male and female sailors to compete side by side.

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Gallery

Buenos Aires 2018 - Sailing - Women’s Windsurfer - Techno 293+
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Sailing - Women’s Windsurfer - Techno 293+

Giorgia Speciale of Italia in action during the Sailing Women's Windsurfer Techno 293+ on Day 6 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at Club Náutico San Isidro on October 12, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Sailing - Men’s Windsurfer - Techno 293+
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Sailing - Men’s Windsurfer - Techno 293+

Alexandros Kalpogiannakis of Germany shakes hands with Finn Hawkins of Great Britain after the Sailing Men’s Windsurfer - Techno 293+ on Day 6 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at Club Náutico San Isidro on October 12, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Sailing - Men’s Windsurfer - Techno 293+
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Sailing - Men’s Windsurfer - Techno 293+

Alexandros Kalpogiannakis of Germany and Tom Garandeau of France in action during the Sailing Men’s Windsurfer - Techno 293+ on Day 6 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at Club Náutico San Isidro on October 12, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Sailing - Men’s Windsurfer - Techno 293+
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Sailing - Men’s Windsurfer - Techno 293+

Nicolo Renna of Italia in action during the Sailing Men’s Windsurfer - Techno 293+ on Day 6 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at Club Náutico San Isidro on October 12, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Sailing - 470 Women
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Sailing - 470 Women

The Women's Sailing 470 class medal race gets underway at the Marina da Gloria on Day 13 of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Sailing - Nacra 17 Mixed
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Sailing - Nacra 17 Mixed

Santiago Lange of Argentina and Cecilia Carranza Saroli of Argentina compete on their way to winning the gold medal in the Nacra 17 Mixed class on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Marina da Gloria on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
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