Introduction to sailing
Beginner's guide to sailing
If you are interesting in taking to the water, check out our quick introudction to sailing. Sailing uses of combination of technique, strategy, technology, strength and skill, making it one of the most challenging Olympic disciplines to master.
Even if you are not setting your sights on competition, sailing is a sport to be taken seriously, even if just participating for leisure. The water is clearly no place to take risks with your safety, so anyone taking a craft out needs to have had proper instruction and be competent on the water.
Sailing in the Olympics
For many people, their first introduction to sailing comes from watching it at the Olympics. Sailing, or yachting to be more precise, first appeared at the Olympic Games in 1900, making it one of the oldest sports on the Olympic programme, where it has been ever present since it’s re-introduction in 1908. The sport’s name changed from ‘yachting’ to ‘sailing’ at the Sydney Games in 2000.
Over the years the classes of boats used in competition have varied and have changed with technological advances in the sport. Women have always been allowed to compete in sailing with men, but in 1988, separate sailing events were introduced exclusively for women. Windsurfing was also introduced as a sailing event at Los Angeles in 1984 and has been included ever since.
The sport of sailing as it stands for the Olympic Games includes Windsurfing, Dinghy, Keelboat and Match racing. From these there will be 10 different classes competed in for 2012, with separate events for men and women. The classes are as follows:
- RS:X – Men's Windsurfer/sailboard
- Laser class – Men's One Person Dinghy
- 470 class – Men's Two Person Dinghy
- Star class – Men's Keelboat
- RS:X – Women’sWindsurfer/sailboard
- Laser Radial class – Women’s One Person Dinghy
- 470 class – Women’s Two Person Dinghy
- Keelboat – Women’s Match Racing
- Finn class – Heavyweight Dinghy Mixed
- 49er class – Skiff Mixed
There are of course other class of craft outside of those which are used in the Olympics in which you can get involved in sailing, so don’t discount those. Sailing craft evolve over time meaning that the sport itself evolves all the time too.