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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

Sailing - RS:X - Windsurfer Men
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Sailing - RS:X - Windsurfer Men

(L-R) Silver medalist Nick Dempsey of Great Britain, gold medalist Dorian van Rijsselberghe of the Netherlands and bronze medalist Pierre le Coq of France celebrate on the podium following the Men's Sailing RS:X class medal race on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Marina da Gloria on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Sailing - Finn Men
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Sailing - Finn Men

Max Salminen of Sweden, Caleb Paine of the United States and Giles Scott of Great Britain compete in the Men's Finn medal class race on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Marina da Gloria on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Sailing - RS:X - Windsurfer Men
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Sailing - RS:X - Windsurfer Men

Pierre le Coq of France competes on his way to winning the bronze medal after finishing third overall in the Men's Sailing RS:X class on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Marina da Gloria on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Sailing - 470 Men
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Sailing - 470 Men

Men's Sailing 470 medal race on Day 13 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Marina da Gloria on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
IOC/Ian Jones
Sailing - 49er Men
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Sailing - 49er Men

(L-R) Silver medalists Nathan Outteridge of Australia and Iain Jensen of Australia, gold medalists Peter Burling of New Zealand and Blair Tuke of New Zealand, and bronze medalists Erik Heil of Germany and Tom Pelsmaekers of Belgium celebrate following the Men's Sailing 49er class race at the Marina da Gloria on Day 13 of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Sailing - 49er Women
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Sailing - 49er Women

Jena Hansen of Denmark and Katja Steen Salskov-Iversen of Denmark compete on their way to winning bronze in the Women's Sailing 49er FX class at the Marina da Gloria on Day 13 of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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