Sailing involves a number of different classes of boat, as well as different courses and a system for scoring points according to your finish.Find out which classes are involved, how the course works, how points are scored and what changes for the medal race.
For each day's competition, the race committee marks out courses using buoys, depending on wind direction and strength. Boats cannot sail directly into the wind, so each crew must zig-zag to reach the first buoy. On the downwind legs, the 470s, Ynglings, 49ers and Tornados will fly their spinnakers - additional sails used to boost speed.
In the medal race, points count double - so finishing first earns two points, second four, third six, and so on. Most courses must be rounded three or four times before crews can head for the finishing line. Usually, only the top 10 boats from the rest of the series are allowed to compete in the medal race.


Windsurfers have the shortest races, lasting up to 30 minutes, while keelboats can expect races to last up to 75 minutes. If overall points are tied between boats following the medal race, the boat which scored the fewest points in the medal race takes priority in the standings. Both the 470s and 49ers have an additional sail used for the downwind leg, called a spinnaker. Once five races have been completed, each crew discards its worst performance from their overall score. The Laser Radial is similar to the Laser, but uses a smaller sail and a more flexible lower mast. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. These boats have a fin fixed below the hull - otherwise known as the keel - while the Yngling boat also has a spinnaker.


Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so. These are twin-hulled boats with a centreboard and a rudder on each hull, a two-sail rig and a mainsail. Introduced for the 2008 Olympics as a replacement for the Mistral, the RS:X has a larger sail than its predecessor but is shorter and wider, as well as heavier to manoeuvre.



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