Sign In or Sign Up



Most people relate sailing to rich people traveling in their yachts across countries and continents. However, sailing is a serious sport that includes different crafts, and there are fleet competitions in the sport. Competitions are held in closed waters and open seas to measure the skills of sailors in various capacities. Most of the competitions are held in buoys because the open seas are unpredictable.

Awards are given according to the best boa crew performance as well as individual sailor awards. The nature of the sport demands strict racing rules, especially for races that involve multiple vessels. Sailing is a diverse sport with different disciplines that require unique sailing skills for a crew or individual to win a race.

The sailing sport includes navigating water vessels through a course or to a target location within a certain period. Although sailing started as a mode of transportation, a sport that seamen used to measure their skill was later.

The highest governing body for the sailing sport is World Sailing, and it is responsible for organizing international competitions. The body liaises with the International Olympic Committee during the organization of sailing for the Olympic Games. The governing body was founded as International Yacht Racing Union in 190. The name changed to International Sailing Federation in 2014.

Country-specific federations and Yacht Clubs govern national sailing sports. Yacht Clubs have racing teams who train for both junior and senior categories. It is common for Yacht Clubs to collaborate and create local competitions to test their sailors' skills for practice before international events.

History of Sailing

Sport sailing was first seen in Holland and later in England during the 17th century. The immigrants from Europe to the American colonies spread the sport in America, becoming a popular recreational activity. In Cork, Ireland, 1720, the first sailing club was founded, while the first one in the United States was in New York in 1844.

The New York Yacht Club held an international competition in 1851 against British sailors, and the American sailors won. The sailing competition was named America's Cup, and it is still held to this day. The competitions became a staple sport, and America won the Cup between 1851 and 1983 until Australia won.

Technological advancement in boat and yacht designs brought on espionage and sabotage in the 90s and 2000s. Lawsuits were common in sailing sports as crews used new designs to gain a competitive advantage against other contestants. However, new rules and regulations set up clear guidelines on the boats and yachts for each category.

Sailboat racing has been a part of the Olympic Games since 1900, and sailors compete in nine classes in the games. Modern competition classes allow people from different backgrounds to join sailing sports. The sport has significantly evolved from what used to be a sport for the wealthy to an international sport.

Types of sport Sailing

There are several types of sport sailing that the International Sailing Federation recognizes competitors practice and. There are other types of sport sailing that are casual and more of local sport sailing activities.

Match Racing

It is the basic form of sport sailing involving two boats competing against each other. The objective of the race is to reach the finish line first to earn points. Sailors use several tactics to ensure that they maintain a lead in the lead and win. Overall, the match isn't about going at the highest speed possible but reaching the finish line first. Match racing competitions are popular in America's Cup as international sailors measure their skills against each other.

Team Racing

Team racing includes teams that race using three boats on each team. The aim of the competitions is for team members to earn points. While reaching the finish line first is part of the competition, judges also look at the skills and techniques that sailors show. Most teams create combinations that they implement during the competition to earn a point from judges. The team with the best combinations is likely to win even if they don’t reach the finish line first.

Fleet Racing

As the name suggests, the race includes a fleet of four or more boats in a single race. Each regatta must have at least three races under its belt. Sometimes fleet racing includes hundreds of boats in the competition. Each boat in the fleet will get a place and a score. Cumulative scores for boats in a fleet determine the winner of fleet races.

Speed Racing

The World Speed Sailing Record Council is the governing body for speed racing. It involves boats racing at high speeds using vessels that are designed for speeds. It is a risky sport and requires skills for navigating water bodies at high speeds.

Other Sailing Sports

Many sport sailing forms use wind-powered vessels like kite surfing, dinghy racing, and windsurfing. Some competitions like kite surfing are part of water board games while windsurfing is under sport sailing and is part of Olympics' classes. You can find local clubs that offer training for the uncategorized forms of sailing sports.

Sailing in the Olympics

Sailing in the Olympic Games has evolved from big boats to small vessels controlled by one or two people. Sailors compete in Olympic qualifies to determine which boats will compete in the Olympic Games.

One of the fascinating about the scoring system is that the boat with the least scores wins the competition. The system awards one point to the first boat, two points to the second boat, and so forth. The games' winner may have ten points or less as accumulated throughout various stages of the sailing sports categories.

Each competition starts with many boats, and eliminations happen as the sport progress until the top teams compete for the op sport. The matches for each level may vary and have different objectives for the boats to win first place.

Olympic Classes

Like any other sport in the Olympic Games, sports sailing has seen an evolution in the categories. Some categories have been part of sport sailing since 1900, but other categories have been removed due to boat designs' evolution. Olympic Classes are divided into categories for men, women, and mixed teams. Each category has medals for the first three positions. Currently, there are ten classes for sport sailors for the Olympic Games. Below is a list of the current classes.


  • 470 – Two person dinghy

  • 49er – Skiff

  • Finn – One person dinghy for heavyweights

  • Laser – One person dinghy men

  • R.S. :X – Windsurfer


  • 470 – Two person dinghy

  • 49er F.X. Women

  • Laser Radical – One person dinghy

  • R.S. :X – Windsurfer


  • Nacra 17 Foiling Mixed

Other sports
Leave a comment