Olympic Sailing Format 

How does Olympic Classes sailing work?

Race series:
For the Olympic classes a regatta consists of a ten race series (15 for the 49er class), where all boats take to the same startline.  Sailors discard their one worst race result (only counting nine races; 14 for the 49er class) and after the initial ten (15) races, the top ten boats in each class move on to a final required and non-discardable 'medal race'.  This counts as double points which are added to their standing score. The sailor with the lowest overall score will win the event.

The Paralympic classes typically sail a straight 11-race series, discarding their one worst score.  There is no double-points medal race in the Paralympic events.

Each class will complete several laps on a course designed for its own specific type of racing. Course length and shape varies according to the type of boat racing and the wind speed.

In sailing, races begin with a rolling start. The start line is set between a committee boat, from which officials run the racing and a buoy. Starting lines vary in length according to how many boats are competing in the event. Sailors aim to cross the line immediately following the starting gun. During competition sailors have two main objectives, to get a good start and to sail as fast as possible. By getting a good start sailors are able to take advantage of the changing weather and of their competitors position on the course. Unlike other sports, sailors can start anywhere on the line which means sailors continually jostle for the best position determined by the course, the wind direction and the fleet this leads to very intense moments during the timed countdown to the start.

Explanation of the starting signals:
If a sailor has a premature start, the race officer will sound another signal and raise the X flag. This informs the fleet that somebody was over the start line early and indicates that sailors over the line early must turn back and cross the start line again.

Race winning:
The winner of an individual race is the first boat to sail the course and cross over the finish line that is between the committee boat and a buoy. The winner of a racing event or regatta is the boat with the lowest points.

If a competitor believes a fellow sailor has broken the rules the helm will instantly call protest to signal that the sailor believes a rule infringement has been made.


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