- Finn — The
Finn uses a centerboard dinghy and a one-man
crew. Boats are assigned at random, but the
helmsman provides his own sail and mast.
- Tornado—The Tornado is a two-man
catamaran, the fastest of all Olympic classes.
Contributing to its speed is the large sail
area and low weight.
- 470 — The 470 is a two-man fiberglass
craft that is 15.4 feet (470 cm) long.
Like the Flying Dutchman, it uses a centerboard
dinghy and a trapeze.
- 49er — The 49er is the newest
class to race in the Olympics, having made
its debut in the 2000 Sydney Games. The 49er
has a two-man crew and is known for its speed.
- Laser — The Laser is a fast,
lightweight, one-person sailboat. The Laser
debuted at the 1996 Atlanta games and is an
open class, allowing both men and women to
- Mistral — The Mistral replaced
the Lechner Division II Sailboard after the
1996 Atlanta games. These sailboards are made
of fiberglass, measure 12 feet 2 inches long,
weigh 34.2 pounds, and have a sail area of
79.6 square feet.
- Soling — The Soling is a keelboat
and is the longest and heaviest of the classes.
It is the only three-handed sailboat in
- Star — The Star class is a long, shallow
boat with an enormous 285-square-foot (26.5
sq m) sail area. It’s tough to sail
in heavy seas and requires its crew to be
strong and fit.
- Europe — The Europe is the only
single-handed women’s Olympic boat
and is considered very difficult to handle.
The boat is adjustable to the sailor’s
height, weight, and experience.
Each sailing event is a series of races, called a regatta. There are some exclusively
for men, some for women, and some open to both. The boats race either a windward
return, a race starting into the wind and then returning to the start with
the wind, or the trapezoidal course, which is a four-leg course starting
and finishing in different places.
and Fast Facts
General Sports Links
Olympians will compete in dozens of sports this summer. Even though Gateway
to the Summer Games can't feature them all, you can learn about each and
every one by visiting the sites listed below.