Sailing at the London 2012 Olympics
The sailing event at the London Olympics is being held from the 29 July until 11 August, at Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour. It was the first London 2012 Games venue to be finished. The sailing event involves the competitors aiming to finish the courses in the shortest time using the wind to propel them over the water.
There are ten boat types in three different types of races in the sailing events
• Match racing: one on one
• Fleet racing: mass start and
There are 380 athletes taking part with the amount of crew in the sailing events varying from one up to three. The Laser, Laser Radial, Finn and RS-X classes all have one whilst the 470, 49er and Star have two sailors and the ladies match racing has three crew members. The 2012 Games will be the first time the women's match racing has been part of the Games.
The sailors competing in the event will take part in 10 races, 15 for the 49er, and points are given based on where you finish the race. First place will be awarded one point, second two, and so on. At the end of the races your worst score can be discarded and the ten boats with the lowest scores will qualify to race in the medal race. In the medal race points are doubled and added to the scores already accumulated to decide the top 10 positions.
The match racing events are arguably the most exciting to watch as the first one across the line wins that match. Sailors race each other and the top teams will move into the final knockout stages.
There are 10 gold medals up for grabs in the sailing events:
1. Men’s finn
2. Women’s Elliott 6m
3. Men’s star
4. Men’s 49er
5. Men’s laser
6. Women’s laser radial
7. Men’s RS:X
8. Women’s RS:X
9. Men’s 470
10. Women’s 470
Weymouth and Portland has been chosen as the sailing location for the games because it provides excellent natural sailing waters. The site has already been host to a number of international sailing events which made it a natural choice.
Weymouth and Portland Bay is a natural amphitheatre and there are many places to watch the Sailing events even if you do not have a ticket. The Local Authority will also screen the Games coverage on Weymouth beach so even if it is busy you should still be able to support your team. There are no seats for the sailing event so all spectators will be standing or sitting on the ground.
The facilities at Weymouth and Portland were updated to add a permanent 250m slipway as well as new lifting and mooring facilities.
Sailing is one of the oldest events first appeared at the Olympic Games in 1900 then didn’t appear until 1908 but has been part of the Games every year since. Although some might say sailing debuted in the Sydney Olympic Games as prior to this the event had been called yachting.
In the early years the Olympic sailing was dominated by larger boats with sometimes as many as 12 crew members and time handicaps were used to adjudicate the races. Starting from about 1924 and becoming increasingly more important from the 1950’s smaller boats with less crew was normal. In the 2008 Beijing Games only one event had a three person crew and five events had a one man sail.
Women have always been allowed to compete in the sailing events with men but in 1988 some events were introduced exclusively for women.
Sailing can be for fun or a sport but if you plan to take a vehicle on the water ensure you have the right boat insurance cover for the activity you are doing.
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