By harnessing the power of wind, athletes compete in terms of speed and sailing technique. Depending on the events, one or two athletes sail on a small boat and race around a course marked by buoys in a specific order for a specified number of times. Sailors receive a number of points corresponding to their order of arrival and are ranked according to their total combined number of points. The fewer total points earned, the higher the final position.
Events: yachting and windsurfing
While competing against each other, sailors must also grapple with nature in this sport. Taking into account the weather, wind, tide and waves, competitors prepare their boats to ensure the best possible performance. The most important elements at the start of the race are velocity, timing and position. If a boat can start just in time at the best position with the maximum speed, it will be in an advantageous position in the race. It is also essential for sailors to overview the entire course, including the positions of other boats and the course they should take. Employing their best strategies and tactics, competitors head for the finish line. More important than anything, however, is that sailors are well trained, able to make instant judgements and decisions, and have high levels of endurance, strength and stamina. Regardless of the event, the best part of sailing is the thrill of watching boats sailing against each other amid untamed nature.
Yachts originated in the Netherlands and were later exported to England to be used for practical purposes, including transportation and correspondence. It was supposedly the English King Charles II (r. 1660-1685) who first used a yacht for recreational purposes.
Sailing was included in the official programme of the Athens 1896 Games. However, the races were cancelled due to severe weather conditions, and were not held until the Paris 1900 Games. The types of boats used to compete in this race have been changed several times. In addition to the yachting event, windsurfing has been included in the Olympic sailing events since the Los Angeles 1984 Games.
Courtesy of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's Bureau of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Preparation (as of January 2016)
- Enoshima Yacht Harbour