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
In this sport, crews vie with one another to complete the course in the shortest time. At the same time, it's important to remember that the sport is predicated on competition with nature itself. The appeal of sailing and the ability of its practitioners to feel at one with the sea and nature derives from configuring the yacht to accommodate factors including weather, wind, the effects of the tides, and the condition of the waves in a venue as large as the sea itself. At the start of a race, the most important considerations are speed, timing, and position. If a boat can position itself so that it crosses the starting line at just the right moment and at the fastest speed, it will enjoy an advantage throughout the remainder of the race. It's also important to consider the position of one's boat relative to one's competitors, to chart an optimal course, and to develop a bird's-eye view of the entire course. Athletes head toward the finish line while employing the sort of strategy and tactics you'd expect to see in a match of chess or shogi, pursuing victory through a series of situation-specific decisions. Above all, competitors must excel as athletes since the sport is a contest of moment-by-moment decision-making, patience, instantaneous action, and physical strength while struggling to maximize the speed of the yacht. The true pleasure of sailing, regardless of the specific type of race being run, lies in the thrill of competing with other boats while piloting one's own yacht safely and contending with the variable conditions of 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. As a consequence, the name of the event changed from yachting to sailing.
Courtesy of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's Bureau of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Preparation (as of January 2016)
- Enoshima Yacht Harbour