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Sport Overview

In 10 different sailing events at the Pan American Games, women compete against each other in three, men compete against each other in two and five see men and women in direct competition. The variety of boats includes windsurfers, dinghies, catamarans and keelboats. Each event consists of a series of races around a course with points awarded in each race according to finish position.

Brazil has been a sailing powerhouse at the Pan Am Games. With 14 medals, including eight gold, in the last two Games, Brazil will be a strong contender in 2015.


History

The use of wind-powered sailboats for trade, transport, fishing and warfare has been instrumental in the development of civilization throughout history. As a sport, sailing, or yacht racing, began in 1851 with a race around the Isle of Wight.

Sailing was first contested as an Olympic sport at the 1900 Paris Games. Since then, the classes of boats allowed to compete have continually evolved to reflect advances in yacht design and technology. Equipment advances over the past 20 years have created a trend towards smaller and lighter craft, placing ever greater demands on both the athletic and technical capacities of the sailors.

A women’s event was first introduced in the Olympic Games in 1988 in Seoul, Korea.

The sport is organized under a single set of rules for racing published by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). Olympic racing is now conducted with boats categorized into one-design classes based on similar weights and measurements.


How it works

Each event consists of a series of races around a course with points awarded in each race according to finish position. The final race is called the medal race and counts for double points, which are then added to the sailor’s total score. The sailor with the lowest accumulated points at the end of the preliminary and final races is the winner of the event.


Terminology

Catamaran
A boat or dinghy with twin hulls.

Centreboard
A moveable fin-shaped protrusion under the hull that prevents a boat from sliding sideways and is used to right a capsized dinghy.

Dinghy
A small sailing boat or rowing boat that has a centreboard.

Keel
A fixed, fin-shaped protrusion on the bottom of the hull made of lead that prevents a boat from sliding sideways and from tipping over. .

Keelboat
A sailing boat with a fixed keel.

Hike out
To lean out from the craft to balance the force of the wind.

Port
The left side of a boat, when looking forward.

Skiff
A lightweight high-performance dinghy.

Starboard
The right side of a boat, when looking forward.

Windsurfer
A lightweight surfboard-like craft with a mast, boom and sail on which the rider stands: also known as a sailboard.

Additional Information

Additional Information