Windsurfing, Kitesurfing & Sailing

Sailing In The Olympics | An Essential Guide To The Rio 2016 Sailing Events, The Rules And Schedule

Want to know when the Olympic sailing events are broadcast at Rio 2016? We've got all the important information here...

Sailing has been a part of the Summer Olympics since 1986. However, it was cancelled in that year because of bad weather but it has been present at every Summer Olympics since.

Sailing is one of Great Britain‘s most successful Olympic sports – thanks to this island being one of the windiest in Europe. We’ve won the most gold medals of any country in the world in Olympic sailing events – 25 in total – and the second most medals overall after USA.

This year there will be eight events held at the Marina da Gloria in Guanabara Bay, Brazil, not including the two windsurfing RS:X events.

Sailing In The Rio 2016 Olympics: A Brief History Of The Sport

There has been widespread concern about the pollution in the water at Guanarabara Bay, many are worried it won’t be safe for the sport during August. Garbage including plastic bags and chairs have been

“It is possible you’ll hit while sailing some plastic or you don’t know what. It can either damage the boat or slow you down,” German Olympic sailor Victoria Jurczok told CNN.

One of Victoria’s team mates had to have emergency surgery after a race in Rio last year when cuts on his leg became seriously infected. However, Brazilian Olympic officials insist the water will be safe enough to sail on when the Games come around.

Photo: Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/ISAF


There are eight disciplines at the Rio 2016 Olympics:

470 – Men’s

470 – Women’s

49er – Men’s

49erFX – Women’s

Finn – Men’s

Laser – Men’s

Laser Radial – Women’s

Nacra 17 – Mixed

270 sailors from 62 countries will be taking part in the events – which vary from single handed and double handed boats.

If you’ve never watched a regatta before, this is roughly how the course works. Two official boats mark the start line. The sailors race around a series of buoys – there is usually two to four laps. The sailors have to complete the race powered only by the wind, adapting to the wind and weather conditions in order to succeed.

You can find out more about the Rio 2016 Olympics sailing course here.


Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark are among the Team GB medalist hopefuls at Rio 2016. Photo: World Sailing

There’s a strong chance Team GB will win a medal at the Rio Olympics.

Back in London 2012, Great Britain won five Olympic medals in sailing and windsurfing. Ben Ainslie won the gold medal in the Finn class making him the most successful sailor in Olympic history.

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Four silvers were won in Men’s 470, Men’s Star, Women’s 470 and Men’s RS:X windsurfing event.

13 sailors are competing for Team GB in this year’s Rio 2016 Olympics (plus two windsurfers). They are:

Luke Patience – Men’s 470

Chris Grube – Men’s 470

Hannah Mills – Women’s 470

Saskia Clark – Women’s 470

Dylan Fletcher – 49er

Alain Sign – 49er

Charlotte Dobson – 49erFX

Sophie Ainsworth – 49erFX

Giles Scott – Men’s Finn

Nick Thompson – Laser

Alison Young – Laser Radial

Ben Saxton – Nacra 17

Nicola Groves – Nacra 17

Find out more about the Team GB medalist hopefuls in our article here.

Photo: Jesus Renedo/Sailing Energy/ISAF


Olympic regatta racing rules are set by the International Sailing Federation. If you are already familiar with dinghy regattas, then you probably have a good idea of what the basic rules entail.

However, if you want more details about the official Olympic sailing rules, read our article on it here.

Photo: Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/ISAF


The BBC will be broadcasting all of the Olympic regattas from Monday 8 August and will conclude on Friday 19 August. Read more about the schedule here.

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