Windsurfing, Kitesurfing & Sailing

Sailing in Olympics Rio 2016: The Rules

Not sure what the rules are for sailing at the Olympics? Read on...

Do you know your starboard rule from your windward rule in sailing? Photo: iStock

Sailing rules in the Olympics are not dissimilar to the basic rules you’d find at your local sailing regatta (with a few additions).

There will be eight sailing events, each with ten races per event (15 racers for 49er sailors). Out of those ten races, the sailors can discard their worst race score. Then the top ten from the series compete in the final Medal Race.

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

The points in the Medal Race count for double. These scores are then added on to the overall score. The sailor with the lowest overall points wins.

With 260 sailors from 62 countries competing in the sailing events at the Rio 2016 Olympics, it is set to be an exciting series.

Not sure how the sailing rules work? Here are a few basic race rules to get you started:

Rio 2016 Olympics are set to be a success for the British Sailing Team. Photo: iStock
  • At the start, don’t cross the line until the starting signal goes off.
  • When sailors are on opposite tacks, the boat on port tack gives way to starboard tack. An easier way to spot this – if the sailor is sat on the right side of the boat, they are entitled to hold their course – the other person has to dodge out of the way.
  • When two boats are on the same tack and overlapped, the windward boat has to keep clear of the leeward boat.
  • When boats are on the same tack and not overlapped, the boat behind must give lots of space when overtaking.
  • Competitors must avoid collisions at all costs – so no bashing into anyone! Watch the world’s craziest sailing crashes here.

If you are interested, read up on the full ISAF World Sailing Racing Rules of Sailing here.

Not sure what the course is going to be like? Read our article on the Rio 2016 Olympic sailing race course here.

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