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Last Updated: Thursday April 03 2008 12:11 GMT

Guide to sailing


There are lots of different events, some where sailors are in boats on their own and others where they are in small teams.

Courses are marked in the sea by a series of buoys, and competitors must be aware of their opponents and the conditions they will be sailing in.

What are the sailing classes?
49er - small boat crewed by two who have to leap about a lot. Has big sails and can go very quickly.
470 - crewed by a male and female sailor who at times have to lean way off the boat to take it where they want it to go.
Europe - a small boat that is sailed by women at the Olympics. One sailor per boat, who has to move around a lot.
Finn - a very tough boat to sail, by a single sailor. Some of the fittest sailors at the Games will be in this class.
Laser - a little boat, and every one in the fleet is supposed to be identical to all the others. An excellent test of sailing ability above everything else.
Mistral - the only windsurfing class in the Games. A huge physical challenge.
Star - crewed by two, one of the toughest boats to sail, many of the world's top sailors have competed in it.
Tornado - a catamaran and the quickest boat in the Olympics. Crewed by two, will be one of the most exciting events to watch.
Yngling - making its debut at the Olympics, is sailed by three female crew.
Sonar - three-person keelboat that is used in the Paralympics and the Olympics.
2.4mr - a small, heavy boat that is often used by disabled sailors.