How It Works:

Sailing events are designated by the model and type of boat used in competition. At Rio 2016, those events are men’s and women’s RS:X (windsurfer), men’s and women’s 470 (two-person dinghy), men’s Laser and women’s Laser Radial (one-person dinghy), men’s 49er and women’s 49er FX (skiff), men’s Finn (one-person heavyweight dinghy) and mixed Nacra 17 (multihull).

Among the notable changes for Rio 2016 are the return of a mixed multihull event with the Nacra 17 making its Olympic debut, the debut of a women’s skiff event with the 49er FX, and the exclusion of the men’s Star for just the second time since 1932.

Mike Leigh

All events at Rio 2016 will be fleet races, meaning all of the boats in an event are on the water at the same time, with the winner being the first boat to cross the finish line.

Competition in the Laser, Laser Radial, Finn and 470 classes is a 10-race series (plus Medal Race) while the RS:X, 49er, 49er FX and Nacra 17 classes compete in a 12-race series (plus Medal Race). Boats are allocated points for their finishing position in each race (first place = 1 point, second place = 2 points, etc). Points are doubled in the Medal Races, in which only the top 10 boats in each class compete. The boat with the lowest total score is the winner.


Canada’s Olympic History (Pre-Rio 2016)

Canada has won nine Olympic sailing medals, the first coming at Los Angeles 1932 with silver in the 8-metre and bronze in the 6-metre. It would be 40 years before the next podium result, bronze in the Soling at Munich 1972. Three medals followed at Los Angeles 1984: silver in the Flying Dutchman by Evert Bastet and Terry McLaughlin to go with bronzes in the Finn by Terry Neilson and in the Soling. McLaughlin’s brother Frank won Flying Dutchman bronze with John Millen at Seoul 1988. Canada’s two most recent sailing medals came in the Star class. Ross MacDonald won bronze at Barcelona 1992 with Eric Jesperson before winning silver with Mike Wolfs at Athens 2004.

Although he didn’t win a medal, Lawrence Lemieux became acclaimed for his sportsmanship at Seoul 1988 when he veered off course during his Finn event to rescue a pair of Singaporean sailors whose 470 boat had capsized, leaving them in danger of being carried out to sea.