Sailing was first contested as an Olympic sport at the 1900 Paris Games. Since then, the classes of boats selected have evolved to reflect advances in yacht design and technology, although the fundamental nature of sailing, athlete vs. athlete vs. mother nature, hasn’t changed. Equipment advances over the past 20 years have created a trend towards faster and lighter craft, placing ever greater demands on the athletic, strategic and technical capacities of the sailors.

Races during the Youth Olympic Games are sailed in what is known as a fleet racing format or a heat format.  

Windsurfers and the Multihull classes race in fleets of supplied, equally matched boats with a mass start, seeing the athletes jostling for the best position even before the race starts. They then race around a course at the same time trying to use the wind and their skills to get ahead of the fleet.

All races are conducted around a course of marker buoys laid out by the Race Committee and they incorporate a variety of different sailing angles: upwind, downwind and reaching. There may be one, two or possibly three laps required to complete a race. The Race Committee will decide on how many laps are required immediately prior to the start of the race, and this depends upon wind conditions and the length of the course.

The kiteboards use a system of two heats with 6-8 athletes each and then a final to calculate the winner for a race. The kiteboarding course is shorter and closer to shore than a fleet racing course however it may include obstacles to challenge the athletes in the stronger winds.

100 Athletes (50 women and 50 men)

Women / Men / Windsurfer, Kiteboarding and Nacra 15 (two person multihull)



Objective: Sail faster or a shorter distance to each mark of the course than the other boats, thereby getting to the finish line first.


Type of Scoring System: Sailing uses a "low point" scoring system whereby the winner of each race is awarded one point; second place is awarded two points, etc.


The Windsurfer and Multihull use a cumulative scoring system where the points from the 13 races in the series are added together and the team with the lowest score is the overall winner.


The kiteboards use a cumulative scoring system where the points from each race in the series (up to 24) are added together and the 8 teams with the lowest score progress to the winner takes all final.

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