Sailing has been an important means of transportation throughout history. As a sport, yacht racing was brought to England in the 1600s after King Charles II’s exile to Holland. International racing began in 1851 when members of the New York Yacht Club sailed a 100 foot schooner to England, beginning the race for the oldest trophy in sports, the America’s Cup. Sailing made its Olympic debut in 1900 and has been in every Olympics since 1908. Currently, there are 11 Olympic classes with both single-handed and double-handed boats.
To excel in sailing, several skills are needed. First, athletes need to be able to read the wind, waves, and current along with wind changes, gusts, lulls, and direction shifts. A smart sailor can react to use these changes to their advantage. Next, athletes need to be fit and strong. Sailing, especially on a windy day, requires a high level of strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance. Finally, there is a moving chess match going on, where crews position themselves strategically in relation to the other boats in the fleet to find the fastest path around the racetrack.
Sailing competitions are referred to as “regattas”, just like rowing. A regatta consists of several races over multiple days. At the Canada Games, there are two “race circles” being run at any time, each circle will run races for Lasers & Radials on one circle, 29ers on another circle, and 2.4mRs will rotate in for their own circle. At these Games there will be three race groups rotating through 2 race circles each half day of racing.
Sailing always involves adjusting efficiently to the changing wind and speed direction. Sailors must have endurance and strength, as well as tactics, strategy, boat mechanics, and sail trim to cross the finish line ahead.