Sport-Specific Information
Sport-specific information and Technical Packages are available above.


Sport Contacts

Created with flickr slideshow.

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.

Sailing Facts

  • Port – left hand side of the boat when looking forward
  • Starboard – right hand side of the boat when looking forward
  • Windward – the side closest to the wind
  • Leeward – the side furthest away from the wind
  • Fleet racing – competition format where entries race against each other around a course

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.  Depending on the length of the regatta, there can be anywhere from five to 15 or 20 scheduled races with two or more races per day depending on the wind.  Points are awarded for each race sailed with one point for first place, two points for second, and so on.  Typically a competitors’ worst score is deleted, with the winner being the crew with the lowest total score.

The divisions included in the BC Summer Games are Optimist Dinghy (which is a small pram used worldwide for young sailors to learn racing), Laser Radial and Laser Classes, and the two person 420 Dinghy.  Athletes compete in two age categories, Optimist (under 15) and Youth (under 19).  Notable BC Games alumni include three-time Olympian Nikola Girke (West Vancouver) and international competitor Isabella Bertold (Vancouver). 

The BC Sailing Association is the provincial organization for sailing and is affiliated with the Canadian Yachting Association and the International Sailing Federation.