Read all the 'ins and outs' - including how you can watch live
British sailors put in solid performances in Beijing, but the lack of medal success meant that Sailing did not grab the headlines. Nonetheless, the experience paid dividends for the team, who have secured positive results at world level since then, and are determined to win Britain’s first medal since sailing became a full Paralympic programme sport.
Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell, in the SKUD 18 class, who finished in Beijing, won gold medals at the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 World Championships and are one of the toughest teams to beat in their class.
A friendly rivalry between 2.4mR sailors Helena Lucas and Megan Pascoe for the one British spot at the Games reaped rewards for both. Eventually it was Lucas, who represented Paralympics GB in China, that got the nod having claimed bronze at the 2011 IFDS World Championships and proved her consistency in the early part of 2012.
First year at a Paralympic Games:
Atlanta 1996 – demonstration class for Sonar only
Sydney 2000 – Sonar and 2.4mR
Beijing 2008 – SKUD 18 added to the Paralympic programme
Sailing for disabled people became increasingly popular during the 1980s and in 1988 the International Handicap Sailing Committee was formed. In 1991, International Sailing Federation recognised the IHSC and the organisation was re-named the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing, which remains the international organisation today.
Eligible impairment groups:
All physical impairment groups and athletes with a visual impairment
Beijing medal table:
1 = Canada, USA (one gold, one bronze)
3 Germany (one gold)
Did you know:
Sonar crew Stephen Thomas is also a Winter Paralympian, having competed for ParalympicsGB in the sledge hockey event at Torino 2006
You can watch all the action live by clicking here, courtesy of the RYA.
Ones to watch:
John Robertson, Alexandra Rickham
Weymouth and Portland
Saturday 1 to Thursday 6 September
There are three medal events at the Games. These are the 2.4mR, SKUD 18 and Sonar classes, featuring one, two and three sailors per boat respectively. With the exception of the SKUD, which must have at least one female on board, crews are non-gender specific.
Each event consists of a series of up to 11 races – weather permitting.
Sailors accumulate points according to their positions after each race, with one point for first, two for second and so on. At the end of racing, all the points except the worst score from each team are added together. The winner is the sailor or team with the lowest points total at the end of the races (unlike the Olympic Games, where there is a one-off final).
Penalties are given for rule infringements, with the offending boats having to perform penalty turns before continuing around the course marked out by buoys.
In sailing at the Paralympic Games, modifications are made to the equipment in order to suit the athlete’s functional ability. Some of the modifications often seen in Paralympic Sailing are adapted seats and adapted tillers for steering.
The Sailing classification system is based on four factors – stability, hand function, mobility and vision. Points are awarded to each athlete from 1 to 7, with lower points awarded for the lowest levels of functionality.
Single-Person Keelboat (2.4mR)
The sailor must fulfill the criteria of minimal impairment.
Two-Person Keelboat (SKUD 18)
At least one of the crew shall be female.
One sailor shall be classified as TPA (Two-Person format Classification A), and the other sailor shall be classified as TPB (Two Person System Classification B), which is defined as having at least minimal impairment.
Three-Person Keelboat (Sonar)
Points are given from 1 (maximum impairment) to 7 (minimum impairment) for the individual sailor. The total crew is allowed a maximum of 14 points. No Sailing advantage is given to a crew with a total of less than fourteen points.
All three Sailing events feature keelboats, which offer enhanced stability.