Nacra 17’s in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Photo: Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Olympic sailing has a long history with the sport (known as yachting at the Olympics until the year 2000 and sailing thereafter) having formed a part of the Olympic Games for as long as the modern Olympics have been taking place.

Olympic sailing always takes place on the sea – instead of inland waters such as lakes – and as such the event is often held some distance from the host city.

Where will Olympic sailing be in 2024?

The 2024 Olympic Sailing competition will take place in Marseille in the south of France and a long way removed from Paris, the official 2024 host city.

What are the 2024 Olympic Sailing classes?

The 2024 Olympics marks some significant changes, with kitesurfing being added to the roster events for the first time ever and the old windsurfers being ditched in favour of the foiling windsurfer, the IQFoil.

These introductions have been made at the expense of the Finn dinghy, which has now been dropped from Olympic Sailing.

In addition to the loss of the Finn, the two-person dinghy, the 470, has been scaled back from 2 medals (men’s and women’s) to one medal. The 470 now becomes the second event in sailing to be a compulsory mixed gender event.

This follows the introduction of the Nacra 17 in 2016, which saw sailing became one of the first Olympic sports to introduce compulsory mixed gender events to the roster.

2024 Olympic Sailing classes

Photo: Vincent Curutchet/World Sailing

IQFoil – Men

The IQFoil is a windsurfing class selected by World Sailing to replace the RS:X for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Sailors competing in the IQFoil fleet may only use a single sail – a notable difference from many windsurfing events, where multiple sails sizes may be used. The sail size for the men’s class is 9m2.

Photo: Sander van der Borch/World Sailing

IQFoil – Women

The IQFoil for women features a slightly smaller sail than the men’s class at 8m2. For both the men’s and women’s classes, the rider has a choice between using a hydrofoil or a conventional 68 cm fin, with the former being used in all but the lightest of conditions.

Photo: Sander van der Borch/World Sailing

Formula Kite – Women

Formula Kite will make its Olympic debut in 2024 having been selected by World Sailing to effectively replace the Finn class and 1 of the 470 events. The class features a soft, foil kite and a board with a hydrofoil.

Formula Kite – Men

for both men’s and Women’s fleets, the Formula Kite classes do not feature one-design kit, but instead competitors use their choice of approved production equipment. The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) manages the class.

Laser dinghy. Photo: Sailing Energy/World Sailing

ILCA 7 – Men

Formerly known at the Laser and the Laser Radial, the ILCA 7 (and women’s ILCA 6) have the largest number of boats at the Olympics. The singlehanded dinghy is a one-design and all sailors are assigned an identical boat at the start of the competition.

Laser Radial dinghy

ILCA 6 – Women

The women’s singlehanded dinghy features the same hull as the men’s class with a slightly smaller rig. As with the men’s class, the athletes are assigned a boat at the start of competition.

the 49er is the men’s two person skiff

49er – Men

The high performance 49er skiff has wings on the side of the boat to increase leverage. Both the helm and crew trapeze from these wings at the same time to increase leverage further still. As a result the boats are fast and difficult to sail requiring a high level of athleticism.

The 49erFX. Women’s two person skiff. Photo: Sailing Energy/World Sailing

49erFX – Women

The 49erFX is one of the newest Olympic classes, having been introduced in 2016. The hull is the same at the 49er but the sails are smaller and set on a smaller rig. It still features the two wings and two trapezes and is just as challenging to sail as the 49er.

Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves representing Team GBR in the Nacra 17 mixed multihulls in the Rio sailing Olympics 2016

The Nacra 17 has had foils added for Tokyo 2020

Nacra 17 – Mixed

The first mixed class in sailing at the Olympics, the Nacra 17 must have one male and one female, though which role they take (helm or crew) is up to the teams. The Nacra 17 is a very high performance catamaran and now features hydrofoils allowing the boat to zip around above the surface of the water. It can be very fast and very difficult to control, which can result in races with many lead changes.

470 two person dinghy. Photo: Sailing Energy / World Sailing

470 – Mixed

The 470 is a two person dinghy with one helm steering and a crew on the trapeze. for 2024 this has become a mixed event and, like the Nacra 17 must have 1 male and 1 female athlete, though what position they take is up to the crew themselves. Equipment is controlled but can be modified to a degree in order to better match the boat and sailors. Men and women compete in two different fleets for two different medals, though in the same type of boat.

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