After the forced postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the 2020 Olympics are now due to take place in 2021 and sailors are gearing up for the Olympic sailing competition.

The Olympic sailing at the Tokyo Olympics will feature 10 events between 25 July and 3 August 2021 at the Enoshima Yacht Harbor in Enoshima.

No major changes have been made to the 2016 schedule, meaning the same 10 classes will be competing for medals for the 2020 Olympic sailing competition.

The only difference being in the mixed two person multihull class, which was sailed in Nacra 17s in 2016 will now be sailed in a foiling version of the catamaran – though it is still named the Nacra 17.

Men’s RS:X windsurfer. Photo: Sailing Energy/World Sailing

RS:X (men and women): The olympic windsurfer class for both men and women. Men’s and women’s fleets are sailed separately with different size rigs for each, but exactly the same board.

Laser dinghy. Photo: Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Laser (men): Typically the Laser and the Laser Radial 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

Laser Radial (women): The women’s singlehanded dinghy features a Laser hull with a slightly smaller rig. As with the men’s class, the athletes are assigned a boat at the start of competition.

Finn dinghy.

Finn (men): The Finn is the longest standing Olympic class having been introduced to the Games in 1952. This men’s heavyweight dinghy is due to be replaced for the 2024 Olympics, so this will its last Games. The class allows for some equipment development to better tailor the boats to their sailors. Britain has won the Finn Gold Medal in every Olympics since 20oo.

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

470 (women and men): The 470 is a two person dinghy with one helm steering and a crew on the trapeze. 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.

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): Currently the only 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) us 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.

The event

Local conditions could prove challenging, as July-October is the typhoon season in Japan.

Among the 350 sailors, 32 different nations will be represented, with Great Britain due to send the largest team of 15 sailors, including Rio winners Hannah Mills and Giles Scott.

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