Saturday 1 September – Thursday 6 September 2012
Weymouth and Portland, Dorset
Number of medal events
Three – Single-Person Keelboat, Two-Person Keelboat and Three-Person Keelboat.
Number of competitors
80: 12–68 men and 12–68 women. Each country is limited to one boat in each event (six athletes in total). The exact number of men and women will be confirmed following the sport entries deadline on 6 August 2012.
The classification system for Sailing assigns a point score to each athlete based on the athlete's ability to perform tasks specific to the sport. The higher the point score, the more ability the athlete is considered to have.
Classification is used to level the playing field where there are a variety of disability levels – in the Three-Person Keelboat the total classification points of all three sailors must not exceed a maximum of 14 points.
Read more about Paralympic Sailing classification
History of Sailing at the Paralympic Games
Sailing was introduced to the Paralympic Games as a demonstration event at Atlanta 1996. Four years later, it became a full medal sport at the Sydney 2000 Games.
The design of the keelboats used in Paralympic competition compared to the Olympic sport provides greater stability, and the boats have open cockpits to allow more room for the sailors.
Each event consists of 11 races. Points in each race are awarded according to position: the winner gets one point, the second-placed finisher scores two, and so on. The individual or crew with the fewest total points is declared the winner.
For a complete set of rules, please refer to the website of the International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS), governing body for the sport.
All races are fleet races – all boats start at the same time. In each event, points from the worst race are discarded. The remaining points are added together to give an overall score to determine the medals.
Running the Paralympic Sailing events is a highly complex operation. Officials will include equipment inspectors – ensuring all equipment is within the rules of the class and the competition; international judges – making decisions on rules questions and applying penalties when necessary; international race officers – ensuring all races are run fairly and within the rules of the competition.
Keys to success
Sailing is both a technical and tactical sport. Athletes need to be masters of their boats, getting the most out of them in terms of speed and performance. They must also be able to adjust to changing conditions, and race tactically to ensure the best position at each stage in the race.
Breaking the rules
Although each boat class has its own rules, there are fundamental rules of Sailing and athletes can be penalised for breaking them. These include observing the correct right of way and obstruction rules while on the water, false starting, or touching a mark. Penalties include having to take an extra one or two turns (turning your boat 360 or 720 degrees through the wind), or receiving a scoring penalty.
Port – when looking forwards, the left-hand side of the craft.
Starboard – when looking forwards, the right-hand side of the craft.
Tacking – when a boat passes through the eye of the wind in order to change direction. Because it is impossible to sail directly into the wind, sailing boats must zig-zag.
Keel boat – any boat with a keel as opposed to a centreboard or dagger board as used in dinghies.
If you want to find out about Sailing in your country, including clubs, facilities and coaching schemes, check the website of your National Governing Body. To find out how you can get involved in Sailing in the UK, go to thegamesandbeyond.com
For more information on the Sailing competition at London 2012 and the rules of the sport, go to the website of the International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS), governing body for the sport.
For information on visiting Weymouth and Portland, go to www.dorsetforyou.com/london2012