As part of the build up to the Olympics this year, SportsCover Direct will be publishing a series of blogs shedding some light on some of the lesser known Olympic sports and showing how you can get involved!
Although sailing for transportation has been around for many years before, sailing as a sport has its origins in 17th century in Holland. It was introduced to England by King Charles II around 1660 and the popularity of the sport has continued to grow. Yacht clubs appeared around the British Isles and sailboat racing has been part of the Olympic Games since 1900. In the present Olympics there are 10 classes which sailors can compete in;
Laser Radial (Women)
Nacra 17 (Mixed)
Who can play?
Anyone can take part in sailing; it used to be seen as a sport for the wealthy however it recent years it has been opened up so that anyone can have a go. Yacht and Sailing Clubs can be found up and down the country and anyone can join and have a go. Some disciplines such as windsurfing require a good level of fitness to start with. But most as long as you are happy to be on the water are a great sport for all to enjoy whether for competition or leisure. Some disciplines such as windsurfing require a good level of fitness to start with.
If you want to take the sport seriously then it is advisable to join a sailing or yachting club. There may be a joining fee however most clubs will have boats which you can use without having to purchase your own. Small boat sailing is one of the cheapest ways to get afloat and most clubs will offer this.
Most clubs will have boats, lifejackets and equipment which you can use or hire but it is advisable to check before joining. It can be costly to buy the equipment yourself so we recommend trying the sport out first before committing yourself.
When do you play?
Sailing can be done all year round dependent on weather conditions and as we know the British weather can be unpredictable. You will soon be fluent in understanding the wind and tide conditions!
Sailing is a great sport for general fitness using most muscles in the body. It also combines other skills such as navigation and tactics. It is great way to get out on the sea and in the fresh air as well as make new friends as yacht and sailing clubs are notorious for their social side as well as their sport!
Team GB prospects for Rio 2016
The team for Rio 2016 has already been announced and the following competitors will be representing Team GB;
Giles Scott: Finn
Nick Thompson: Laser
Alison Young: Laser Radial
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark: 470 Women
Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth: 49erFX
Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves: Nacra 17
Bryony Shaw: RS:X Women
Nick Dempsey: RS:X Men
If this has inspired, you to give sailing a go then check out the British Sailing Team website and BBC Get Inspired to find your local sailing or yachting club and more about the sport!