Introduction to Sailing

Sailing is a water sport which involves the movement of a boat across a body of water using wind as the only source of power.

Sailing boats were originally used to transport people and goods, but racing on open waters is also an enjoyable pastime.

Boats vary in size from dingies to huge catamarans and it is one of the few sports where people of all ages compete against each other.

Competitive sailing is held on specially marked courses on lakes or the open sea, with competitors taking part in various categories.



Sailing, also called yachting, has been practised since antiquity as a means of transport. In the modern sense, sailing probably originated in the Netherlands, as the word yacht seems to come from the Dutch "jaght" or "jaght schip", a light, fast naval craft.

International yacht racing began in 1851 when the New York Yacht Club's 101ft schooner named America won a race around the Isle of Wight in England. The trophy was renamed the America's Cup, after the yacht, not after the country.

Sailing was first contested at the 1900 Olympics. It made its next Olympic appearance in 1908, and has been on every Olympic programme since. In 1960, a universal code of racing rules was agreed.

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the governing global authority and consists of 117 member nations.

Recent trends have been towards smaller and more easily affordable boats, with fewer crew members. In some of the early Olympics, boats had as many as 10 to 12 crew members.

Women have always been allowed to compete in Olympic sailing with men, but in 1984, separate sailing events were introduced.

Sailing glided into the Asian Games at the 6th Asian Games in 1990 in Bangkok, Thailand.



Sailing competitions are conducted in accordance with the rules of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and the technical code of the Asian Sailing Federation.

Technical issues shall be resolved in accordance with the ISAF rules. Cases of a general nature shall be resolved in accordance with OCA constitution and rules.

Competition system

A race course extends from the start line to the finish line via a series of marks, around which the boats must sail. The course may include multiple rounding of the same mark. The course to be sailed will be detailed in the sailing instructions.

The boats will have four minutes after the start to cross the start line, or else they will be recorded as "did not start" (DNS).

Boats that are on the course side of the start line before the start signal and do not return and re-cross the start line will be noted as "on course side" (OCS) and disqualified.

Scores will be awarded as points based upon the boats' finishing position in each race, one point being assigned to the boat placed first, two to the boat placed second and so on (low point system).

After all the fleet races have been completed, each crew may exclude, depending on the number of races completed, their worst race score. The remaining scores will be totalled.

The lowest scores within an event will decide the medal winners. After each day's racing there is a protest period, in which the sailors or officials may lodge protests.

After this period, protests will be adjudicated in a series of hearings conducted by the international jury. Protests may result in scores adjusted by disqualification (DSQ) or redress (RDG).