Hempel Sailing World Championships Aarhus 2018 will be open to all Olympic sailing classes plus Kite surfing (M and W) as showcase. In Aarhus the ten classes will not only be competing for the Worlds medals, but for qualification for the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 as well.
The Finn is the result of a competition held in Finland in 1949, and it replaced the Firefly as the Olympic one-man dinghy in 1952. The Finn probably represents the purest form of athletic regatta. It requires great physical stamina and long intensive training, and it attracts some of the world’s best yachtsmen – no doubt because it requires such sailing prowess. Entrants in the competition can use their own mast and sail, but the dinghy they use is chosen by drawing lots. This levels the playing field, and ensures participants cannot gain unfair advantage with special vessel features.
470 (M and W)
The 470 – as the name suggests – is 470 centimetres long. It was designed in 1963 by Frenchman André Cornu, and first appeared in the Olympic programme in 1976. The 470 has a very simple design, and can be made at a reasonable price. The price, and the fact that it can be sailed by relatively lightweight sailors, has made the 470 popular and widely used around the world. The dinghy can be sailed by two people, with one in trapeze. When the time came to choose a boat for the first women-only class at the Olympic Games, the 470 was the natural choice. The 470 women’s class debuted at the 1988 Olympic Games.
49er / 49erFX
The 49er is a two-person dinghy, and one of the fastest used in regattas. It was first introduced as an Olympic class in Sydney in 2000. The boat was designed by Australian Julian Bethwaite in 1995, and has a large asymmetric spinnaker that means it can reach speeds up to 50 kilometres per hour. The 49er is a very physically and technically demanding boat, and the crew have to be in trapeze, even in low wind conditions. The name derives from its length of 4.9 metres. The 49erFX women’s class debuted at the 2016 Olympic Games.
The Nacra 17 is a catamaran designed for high speeds in both crosswind and downwind sailing, with a hydrofoil that lifts the hull out of the water to reduce drag and so allow greater speeds. The boat is a mixed class at the Olympic Games, and must be sailed by a woman and a man, often with both crew members in trapeze. The class was included in the Olympic Games for the first time in 2016.
Laser Standard / Laser Radial
The Laser is a one-person dinghy designed by Bruce Kirby in 1969. With 200.000 dinghies worldwide it may be considered the most widely used dinghy. The Laser Standard men’s class joined the Olympic programme in 1996 and the Laser Radial women’s class followed in 2008, when it replaced the Europe dinghy. The Laser Radial is related to the Laser Standard and the hull is the same as the Laser Standard, but the mast and sail are smaller, and Laser Radial sailors are usually in the 55-70 kilogramme weight class.
RS:X M / RS:X W (Windsurfers)
The RS:X board is designed to be able to compete in wind of 3-30 knots (5.6-56 kilometres per hour). In light winds, the windsurfers sail with the centreboard down and pump the sail around the entire course. Above around 10-12 knots, the centreboard is pulled up and the windsurfer sails on the tail fin. All entrants sail using the same equipment, which means the competitors’ mental, tactical, technical and physical abilities make the difference. Windsurfing has been on the Olympic programme since 1984. The RS:X has been the Olympic board for both men and women since it was designed in 2004.
Kiteboarding (M and W)
Kiteboarding is a relatively new discipline in competitive sailing, and it provides high speed sailing and big jumps of up to 20-30 metres in length. Kiteboarders use a small board with foot-straps and fins, which is pulled through the water by a controllable power kite. They can tack upwind almost as effectively as a sailing dinghy. Kiteboarding, for men and women, will be included for the first time as showcase disciplines at the Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus in 2018, and at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.