This time we’ll introduce you to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Sailing in Enoshima!
Here we’ll explain a little bit about the history and rules of sailing so you can enjoy watching the Tokyo 2020 Olympics more intensely. Let’s fill Enoshima Yacht Harbour (Fujisawa City) with energy!
The history of sailing as an Olympic sport is quite long. It first made its debut in 1900 at the Paris Olympics and was referred to as ‘yachting’. At the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, however, it was changed to ‘sailing’. Originally it was scheduled to be a part of the 1896 Olympic Games but had to be cancelled due to severe weather.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic sailing competition will be divided into six classes; four with separate teams for men and women (Laser, RS:X, 470, and 49er), one only for men (Finn), and one a mixed team (Nacra 17).
An Introduction to Sailing as a Competitive Sport
Sailing is a competition based on the speed and skill of sailors while gliding on water, using the power of the wind through the sails to control the boat. Depending on the class, one or two people will board a small sailboat and race around the buoys in a predetermined order and number of times before completing the course.
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While sailing is a competition with other boats it’s also a battle with the sea. Sailors need to be able to read the wind speed and direction, height of the waves, pull of the tides, and many other aspects. Understanding the waters and being able to maneuver the boat are the essential factors of the sport.
Like every Olympic sport there is a list of rules which must be followed by the athletes. Failure to do so will result in penalization.
In sailing it’s not possible to continuously move in a straight line towards the finish line. Boats need to use the wind in order to proceed and are constantly moving in zig-zag patterns. Using their bodies enables the athletes to control the direction and speed of their boats.
Sailors need to be mentally and physically prepared for the rigorous demands of a constantly changing environment.
When are the sailing events being held?
The schedule for sailing events is from Sun 25 July to Wed 4 August 2021.
Click here for the schedule of each competition!
Where is the competition being held?
Location: Enoshima Yacht Harbour (Address: 1-12-2 Enoshima, Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture)
Enoshima Yacht Harbour was first established for sporting use during the Tokyo 1964 Olympics making it a legacy monument. Various sailing races are held throughout the year here as it is located in a mild climate.
What are the rules of sailing?
A unique feature of sailing events is that the athletes’ ranking is not decided upon by one race but by a number of races. Points are based on how many times the boats pass the buoys in the correct order. Teams with the least amount of points rank higher.
In the 49er event boats have to travel round the buoys 14 times, however, in all other races they need to complete the circuit 10 times. Once all the races have been completed the athletes with the least amount of points will be allowed to participate in the medal race. Only the top 10 athletes will be able to take part in the medal race.
The F1 of the Sea? Flying Yachts?
In the Tokyo 2020 Olympics there will be ten events in total, four using a 2 person boat such as the 470 men’s team and women’s team, the 49er men’s team, and the 49erFX women’s team. There will also be five singles events such as the RS:X windsurfing men’s event and women’s event, men’s Laser race, men’s Finn race, and women’s Laser Radical race. Lastly is the mixed team 2 person Nacra 17 which was first introduced during the Rio 2016 Olympics.
• RS:X - Windsurfer (Men/Women)
• Laser - One Person Dinghy (Men)
• Laser Radial - One Person Dinghy (Women)
• Finn - One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) (Men)
• 470 - Two Person Dinghy (Men/Women)
• 49er - Skiff (Men)
• 49er FX - Skiff (Women)
• Nacra 17 Foiling - Mixed Multihull
One important point in sailing is ‘leaning out’ which is the technique used to balance the boat in the event of a strong breeze. By using the crew’s body weight they can ensure the boat doesn’t capsize. On the other hand, when there is no wind the athletes must use their bodies to shake the boat to move the sail. While it may sound like an easy thing to accomplish it is in fact quite challenging.
Access to Enoshima Yacht Harbour by Train / Walk
- An 18 minute walk from Katase Enoshima Station on the Odakyu Enoshima Line
(The station is currently being reconstructed and is expected to be completed in May 2020. It is rumoured to resemble Ryugu Castle, an underwater castle from an old Japanese folk tale!)
- A 23 minute walk from Shonan Enoshima Station on the Shonan Monorail
- A 21 minute walk from Enoshima Station on the Enoden
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In the world of sailing competitions which take place in a natural environment, it is often believed that the local teams will have an advantage though we expect to see some fierce competition and thrilling races!!!
We can’t wait for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to take place!!!