The removal of the Elliott 6m keelboat and the RS:X sailboard caused parts of the sport to question classes selected for 2016.
The ISAF Council voted in May 2012 to replace windsurfing with kitesurfing and reaffirmed that vote on 9 November 2012. The move was controversial as former gold medalist and IOC member Barbara Kendall said she would challenge the decision and that "it’s exciting for kiteboarding but tragic for windsurfing. Kiteboarding really is a sport that should be at the X-Games."
However, on 10 November 2012, the delegates at the International Sailing Federation’s General Assembly voted to keep windsurfing at the 2016 Olympic Games overturning the ISAF Council's earlier votes to replace it with kitesurfing.
The 49er FX, will replace the Elliott 6m as a women's two-person skiff and the Nacra 17 was chosen over the Viper as the mixed-hull event. ISAF President Goran Petersson said that the changes "mark a new era for sailing and we welcome the new classes into the ISAF family. We look forward to seeing the boats not only at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but the ISAF Sailing World Cup and ISAF Sailing World Championships.