Sailing is a well organized and recognized sport. There is a broad variety of kinds of races and sailboats used for racing. Much racing is done around buoys or similar marks in protected waters, while some longer offshore races cross open water. All kinds of boats are used for racing, including small dinghies, catamarans, boats designed primarily for cruising, and purpose-built raceboats. The Racing Rules of Sailing govern the conduct of yacht racing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, model boat racing, dinghy racing and virtually any other form of racing around a course with more than one vessel while powered by the wind.
Over a period of more than 112 years, in a sport that uses complex technical equipment, it goes without saying that classes will be discontinued for use at the Olympics. Reasons for discontinuation of a class did vary from economical, logistical and technological to emotional and even political. Some of the discontinued classes remain very strong International - or National classes. Others filled a niche in a specific area like sailing schools or local club racing. Some faded away.
The “Former Olympic Sailing Classes”, together with their crews form an important and significant part of the history of sailing in general and Olympic Sailing in particular. These tables give an overview of the classes and when they were used for Olympic sailing.
The 470 (Four-Seventy) is a double-handed monohullplaningdinghy with a centreboard, Bermuda rig, and centre sheeting. The name is the overall length of the boat in centimetres (i.e., the boat is 4.70 metres long). The hull is fibreglass with integral buoyancy tanks. The 470 is equipped with spinnaker and trapeze, making teamwork necessary to sail it well. It has a large sail-area-to-weight ratio, and is designed to plane easily.
The 470 is a popular class with both individuals and sailing schools, offering a good introduction to high-performance boats without being excessively difficult to handle. It is not a boat designed for beginners, however, it's earlier designed smaller sister the 420 is a stepping-stone to the 470. The 470 is an International Sailing Federation International Class and has been an Olympic class since the 1976 games. The Class was initially an open class, but since the 1988 games there have been separate events for men and women.
The 470 was designed in 1963 by the Frenchman André Cornu as a modern fiberglass planing dinghy to appeal to sailors of different sizes and ages. This formula succeeded, and the boat spread around the world. In 1969, the class was given international status and it has been an Olympic class since 1976. In 1988, the first Olympic women's sailing event used the 470.
Charles Benedict Ainslie, CBE (born 5 February 1977 in Macclesfield) is an Englishsailor and three-times Olympic gold medalist. He started sailing at the age of eight and first competed at the age of ten. Ben Ainslie's first international competition was the 1989 Optimist world championships held in Japan where he placed 37th.
Throughout history sailing has been instrumental in the development of civilization, affording mankind greater mobility than travel over land, whether for trade, transport or warfare, and the capacity for fishing. The earliest representation of a ship under sail appears on a painted disc found in Kuwait dating to the late 5th millennium BC. Advances in sailing technology from the Middle Ages onward enabled Arab, Chinese, Indian and European explorers to make longer voyages into regions with extreme weather and climatic conditions. There were improvements in sails, masts and rigging; navigation equipment improved. From the 15th century onwards, European ships went further north, stayed longer on the Grand Banks and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and eventually began to explore the Pacific Northwest and the Western Arctic.