How the 2012 Olympic sailing competition works:
- There are 10 Olympic sailing events, or classes, of which Australia will be represented in eight.
- Most races are sailed in what is known as fleet racing, a format with fleets of boats racing around the same course at the same time.
- Only the match racing is different. It involves two six-metre Elliott keelboats sailing against each other in a head-to-head, round-robin format.
- Each country is permitted only one entry per sailing class.
COMPETITION and SCORING:
- For each class (other than match racing) there is an opening series followed by a medal race.
- Ten opening races are scheduled for every class, except for the 49er class which sails on a shorter course and so will compete in 15 opening races.
- Scores are awarded according to a boat's finishing position in each race: eg. first place is awarded one point, 12th place is awarded 12 points, and so on.
- Once five or more races are completed, sailors can discard their single worst result.
- The top 10 boats in each class at the end of the opening series qualify for the medal race, which awards double points.
- The lowest-accumulated scores throughout the regatta earn the medals.
- Match racers compete in a round-robin format before the best-performing enter a knockout final series.
- 49er: 4.9m two-person skiff, designed by Australian Julian Bethwaite. Made it's Olympic debut: Sydney 2000.
- 470 (men and women): 4.7-metre, 120kg double-handed dinghy with centreboard. Olympic debut: Montreal 1976.
- Laser (men): Debuting at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the Laser is a 4.2m single-handed dinghy, weighing 59kg and noted for being fast, responsive and lightweight.
- Finn (men): First sailed at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, the Finn is a heavyweight (107kg) single-handed dinghy and the only class to have featured at all Olympic Games since Helsinki.
- Laser Radial (women): Single-handed, centreboard dinghy. Similar to the Laser but designed for more lightweight sailors, especially in youth and women's sailing.
- RS:X (men and women): Windsurfing class. The RS:X was designed in 2004. Windsurfing using a different board debuted at the 1984 Los Angeles games.
- Star (men): Two-man keelboat weighing 671kg and measuring 6.9 metres. Made its Olympic debut in 1932.
- Match racing (women): Triple-handed six-metre Elliott keelboat designed by Greg Elliott. The match racing format makes its debut at the London Games. Match racing makes its debut at the London Games.