Sailing games are a competition of technique and speed in gliding along the surface of the water, moving using the force generated by the wind flowing over the surface of a sail. Competitors in small sailboats sail around marks placed on the surface of the water in a certain order for a certain number of times to finish the race. Points are awarded based on order of arrival at the finish line, with the teams ranked in order beginning with the lowest total number of points.
Sailing is a sport in which sailors compete with other boats under the constantly-changing conditions of nature. It is important to consider the wind conditions, effect of the current, waves, etc. to determine the yacht settings and get it moving at the highest speed possible. Reaching the finish line means paying attention to the position of other boats, staying on the course, seeing the whole course from a bird's-eye view, and using various strategies and tactics.
After Charles II of England received a yacht from the Netherlands, improved it to fit the conditions of the waterways, and used it for military purposes and royal functions, yachts became popular among the noble class. The first recorded yacht race in history took place in England in 1661 between Charles II and his brother James, from Greenwich to Gravesend.
Scene from a yacht race (Tokyo 1964 Games)
At the Olympics, it was an official event during the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, but it was cancelled at the time due to bad weather. At the Los Angeles 1984 Games, windsurfing was introduced in addition to yacht competition. In addition, at the Tokyo 1964 Games, the event was called "yachting," but starting at the Sydney Games in 2000, the name was changed to "sailing."
Yacht racers taking a short break (Tokyo 1964 Games)
Japan first participated in Olympic sailing events at the 1936 Games in Berlin. The women's 470 class team consisting of Yumiko Shige and Alicia Kinoshita won the first medal, reaching second place at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, and at the Athens 2004 Games, Kazuto Seki and Kenjiro Todoroki won a bronze metal in the men's 470 class.
The Olympic torch relay passes through Fujisawa (Tokyo 1964 Games)
Enoshima Yacht Harbor, the first competitive yacht harbor in Japan, was established for the start of the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. The Olympic pedestal used during the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games still remains at Enoshima. Currently, the All-Japan Championships are held there, and it is beloved by many yacht enthusiasts.
Olympic flame Holder pedestal built at Enoshima Harbor for the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games
One famous episode from the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games known as the "Gold Medal for Humanity" was when the Käll brothers of Sweden, favorites to win a medal, instead turned back to rescue fellow sailors whose boat had capsized in the rough sea due to strong wind. What memorable stories will arise at Enoshima during the 2020 Games...?
Running towards the Olympic flame pedestal at the yacht harbor (Tokyo 1964 Games)
Photos provided by: Fujisawa Digital Archives