Origin of the sport

Although sailing predates history as a means of transportation, competitive sailing – or yachting –first appears to have taken place in 17th century Holland before later migrating to England and the American colonies. Yacht clubs later become commonplace with the historic New York Yacht Club formed in 1844. Seven years later members of the NYYC raced the schooner America against a British team around the Isle of Wight in England. The hosts deemed a trophy to the US team, which later became known as the America’s Cup – the oldest and most prestigious prize in the sport of sailboat racing. Sailing – previously known as yachting - has been a part of the Olympic programme since 1900. At the 2012 London Olympics men and women chased a total of ten sets of Olympic medals in a range of different boat classes.

How it Works

The aim of competitive sailing is for athletes to complete the set course in as short a time as possible by harnessing the wind in their sails to help gain maximum speed. Races can be contested in a fleet (from a mass start) and match racing (one against one). Points are awarded for finishing positions in each race with 1pt for first 22 for 22nd etc. At the end of the regatta all the points are totalled up with the sailor/crew with the lowest score determining the winner.    

Format at World Masters Games 2017

Classes of racing contested will be the Laser (Laser and Laser Radial) and Weta. The laser will be sailed by men only with men and women competing in Laser Radial. Unless there are more than 35 women in the Laser Radial fleet then the fleet will be mixed gender. The standard Laser and Laser Radial boats measure 4.23m long with the only difference that the Radial boats have a slightly smaller sail and shorter mast than the Lasers.

The age brackets are as follows:

35 - 44 (Apprentice Master)
45 - 54 (Master)
55 - 64 (Grand Master)
65 - 74 (Great Grand Master); and
75+ (Great Great Grand Master)

Created by Aucklander Roger Kitchen and his son, Chris, the 4.4m fibreglass Weta is a boat with a distinct Kiwi flavour. The versatile trimaran can be sailed single-handed or with up to three people and should guarantee some exhilarating racing. All Weta races will be in one fleet. It is still to be confirmed whether there will be separate men’s and women’s competitions. The age divisions will be the same as the Laser Radial.

Expected number of competitors – 240

Kiwi Hero – Sir Peter Blake

Arguably the finest yachtsman of his generation swept all before him during a glittering career. The son of a gunboat captain during World War II, Blake was the only man to race in the first five Whitbread Round the World races and in 1989-90 he memorably skippered Steinlager 2 to an unprecedented clean sweep of line, handicap and overall honours. He also gloriously led Team New Zealand to a 5-0 victory over Dennis Connor’s Stars and Stripes and five years later mounted a successful defence of the “Auld Mug.” Blake tragically died aged 53 after being shot by pirates while on an environmental exploration trip in South America.

Did you know?

The last edition of the World Masters Games in Torino in 2013 had Windsurfing and Dinghy racing alongside the Laser and Laser Radial classifications.

How to Get Involved