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 Classes in Sailing

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Classes, in sailing terms, refer generally to the restrictions placed on equipment, such as the sails, weight and hull size. As different classes give sailors different advantages, they have to be standardised in races to give all participants a level playing ground. Here are some of the common classes used:

Dinghy Classes

1.    Finn

The Finn is one of the most frequently used classes. Boats in this class have to be exactly 107 kilograms, and the standard overall length from bow to stern should be 4.5 meters.

2.    470

The 470 is a very straightforward class – the overall length of the boat has to be 4.7 meters. Unlike the Finn, the 470 has a specific crew size of two sailors as it requires coordinated teamwork to sail efficiently. It is heavier than the Finn, weighing 120 kilograms. This class is not often used by beginners as it is not an easy boat to sail.

3.    49er

Similar to the 470, the 49er requires two crew members to sail. The overall length of the boat is approximately 4.9 meters long, hence its name. The 49er is a relatively new class, but has been used consistently since its inaugural debut in the 2000 Olympics. It is generally considered to be the fastest monohull boat in sailing.

4.    49erFX

The difference between the 49erFX and the 49er class is almost negligible, although both boats are classified differently. The 49erFX features the same hull and shares the length and weight as the 49er, but includes several features unique to the FX class. These features include wire riggings, as well as an adjusted mainsail and jibs size, among other FX features.

5.    Laser

Also known as the Laser Standard or Laser One, this class of boat is commonly sailed only by one person, although it can accommodate two sailors. This lightweight boat measures 4.2 meters from bow to stern and weighs approximately 59 kilograms.

6.    Laser Radial

Similar to the Laser class,the Laser Radial has the exact same length and weight as the former. However, the Laser Radial features a smaller sail that has a different cut, and is more commonly used by female sailors. Another key difference is that although the Laser can be sailed by two people, the Laser Radial can only carry one sailor.

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