Laser - Men's single-handed dinghy
Designed by American Bruce Kirby in 1969 it is one of the simplest of the Olympic class boats. The Laser, which first participated in the Olympic Games in 1996, is a tough boat, easily rigged and light, with a single sail and flat bottom.
Length: 4.23m (13ft 10in), Breadth: 1.37m (4ft 6in), Weight: 59kg (130lb), Type: Dinghy, Crew: 1, Designer: Bruce Kirby, Year: 1969
Laser Radial - Women's single-handed dinghy
The Laser Radial made its debut at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, replacing the Europe class.
A popular boat among men, women and children, the Radial is based upon the same hull and equipment as the Laser however the Radial has a slightly smaller sail and a different lower mast.
The recommended weight range for this technical one-design boat is between 60-75kgs although the boat is being sailed competitively below and above these weights.
Length: 4.23m (13ft 10ins), Breadth: 1.37m (4ft 5ins), Weight: 56.7kg (125lbs 0.03oz), Type: Dinghy, Crew: 1, Designer: Bruce Kirby and Ian Bruce, Year: 1969
Finn - Single-handed heavyweight dinghy - open
Originating in Finland, the Finn is a one-person, single sail dinghy that has been part of the Olympic Games since 1952. The Finn is an intensely tactical boat in which the top ten places are often seconds apart after several hours racing and the fact that the boat is powerful means that it requires a true athlete to get the most out of it.
In strong winds the boat rewards those who are fit and able to discipline themselves to perform the exhausting task of driving the boat full out while managing the tactical and psychological aspects of the race.
Overall the Finn requires an athlete to be exceptionally fit and strong, outstanding in tactics and familiar with the techniques of sail and rig tuning.
Length: 4.5m (14ft 7in), Breadth: 1.6m (5ft 2in), Weight: 140kg (308lb), Type: Dinghy, Crew: 1, Designer: Richard Sarby, Year: 1952
Neilpryde RS:X - Men and women's windsurfer
Replacing the Mistral, the NeilPryde RS:X was the new windsurfing equipment used at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
A strict one-design class sailed by both men and women, the RS:X is the only boat that will bring the sailor into direct contact with the air and sea.
The board, shaped by Jean Bouldoires, is a true crossover board in that it makes the best compromise between traditional raceboard sailing and exciting “Formula” racing. The RS:X sail performs exceptionally well in both planing and non-planing conditions and has been designed for easy handling.
Length: 2.86m, Breadth: 0.93m, Sail (men): 9.5msq Sail (women): 8.5msq, Type: Sailboard, Crew: 1, Designer: Neil Pryde Ltd, Year: 2004
470 - Men and women's double-handed dinghy
Created in France in the 1960s by Andre Cornu, the 470 is a small, fast boat, its name deriving from its length. It is a highly technical class, with the ability to ‘plane’ (skim the waves like a powerboat) in a high wind.
It is sailed by two people and has three sails (mainsail, jib and spinnaker) as well as a trapeze, which allows the crew to lean out of the craft. The 470, first recognised as an Olympic class in 1976, was also the first women’s class, accepted into the Olympic Games in 1988 in Seoul.
Length: 4.7m (15ft 5in), Breadth: 1.68m (5ft 6in), Weight: 120kg (265lb), Type: Dinghy, Crew: 2, Designer: Andre Cornu, Year: 1963
49ER - High performance dinghy - open
The 49er is one of the most exhilarating of all of the Olympic Classes, providing exciting racing over short courses. With a huge sail area (consisting of mainsail, jib and asymmetric spinnaker), twin trapezes and an ultra light hull it can reach up to 30 knots in speed.
The boat requires the crew to have a high level of agility and athleticism as they must make rapid, and often acrobatic, movements. Designed by Australian architect Julian Bethwaite in 1995, the class made its debut at the 2000 Sydney Games.
Length: 4.995m (16ft), Breadth: 2.9m (9ft), Weight: 70kg (155lb), Type: Skiff, Crew: 2, Designer: Frank Bethwaite, Year: 1995
Star - Men's two-person keelboat
The Star was designed in 1911 by Frances Sweisguth and made its first appearance at the Olympic Games in 1932, making it the oldest Olympic Class. It is a highly technical double-handed keelboat and requires both the helm and crew to be in tune with the boat.
The 22ft open keelboat has a highly fragile and ultra sensitive rig, which needs the constant attention of the two crew. Many of the world's top sailors past and present have been involved in the Star Class.
Length: 6.992m (22ft 7in), Breadth: 1.732m (5ft 6in), Weight: 671 kg (1479lb), Type: Keelboat, Crew: 2, Designer: Francis Sweisguth, Year: 1911
Elliott 6m - Women's match racing
The Elliott 6m will make its Olympic debut at London 2012 after women's match racing was ratified as the newest Olympic Class in November 2008.
Designed by New Zealander Greg Elliott, the Olympic boat is a modified version of the Elliott previously used at World match racing events.The rig and sail area has been reduced from the original Elliott 6m to allow sailing in a greater wind range with max crew weight of 205kg. The fixed keel has been changed to allow for lifting or removal.
The build of the first eight of the new Elliott 6m designs were completed at McConaghy boats in China and they will make their ISAF Sailing World Cup debut at Kiel in June 2009 before arriving on British soil for September's Skandia Sail for Gold regatta.
Beam Length 2.35m (7 ft 81/2 in), Draught Length 1.66m (5Ft 5in), Mainsail Area 15.9m2, Headsail Area 7.7m2, Spinnaker Area 28m2, Type Keelboat, Crew 3 (max weight 205kgs), Designer Greg Elliott, Year 2000 (Modified 2008)