Having featured in the Atlanta Games in 1996 as a demonstration event under the title of Yachting, Sailing became a regular event in the Paralympics from 2000 onwards. The London Games will see 80 athletes competing for three gold medals - one each in Single-Person Keelboat, Two-Person Keelboat and Three-Person Keelboat.
Rather than splitting athletes into distinct impairment categories, the classification system for Sailing assigns a point score to each athlete based on the athlete's ability to perform tasks specific to the sport. The higher the point score, the more ability the athlete is considered to have.
Classification is used to level the playing field where there are a variety of disability levels. In the Three-Person Keelboat the total classification points of all three sailors must not exceed a maximum of 14 points. The keelboats used in the Paralympics are specially designed to provide greater stability, and they have open cockpits to allow more room for the sailors. Each event consists of 11 races. Points in each race are awarded according to position: the winner gets one point, the second-placed finisher scores two etc. The individual or crew with the fewest total points after the 11 events gets the gold medal.
Each country is limited to one boat in each event (six athletes in total).
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