Sailing is a well organized and recognized sport. There is a broad variety of kinds of races and sailboats used for racing. Much racing is done around buoys or similar marks in protected waters, while some longer offshore races cross open water. All kinds of boats are used for racing, including small dinghies, catamarans, boats designed primarily for cruising, and purpose-built raceboats. The Racing Rules of Sailing govern the conduct of yacht racing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, model boat racing, dinghy racing and virtually any other form of racing around a course with more than one vessel while powered by the wind.
Over a period of more than 112 years, in a sport that uses complex technical equipment, it goes without saying that classes will be discontinued for use at the Olympics. Reasons for discontinuation of a class did vary from economical, logistical and technological to emotional and even political. Some of the discontinued classes remain very strong International - or National classes. Others filled a niche in a specific area like sailing schools or local club racing. Some faded away.
The “Former Olympic Sailing Classes”, together with their crews form an important and significant part of the history of sailing in general and Olympic Sailing in particular. These tables give an overview of the classes and when they were used for Olympic sailing.
RS:X equipment includes a board with a daggerboard, and a sail of a specified size. The board measures 286 cm in length and 93 cm in width. Unlike formula boards, it is quite heavy - 15.5 kg, which is almost twice that of regular competition formula boards, but is very similar to the weight of Raceboards such as the previous Olympic board, Mistral One Design Class. Although the mistral board has a weight of 17 kg ready to sail, the RS:X board weight more than 19 kg.
The RS:X seems to be a compromise between traditional Raceboards which work well in 5-35 knots, and Formula boards which go fast in 12-30 knots, and has shown itself to be competitive with past Raceboards in the medium wind range. Nevertheless, the RS:X is very slow in subplaning conditions (compare with any other sailing craft).
The shape and design of the RS:X sail is based on that of the Neil Pryde formula windsurfing sail RS4.
Throughout history sailing has been instrumental in the development of civilization, affording mankind greater mobility than travel over land, whether for trade, transport or warfare, and the capacity for fishing. The earliest representation of a ship under sail appears on a painted disc found in Kuwait dating to the late 5th millennium BC. Advances in sailing technology from the Middle Ages onward enabled Arab, Chinese, Indian and European explorers to make longer voyages into regions with extreme weather and climatic conditions. There were improvements in sails, masts and rigging; navigation equipment improved. From the 15th century onwards, European ships went further north, stayed longer on the Grand Banks and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and eventually began to explore the Pacific Northwest and the Western Arctic.