Sailing is a sport, closely linked to Greece through the country’s history and long nautical tradition of our nation. Moreover, Greece combines the best weather and wind conditions along with an extended shoreline, boosting this way sailing avocation.
Nowadays, sailing figures in the chart of the most popular sports worldwide whilst thousands of people of all background and ages practise regularly their nautical skills in many different sailing boat categories. In this sport what counts more is the love for the wild nature and the strong will of sailors in order to use the wind propulsion for speeding their boat in a certain race track or travel route.
Furthermore, throughout sailing we can empower symbols of athletes cultivating will, confidence and determination practising at the same time body and soul.
There is a broad variety of kinds of races and also sailboats used for competitive sailing. Athletes according to their skills, age, body type and experience can sail from large open see yachts to dinghy vessels.
Despite the huge competitive interest, Sailing is not only for championship. On no account should Sailing be considered as an extremely peculiar sport for designated and distinguished athletes only. The truth is that almost anyone can participate without exception regardless of age, gender or physical limitations. Should anybody want to do sailing must have a strong will. Children from five to fifteen years old start sailing with optimist vessels which combine all safety measures along with great cruising possibilities. This step provides the ideal progress to make athletes well-educated and trained in order to cope with larger and faster vessels right after, according to their body type and interest.
Sailing as a sport included in the Olympic Games in 1900 in Paris and since
1908 has been standing in all Olympic Timetables as a regular Olympic Sport. In the early Olympics, the sailing races were dominated by large vessels with crews, reached the number of twelve sailors while the winners were judged according to their penalty points. In 1924 and since then a new trend in sailing organization brought about the smaller vessels to the forth ground. Over the last twenty years, evolutionary equipment has resulted in the development of new vessels which is reflected also in pioneer techniques, strategy and sailing methods. Indicative is that during Athens Olympic games in 2004, only one fleet of vessel (lightning) had a crew of three, while five events had a single one.
Women were allowed to participate in the Olympic Games in mixed with men crews, but in 1988 the respected race committee instituted a separate event for women only. Moreover, mixed crews are allowed in other sailing events but not within the Olympic Games.
Τo the question “why people love sailing?” I couldn’t find a better answer than what J.F. Kennedy released as a remark at the dinner for the America’s Cup Crews, in September 1962.
“I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.”