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London 2012

Background & History

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Sailing, also called yachting, has been practised since antiquity as a means of transport. In the modern sense, yachting probably originated in the Netherlands, and the word seems to come from the Dutch "jaght" or "jaght schip," a light, fast naval craft.

The sport was brought to England by King Charles II in the mid-1600s after his exile to Holland. International yacht racing began in 1851 when a syndicate of members of the New York Yacht Club built a 101-foot schooner named America. The yacht was sailed to England where it won a trophy called the Hundred Guineas Cup. The trophy was renamed The America's Cup and it is the oldest trophy in sport.

Sailing started to attract sailors with a disability in the 1980s and the first intenrnational sailing competition for athletes with a disability was held in Switzerland.

In 1988 the International Handicap Sailing Committee (IHSC) was founded and began working to organise competitions and forums to promote sailing for persons with a disability. Two years later, in 1990, sailing made its debut as an exhibition sport at the World Games for the Disabled.

In 1991 the International Sailing Federation recognised the IHSC which was renamed later that year as the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing (IFDS).

Sailing appeared as a demonstration sport at the 1996 Atlanta Games and in 2000 was included in the Paralympic Games Competition programme as a medal sport with events for the Sonar (three person keelboat) and the 2.4mR (single-person keelboat).

The same events were on show at Athens 2004 before the SKUD18 was introduced for the Beijing 2008 Paralympics Games as the equipment for the two-person dinghy outlining the evolution of sailing at the Games.

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