How to qualify for sailing at Paris 2024. The Olympics qualification system explained 

With five new events added to the Paris 2024 programme, the Olympic sailing competition should be as unpredictable as ever when it takes place at the Marseille Marina. Find out everything you need to know about the number of athletes, stars to watch and pathway to qualification below. 

By Sheila Vieira
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The waters of the Marseille Marina will host the sailing competition at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 from 28 July to 8 August.

Aiming for greater gender equality at the Games and more diversity of nations in the qualifying process, World Sailing made several amendments, including turning the men’s and women’s 470 (Dinghy) into one mixed event, to make a total of two sailing mixed events alongside Nacra 17 (Multihull).

Two more important additions are the new iQFoil (foiling sailboard) and Formula Kite (kiteboarding) events for men and women. Kiteboarding makes its Olympic debut after a successful test at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. These classes replaced Finn and RS:X events.

These modifications may have an impact on the preparations of traditional sailing powerhouses such as Great Britain, France and People’s Republic of China who won medals in Finn and RS:X at Tokyo 2020.

Find out the pathway for sailors to qualify for Paris 2024, the format of the competition, and athletes to watch over the next two years.

READ ALSO: The quest for Paris 2024 Olympic qualification begins

How many athletes will compete in sailing at Paris 2024?

The sailing competitions will offer 330 quota places (20 less than Tokyo 2020), 165 per gender, in 10 events. France, the host NOC, will be awarded 14 of those quotas, seven per gender, as long as their athletes are eligible to compete. Four quotas are reserved for universality places. Each NOC can qualify up to 14 quotas, with one boat per event.

What are the sailing events at Paris 2024?

The following events will award medals at the next Olympic Games:

  • Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7 (Laser)
  • Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6 (Laser)
  • Men’s Skiff – 49er
  • Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
  • Men’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class - new
  • Women’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class - new
  • Men’s Windsurfing – iQFoil - new
  • Women’s Windsurfing – iQFoil - new
  • Mixed Two Person Dinghy – 470 - new
  • Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17

READ ALSO: Discover the full calendar of Olympic Games Paris 2024

What is the sailing qualification pathway to Paris 2024?

There are a number of sailing Olympic Qualifiers for Paris 2024, which award quotas in the following order:

2023 Sailing World Championships

The event will take place in The Hague, Netherlands, from 10-20 August 2023, and will award 107 quota places. The highest placed NOCs in each of the 10 events will be awarded quotas as following:

  • Windsurfing: 11 per gender
  • Kite: 8 per gender
  • Dinghy: 16 per gender, 8 for mixed
  • Skiff: 10 per gender
  • Mixed Multihull: 9

Ties in windsurfing and kite when one only quota is in dispute are decided in favour of the boat with the higher Opening Series ranking.

2024 ILCA World Championships, various

The highest NOCs not already qualified at the 2023 World Championships will qualify for the men’s and women’s Dinghy events. Fourteen quotas will be awarded (seven per gender). The city and date of the events are to be confirmed.

Charline Picon (France) celebrates at Tokyo 2020.
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

2023/2024 Continental Qualification Events, various

The highest placed NOCs at continental events that have not already qualified at the 2023 World Championships or the 2024 ILCA World Championships will receive quota places.

There will be one quota place available per class in each region (Africa, Asia, Central & South America, Europe, North America & Caribbean, and Oceania), except for men's and women's Dinghy (three quota places for Asia per gender, and two quota places per gender to the other regions).

The continental events will award 74 quotas in total, 31 boats for men, 31 for women, and 12 for mixed. The location and dates are to be confirmed.

2024 Last Chance Regatta

The location and date of the event is yet to be confirmed. The highest NOCs not already qualified from previous events will receive 39 quota places, according to the following distribution:

  • Windsurfing: 5 per gender
  • Kite: 5 per gender
  • Dinghy: 3 per gender, 4 for mixed
  • Skiff: 3 per gender
  • Mixed Multihull: 3

Emerging Nations

Members of the World Sailing Emerging Nations Program who have not already qualified will qualify based on their results at the 2024 Last Change Regatta: one per gender in Windsurfing and one per gender in Dinghy.

Universality

Four quotas are reserved for Universality places, two in men’s Dinghy and two in women’s Dinghy. They will be distributed by the Tripartite Commission after the Last Chance Regatta.

What is the Paris 2024 sailing competition format and schedule?

The sailing competition will start on 28 July 2024. The Skiff events will hand out the first medals on 1 August and the Windsurfing competition will come to a conclusion the following day. The men's and women's Dinghy Medal Race will take place on 6 August, while the following day defines the podium for the two mixed events (Dinghy and Multihull). On the last day, 8 August, the first-ever Olympic Kite medallists will be defined.

The Olympic sailing competition uses the fleet racing format, where boats race around a course. The better the position of a boat in a race, the lesser its score. For instance, the winner of a race wins one point, the second-place wins two, and so on. Therefore, the goal is to score the least points possible. The points of each race are added together to determine the rankings.

Each event has a number of races in the Opening Series. The points from the worst scoring race are discarded (up to three in the case of Windsurfing and Kite). The 10 highest ranked teams in each event advance to the final phase (Medal Race or Medal Series, depending on the event). In the Medal Race, points are doubled and count towards the final rankings that define the medallists.

Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre compete in Tokyo 2020.
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Sailors to watch at Paris 2024

With so many changes in the sailing programme, you can expect to see several new Olympic medallists at Paris 2024.

Great Britain, one of the most traditional powerhouses in sailing, saw Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 champions Hannah Mills and Giles Scott announce their retirement.

Tokyo Olympic champions Dylan Fletcher (49er) and Eilidh McIntyre (470), and silver medallists John Gimson and Anna Burnet (Nacra 17) should lead the British campaign for qualification to Paris 2024.

Brazilians Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (49erFX) will try to become the first duo to win three consecutive Olympic gold medals in sailing. They will once again face fierce competition from the Dutch boat led by Odile van Aanholt, who partnered with Annette Duetz to win the 2022 World Championships.

Other names to watch are Croatian Tonci Stipanovic (Laser), who is aiming for a third straight medal, as well as 2022 world champions and Tokyo 2020 gold medallists Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti (Nacra 17), from Italy, and the always strong teams of France, People's Republic of China and Spain.

Two-time Olympic champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, sailors from Brazil.
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Sailing qualification timeline to Paris 2024

  • 10-20 August 2023 – 2023 World Sailing Championships
  • By 29 August 2023 – World Sailing confirms in writing to the NOCs the quota places obtained.
  • By 1 September 2023 – World Sailing confirms in writing to the MNAs the athletes selected for the World Sailing Emerging Nations program.
  • 1 October 2023 – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) invites all eligible NOCs to submit their requests for Universality Places.
  • 15 January 2024 – The NOCs to submit their requests for Universality Places.
  • Date TBC – 2024 ICLA 7 World Championships
  • By 7 working days after the qualifier - World Sailing confirms in writing to the NOCs the quota places obtained.
  • Date TBC - 2024 ICLA 6 World Championships
  • By 7 working days after the qualifier - World Sailing confirms in writing to the NOCs the quota places obtained.
  • Various – Each Continental Qualifier.
  • By 7 working days after the qualifier - World Sailing confirms in writing to the NOCs the quota places obtained.
  • Deadline – 1 month before LCR entry close – The NOCs to confirm to World Sailing the use of the allocated quota places.
  • Within five days after the previous step – World Sailing to reallocate all unused quota places.
  • Date TBC – 2024 Last Change Regatta
  • By 7 working days after the qualifier - World Sailing confirms in writing to the NOCs the quota places obtained.
  • Two weeks after the invitation - The NOCs to confirm to World Sailing the use of the allocated quota places.
  • Within five days after each previous step - World Sailing to reallocate all unused quota places.
  • After the Last Change Regatta, Date TBC – The Tripartite Commission to confirm in writing the allocation of Universality Places to the NOCs (where applicable).
  • 8 July 2024 – Paris 2024 Sport Entries deadline
  • 26 July – 11 August 2024 – Olympic Games Paris 2024

Find out more about the qualification system for other sports that will feature at Paris 2024.

GO OLYMPIC. GET ALL THIS.

Free live sport events. Unlimited access to series. Unrivalled Olympic news & highlights.