Sailing at the Rio 2016 Paralympics: All you need to know

Paralympic Games on the BBC
Venue: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Dates: 7-18 September Time in Rio: BST -4
Coverage: Follow on Radio 5 live and via live text commentary.
Helena Lucas
Helena Lucas won a gold medal in the one-person boat 2.4mR event at London 2012

How does it work?

There will be three boat classes competed for in Rio - the single-handed 2.4mR, the Skud 18, which features two sailors - at least one must be female - and the Sonar class, which has three sailors on board.

Each event consists of a series of up to 11 races - weather permitting.

Sailors accumulate points according to their positions after each race, with one point for first, two for second and so on. At the end of racing, all the points except the worst score from each team are added together. The winner is the sailor or team with the lowest points total at the end of the races.

There is no one-off final, unlike at the Olympics.

Penalties are given for rule infringements, with the offending boats having to perform penalty turns before continuing around the course marked out by buoys.

The sport's classification system is based on four factors - stability, hand function, mobility and vision. Points are awarded to each athlete from 1 (maximum impairment) to 7 (minimum impairment), with lower points awarded for the lowest levels of functionality.

In the Sonar boat, the total crew is allowed a maximum of 14 points.

Modifications can be made to the boat equipment in order to suit the athlete's functional ability including adapted seats and adapted tillers for steering.

Who are the British medal hopes?

The Sonar crew of Hannah Stodel, John Robertson and Stephen Thomas won gold at the 2015 Para Sailing World Championships and will be eager to make up for missing out on a medal four years ago.

The Skud 18 boat of Alex Rickham and Niki Birrell have won medals consistently over the last four years at World Cup events while defending 2.4mR champion Helena Lucas will be aiming for back-to-back titles.

Who are the other challengers?

Defending Skud 18 champions Australia, including former wheelchair basketball player Liesl Tesch, and Poland will provide a strong challenge to GB.

The Sonar event is wide open with USA, Canada and Norway all likely to be vying for top spots while Lucas will face old rivals Heiko Kroeger of Germany and France's Damian Seguin in her event.

Did you know?

Irish Sonar sailor John Twomey is competing in his 11th Paralympics. He made his debut in 1976 in Toronto, competing in athletics and table tennis and competed in sailing for the first time in 2000.

ParalympicsGB London 2012 medals

Two (one gold, one bronze).