Sail sign

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Sail symbols (class symbols, nationality letters and sail numbers) of various boats

The sail symbols are symbolic and alphanumeric markings in the sail . If they are used to differentiate between different boat classes, they are called class symbols (see also category: sailboat type ). Sail symbols can also be used to indicate nationality ( nationality symbols ) or identify an individual ship using the sail number .

According to the sailing rules of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), ships wishing to take part in regattas have to use the following symbols on the mainsail : class symbols, nationality symbols (e.g. GER for Germany) and sail number.

In Germany, sailing signs were discussed by the DSV from 1917 and used from 1920.

In everyday sailing, the sailing symbol can only mean the class symbol or the entirety of the symbols, letters and numbers in a sail. In the case of boats that are not built for competition purposes and that do not belong to a unit class, the sailing mark can also simply identify the type or manufacturer's mark, comparable to the corresponding trademarks on cars.


Since sails are predominantly white and lettering from the respective rear side shines through, only side-symmetrical (e.g. star- star) or certain mirrorable ( pirate- tomahawk) class symbols are mounted exactly opposite, others are offset to the side ( 420 ). Below that follows as a two-line block on the starboard side (= right) of the sail, the country code and boat number, at the bottom again the same block on port. (See picture above.)

See also

Web links

Commons : Sailing symbols  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Die Yacht , born 1919, issue 51, p. 810