Sail numbering and class insignia
The markings on a sail are of great significance! Each class of boat has a specific insignia, a logo which appears at the top of the mainsail. The sail number is the unique identifier for a boat in a race; at the finishing line the organiser takes down that number in the finishing order. There are several methods of determining numbering. For certain series, like the 420, the sail number corresponds to the production number of the boat. In other cases, the number is assigned by the boat’s owner. National codes indicate the country of origin of the boat.
As the ultimate refinement, certain classes permit a world champion to bear as a special distinction the insignia of the class in gold colour. That exists for example in the prestigious Star series.
In the photo on the left, the red stars at the top of the sail indicate that these are boats in the Star series. The boat on the left is German, that on the right Ukrainian. They are racing at full speed against each other, upwind, in the Kieler Woche.