The name is the overall length of the boat in centimeters (the boat is 4.70 metres long). The hull is fiberglass with integral buoyancy tanks.
The 470 is an Olympic Class Dinghy recognized by World Sailing. Sailed by both men and women, it was designed in 1963 by the Frenchman André Cornu as a modern fibreglass planing dinghy.
It is a popular class of dinghy, offering a good introduction to high- performance but it is not a boat designed for beginners. It has a large sail-area-to-weight ratio and is designed to plane easily.
In 1969 the class was awarded International Status by the International Yacht Racing Union (now World Sailing) and it has been an Olympic class since first featuring at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. In 1988 the first Olympic women's sailing event was sailed in the 470, as the first step in increasing the number of women competing at the Olympic Games.
The 470 is equipped with spinnaker and trapeze, making teamwork necessary to sail it well. The 470 is not difficult, but to be competitive everything should be mastered to perfection. Tactically the boat is demanding because speed differences are small, and fleets are usually big. The 470 is often quoted as the most challenging, dynamic and thrilling to sail of the boats at the Olympics.