Designed by New Zealand's Greg Elliott, one of the leading designing A keelboat design, the Elliott, crewed by three, the basic design is centered on a lightweight hull that's just short of 20 feet long with a 7.7-foot beam, the 6M Elliot draws only 5 feet of water, making it a very shallow draft boat.
Key to the depth of the course, though, is the sleek keel as the the Elliott runs a deep keep rather than a centerboard or a daggerboard.
For the Olympics, the 6M Elliott will carry a three-woman crew, as this is a woman's event. They will have to manage not only the mainsail, but also a headsail and spinnaker. The mainsail is 52-square-feet, while the headsail is 26-square-feet and the spinnaker is 26-square-feet.
From what we have seen of the maneuverability of the 6M Elliott, the crew will have its hands full keeping close to the wind. To remain close to the wind, the crew will not only have to keep the sails trim, but will also have to think about the heel of the Elliott. Since it is a shallow-draft boat whose weight is just under 700 kg, the Elliott will, if it is sailed in a heavy wind, not only plane quickly, but will also come out of the water, often moving with its keel almost exposed.
At that time, at least two, if not all three, members of the crew, swung out from the boat to counteract the heel. They will be using special harnesses that keep them in contact with the Elliott yet let them counteract its heel.
In high winds with the keelboat running very close to that wind, the need to counteract the heel over is great because all it takes is a slightly wrong movement and what could be a winning effort can easily turn into a waterlogged effort as the jib or headsail catches a wave or the opposing gunwale catches water and the Elliott goes down for the count.