Sailing at the 1908 Summer Olympics
at the Games of the IV Olympiad
1908 Gold Medal (Obverse and Reverse)
|Venues||● Ryde, Isle of Wight
● Hunters Quay, Scotland
|Dates||First race: 27 July 1908
Last race: 29 July 1908
First race: 11 August 1908 (Hunters Quay)
Last race: 12 August 1908
|Sailors||65 from 5 countries|
|Top ranked countries|
|« 1900||1912 »|
Sailing was an Olympic sport at the 1908 Summer Olympics. The Sailing program of 1908 was open for a total of five sailing classes (disciplines), but actually only four Sailing events were contested. It turned out that no entries were made in the 15 Metre. The planned venue of all races, named matches was Ryde, Isle of Wight.
|Royal Victoria Yacht Club|
|Clyde Corinthian Yacht Club|
At the 1907 The Hague Conference of the IOC Ryde at the Isle of Wight was appointed to host the sailing regattas, for all classes, of the games of the IVth Olympiad. However when there were only British entries for the 12 Metre matches, and both yacht were located at the Firth of Clyde, the decision was made to use Hunter’s Quay as a second venue.
The number of entries was not high. This was because the decision of the classes to use was taken less than one year before the games. Building wooden boats, in a class not proven yet, varying in length between 12 and 30 meters, practice with them and ship them to the games in time was for many owners a challenge. Overlooking the circumstances 13 boats from 5 countries was an achievement.
Although one of the oldest organized sporting activities, sailing in the early first part of the 20th century was not uniformly organized. This had a lot to do with national traditions as well as with the fact that there were no standardized boat types with uniform building instructions and measurements. Also a lot of development was done in the area of boat design and boat building. The shape of a boat, specifically its length, its weight and its sail area, are major parameters that determine the boat's speed. Several initiatives were started to create a formula that made it possible to have boats race each other without having to calculate the final result. But the different countries initially could not agree on an international system. At the Olympics of 1900 it was clear that sailing was not ready for international competition, and something had to be done.
In 1906 international meetings were organize to solve the problem. Finally in Paris, October 1907 the first International Rule was ratified. Delegates from this meeting went on to form the International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU), the precursor to the present International Sailing Federation (ISAF).
The agreed formula gives a result in meters (Metre). During the meeting in 1907 the IOC made the decision to open the 1908 Summer Olympics for the following Metre classes:
|Class||Type||Event||Sailors||Trapeze||Mainsail||Jib/Genoa||Spinnaker||First OG||Olympics so far|
|1908 Olympic Classes designs|
|1908 Olympic Classes in action|
1908: 6 Metre
1908: 7 Metre
No further competition
No further competition
1908: 8 Metre
1908: 12 Metre
No further competition
|1||Great Britain (GBR)||4||1||1||6|
|Mixed team (ZZX)||1||0||0||1|
- This Olympic sailing event was gender independent, but only two women, Frances Rivett-Carnac in the 7 Metre, and the Duchess of Westminster as extra on her 8 Metre, participated. The duchess of Westminster also distributed the diplomas of special merit to the competitors of the other Olympic sports on July 25, 1908.
- The matches at Ryde were held in light air conditions.
- All members of a team had to be a citizen of the country they represent. However the boats used did not have to be built in the same country that the team was representing since the Olympic games are considered a test of skills and handling for the team and not a test of the yacht. This in contrast with the matches for the America's cup of that time.
- A second 7 Metre yacht was entered under command of Capt. Sloan Stanley but failed to make it to the starting line.
- At the end of the official report the following suggestion was made:
It has been suggested that in the yacht racing of future Olympic Games it might be better to select a fleet of “one-design” boats in the waters where the Games are held, and let all the crews entered draw lots for them every day, with the proviso that no crew should have the same boat twice.
During the Sailing regattas at the 1908 Summer Olympics among others the following persons were competing in the various classes:
- Norway (NOR), Johan Anker, Multiple Olympic competitor and designer of many Metre yachts as well as the 1948 Olympic Dragon, in the 8 Metre
- Great Britain (GBR), Duchess of Westminster as owner and extra crewmember of the 8 Metre Sorais
|8 Metre Sailors at the 1908 Olympic Games|
|8 Metre Owners at the 1908 Olympic Games|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sailing at the 1908 Summer Olympics.|
- "Olympic Medal Winners". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
- Cook, Theodore Andrea (1908). The Fourth Olympiad, Being the Official Report (PDF). London: British Olympic Association. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
- De Wael, Herman (2001). "Sailing 1908". Herman's Full Olympians. Retrieved 7 May 2006.