Sailing at the 1948 Summer Olympics
at the Games of the XIV Olympiad
Sailing symbol of the 1948 Summer Olympics
|Competitors||217 from 23 nations|
Sailing/Yachting is an Olympic sport starting from the Games of the 1st Olympiad (1896 Olympics in Athens, Greece). With the exception of 1904 and possibly 1916 sailing was always a part of the Olympic program. The Sailing program of 1948 consisted of a total of five sailing classes (disciplines). For each class seven races were scheduled from 3–12 August 1948 Torquay/Torbay, on England's south coast.
The sailing was done on the triangular type Olympic courses. The start was made in the center of a set of 8 numbered marks that were places in a circle. During the starting procedure the sequence of the marks was communicated to the sailors. By picking the mark that was most upwind the start could always be made upwind. This system is, at least in certain German lakes, still in use.
As we quote from the official report: "Torquay was, perhaps, an inevitable choice as the venue. It is exposed only to easterly winds, which are rare in summer. Moreover, it is remarkably free from strong tides and currents and other navigational hazards, and thus there is nothing or next to nothing to be gained from the " local knowledge " which is so profitable in difficult waters."
A 14-nm course was created for the Dragons and 6 Metres. The Star and Swallow sailed a little more inshore on a 10-nm course, while for the Firefly a 6-nm course was set close to the coast.
|Class||Type||Event||Sailors||Trapeze||Mainsail||Jib/Genoa||Spinnaker||First OG||Olympics so far|
|1948 Olympic Classes designs|
| Denmark (DEN)
| United States (USA)
| Netherlands (NED)
Koos de Jong
| United States (USA)
|| Cuba (CUB)
|| Netherlands (NED)
| Great Britain (GBR)
|| Portugal (POR)
|| United States (USA)
| Norway (NOR)
|| Sweden (SWE)
|| Denmark (DEN)
6 Metre 1948:
| United States (USA)
|| Argentina (ARG)
|| Finland (FIN)
|1||United States (USA)||2||1||1||4|
|3||Great Britain (GBR)||1||0||0||1|
|Mixed team (ZZX)||1||0||0||1|
- Modern techniques like hot moulded plywood in an autoclave and Aluminum mast and booms made their entrance in the Firefly.
- This Olympic sailing event was gender independent, but turned out to be a Mens only event. This was one of the triggers to create gender specific events. This however had to wait until 1988.
- The series were scheduled over the two Olympic weeks. race 1–4 in each class were sailed from 3–6 August. race 5–7 took place on 10–12 August. This was done so that boats could be overhauled after the first set of races.
- The best feature of this Olympic was the scoring system. Quote from the officiel report: – "The number of points awarded to each other competitor diminishes under a given formula, according to the placing of his boat at the finish." – This system was invented by an Austrian sailor. Advantages of this system are:
- Winning races is well awarded, so sailors are likely to fight till the end of the race for each place
- Less ties than with the point for place system
- The score of the winner reflects the number of entries
- Together with the scoring system it was introduced that each team could discard its worst result
- The courses were laid and patrolled by vessels of the Royal Navy
- The two major Axis powers of World War II, Germany and Japan, were not invited to the Games.
During the Sailing regatta's at the 1948 Summer Olympics among others the following persons were competing in the various classes:
- Rickard Sarby (SWE), The future designer of the Finn, in the Firefly
- Jean-Jacques Herbulot (FRA), The future designer of the Vaurien, in the Firefly. He also designed the "Herbulot"-spinnaker. (A spinnaker with large circulair holes. This makes large spinnakers more stable and faster. This type of spinnaker is now in most classes prohibited).
- Agostino Straulino (ITA), Between 1949 and 1956 he won eight consecutive European championships in the starboat class, here also in the Star
- Enrique Sieburger, Sr. (ARG), Oldest of the Sieburger-Salas "clan". A family that in total had 20 entries in the Olympic Sailing competition, in the 6 Metre
- Tore Holm (SWE), Two times Gold and twice Silver medalist since 1920, in the 6 Metre
- Magnus Konow (NOR), Spanned the longest periode in Olympic sailing (1908–1948), in the 6 Metre
- Paul Elvstrøm (DEN), Although he did not finish the first race he won his first, out of four consecutive, Gold medals. This one in the Firefly.
- Sailed in 1920, 1928, 1932, 1936 and 1948 Olympics.
- Sailed in 1908, 1912, 1920, 1928, 1936 and 1948 Olympics.
- Organising Committee for the XIV Olympiad London 1948 (1951). The Official Report of the Organising Committee for the XIV Olympiad London 1948 (pdf).
- Hugh Drake & Paul Henderson (2009). Canada's Olympic Sailing Legacy, Paris 1924 – Beijing 2008. Toronto: CYA.
- "London 1948". Olympic.org. International Olympic Committee.