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 possible 1916 sailing was always a part of the Olympic program. The Sailing program of 1952 consisted of a total of five sailing classes (disciplines). For each class seven races were scheduled from 20–28 July 1952 of the coast of Harmaja.
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.
Two course areas were created in front of Helsinki. One for the Finn just outside the island Liuskasaari. The Finn course was 5.4 nm long and triangular in shape. For the keelboats a course area near the Harmaja lighthouse was used. A 13.1 nm course was set for Star, Dragon, 5.5 & 6 Metre just over one nm South of the lighthouse. Specially the keelboat course was situated in an area of fair sailing conditions. No currents or tidal movements, and no obstacles around the course that could create wind shadows. On the other hand the Finn course was set near sheltered islands and thus safe for this type of sailing. This course give the spectators also a nice view of the races.
The races were held from 20–23 and 26–28 July. In between the sailors could recover or made boat repairs.
Countries that participated in the Sailing event of the 1952 Olympic Games. Blue: Water Gray: Never participated in OG Dark Gray: Participated in earlier OG Green: Country participated for the first time Dark Blue: Country participated also on previous games Red: Country boycotted the sailing event of the OG
Sweden(SWE), Finn sailor Rickard Sarby, also designer of the Finn, injured his right hand during however he took the third place
Australia(AUS), Jock Sturrock the first Australian to represent his country in sailing, became later honoured with the Lindy Award for sportsmanship, Australian yachtsman of the year and ultimately Australian of the year.
At the 1952 Olympic Games
Crownprince Olav of Norway, member of the Jury in Helsinki, with Norwegian Dragon sailor Thor Thorvaldsen (right).