Sailing at the 1996 Summer Olympics

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at the Games of the XXVI Olympiad
Venues Savannah
Dates First race: 22 July 1996 (1996-07-22)
Last race: 2 August 1996 (1996-08-02)
Sailors 461 (361 male, 100 female) from 78 countries
Boats and Boards 312
Top ranked countries
Brazil: 1st, gold medalist(s)  2nd, silver medalist(s)  3rd, bronze medalist(s)  
Spain: 1st, gold medalist(s)  2nd, silver medalist(s)  3rd, bronze medalist(s)  
Ukraine: 1st, gold medalist(s)  2nd, silver medalist(s)  3rd, bronze medalist(s)  
← 1992
2000 →

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 1996 consisted of a total of ten sailing classes (disciplines). For each class, with the exception of the Soling, eleven races were scheduled from July 22 to August 2, 1996 of the coast of Savannah at the Wassaw Sound (an area of the Atlantic Ocean). For the Soling ten fleetraces were scheduled followed by a series of matchraces for the top 6 boats of the fleetrace result. The sailing was done on the various types of course configurations.


Day Marina
Skyline of Day Marina
Coordinates: 31°56′01″N 80°56′59″W / 31.93361°N 80.94972°W / 31.93361; -80.94972

According to the IOC statutes the contests in all sport disciplines must be held either in, or as close as possible to the city which the IOC has chosen. An exception was made for the Olympic yachting events, which customarily must be staged on the open sea. On account of this principle, the city of Savannah was chosen for the organization of the sailing events. Spectators were given the opportunity to board boats that will sail out to the courses to provide a close look at the competition. About 1000 spectators per day made use of the opportunity.

The sailing events were held of the coast of Savannah at the Wassaw Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. The venue used three locations:

  • Satellite Olympic Village in Savannah
  • Olympic marina on Wilmington Island. The Stars and Solings, were towed between the Olympic marina and their race areas.
  • Day marina, a temporary barge system (14,000 m2) near the north side of Wassaw Sound at the mouth of the Wilmington River. The day marina was used as a forward launch area for the dinghies and windsurf boards.
Black = Marina's
Blue = Alpha course
Green = Bravo course
Yellow = Charly course
Red = Delta course

Separate course areas were used for the following pairs of classes:

  • Mistral one-design (men and women)
  • Europe and Laser
  • Finn and Star
  • 470 (men and women)
  • Tornado and Soling (fleetracing)
  • Soling (matchracing)



Continents Countries Classes Boats Male Female
6 78 10 312 361 100



Countries that participated in the Sailing event of the 1996 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
 Netherlands Antilles (AHO)  Andorra (AND)  Antigua and Barbuda (ANT)
 Argentina (ARG)  American Samoa (ASA)  Australia (AUS)
 Austria (AUT)  Bahamas (BAH)  Barbados (BAR)
 Belgium (BEL)  Bermuda (BER)  Belarus (BLR)
 Brazil (BRA)  Bahrain (BRN)  Canada (CAN)
 Cayman Islands (CAY)  Chile (CHI)  China (CHN)
 Cook Islands (COK)  Croatia (CRO)  Cuba (CUB)
 Cyprus (CYP)  Czech Republic (CZE)  Denmark (DEN)
 Djibouti (DJI)  Ecuador (ECU)  Spain (ESP)
 Estonia (EST)  Fiji (FIJ)  Finland (FIN)
 France (FRA)  Great Britain (GBR)  Georgia (GEO)
 Germany (GER)  Greece (GRE)  Guatemala (GUA)
 Guam (GUM)  Hong Kong (HKG)  Hungary (HUN)
 Indonesia (INA)  Ireland (IRL)  Israel (ISR)
 Virgin Islands (ISV)  Italy (ITA)  British Virgin Islands (IVB)
 Jamaica (JAM)  Japan (JPN)  South Korea (KOR)
 Latvia (LAT)  Saint Lucia (LCA)  Malaysia (MAS)
 Mexico (MEX)  Malta (MLT)  Netherlands (NED)
 Norway (NOR)  New Zealand (NZL)  Paraguay (PAR)
 Poland (POL)  Portugal (POR)  Puerto Rico (PUR)
 Qatar (QAT)  Romania (ROM)  South Africa (RSA)
 Russia (RUS)  Seychelles (SEY)  Singapore (SIN)
 Slovenia (SLO)  San Marino (SMR)  Switzerland (SUI)
 Slovakia (SVK)  Sweden (SWE)  Thailand (THA)
 Chinese Taipei (TPE)  Turkey (TUR)  Ukraine (UKR)
 Uruguay (URU)  United States (USA)  Venezuela (VEN)

Classes (equipment)[edit]

Class Type Event Sailors Trapeze Mainsail Jibb/Genoa Spinnaker First OG Olympics so far
Mistral One Design Class Surfboard Venus symbol.svg 1 0 + - - 1996 1
Mistral One Design Class Surfboard Mars symbol.svg 1 0 + - - 1996 1
Europe Dinghy Venus symbol.svg 1 0 + - - 1992 2
Laser Dinghy Cercle noir 100%.svg 1 0 + - - 1996 1
Finn Dinghy Mars symbol.svg 1 0 + - - 1952 12
470 Dinghy Venus symbol.svg 2 1 + + + 1988 3
470 Dinghy Mars symbol.svg 2 1 + + + 1976 6
Tornado Multihull Cercle noir 100%.svg 2 1 + + - 1976 6
Star Keelboat Cercle noir 100%.svg 2 0 + + - 1932 14
Soling Keelboat Cercle noir 100%.svg 3 0 + + + 1972 7
1996 Olympic Classes designs

Medal summary[edit]

Women's events[edit]

Event Gold Silver Bronze
NO Class insigna.png

1996: Women's Mistral One Design

 Hong Kong (HKG)
Lee Lai Shan
 New Zealand (NZL)
Barbara Kendall
 Italy (ITA)
Alessandra Sensini
Europe insigna.png

1996: Europe

 Denmark (DEN)
Kristine Roug
 Netherlands (NED)
Margriet Matthijsse
 United States (USA)
Courtenay Becker-Dey
470 insigna.png

1996: Women's 470

 Spain (ESP)
Theresa Zabell
Begoña Vía-Dufresne
 Japan (JPN)
Yumiko Shige
Alicia Kinoshita
 Ukraine (UKR)
Ruslana Taran
Olena Pakholchik

Men's events[edit]

Event Gold Silver Bronze
NO Class insigna.png

1996: Men's Mistral One Design

 Greece (GRE)
Nikolaos Kaklamanakis
 Argentina (ARG)
Carlos Espinola
 Israel (ISR)
Gal Fridman
Finn insigna.png

1996: Finn

 Poland (POL)
Mateusz Kusznierewicz
 Belgium (BEL)
Sebastien Godefroid
 Netherlands (NED)
Roy Heiner
470 insigna.png

1996: Men's 470

 Ukraine (UKR)
Yevhen Braslavets
Ihor Matviyenko
 Great Britain (GBR)
John Merricks
Ian Walker
 Portugal (POR)
Victor Rocha
Nuno Barreto

Open events[edit]

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Laser insigna.png

1996: Laser

 Brazil (BRA)
Robert Scheidt
 Great Britain (GBR)
Ben Ainslie
 Norway (NOR)
Peer Moberg
Tornado insigna.png

1996: Tornado

 Spain (ESP)
Fernando León
José Luis Ballester
 Australia (AUS)
Mitch Booth
Andrew Landenberger
 Brazil (BRA)
Lars Grael
Henrique Pellicano
NO Class insigna.png

1996: Star

 Brazil (BRA)
Torben Grael
Marcelo Ferreira
 Sweden (SWE)
Hans Wallen
Bobby Lohse
 Australia (AUS)
Colin Beashel
David Giles
Soling insigna.png

1996: Soling

 Germany (GER)
Jochen Schümann
Thomas Flach
Bernd Jäkel
 Russia (RUS)
Georgi Shayduko
Dmitri Shabanov
Igor Skalin
 United States (USA)
Jeff Madrigali
Jim Barton
Kent Massey

Medal table[edit]

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Brazil (BRA) 2 0 1 3
2  Spain (ESP) 2 0 0 2
3  Ukraine (UKR) 1 0 1 2
4  Denmark (DEN) 1 0 0 1
 Germany (GER) 1 0 0 1
 Greece (GRE) 1 0 0 1
 Hong Kong (HKG) 1 0 0 1
 Poland (POL) 1 0 0 1
9  Great Britain (GBR) 0 2 0 2
10  Australia (AUS) 0 1 1 2
 Netherlands (NED) 0 1 1 2
12  Argentina (ARG) 0 1 0 1
 Belgium (BEL) 0 1 0 1
 Japan (JPN) 0 1 0 1
 New Zealand (NZL) 0 1 0 1
 Russia (RUS) 0 1 0 1
 Sweden (SWE) 0 1 0 1
18  United States (USA) 0 0 2 2
19  Israel (ISR) 0 0 1 1
 Italy (ITA) 0 0 1 1
 Norway (NOR) 0 0 1 1
 Portugal (POR) 0 0 1 1
Total 10 10 10 30



After the qualification was finished the following sailors were granted a wildcard:


Bertha 9 July 1996.jpg
  • The Olympic sailing facility at Savannah was before the opening of the Olympic Games (July 10) within the Hurricane Bertha warning area. Tornados, Stars and Solings were moved to the Sheraton facility. The Day Marina and the Sheraton are being evacuated; the evacuation was complete by 6 PM.
  • On July 27 a Bomb explodes in Centennial Park in Atlanta, one person died, and 111 were injured. The Games continued.


  • In the Soling some irregularities were found in the construction of the hull. The Soling Class rules specify the hull laminate for each part of the hull. The measurement methods in the Soling are of high standards to ensure the One Design principle. The USA boat was found correct. . The Danish team however was randomly assigned the Spanish spare boat from the pool.
  • In the 470 men the team from the USA also needed to use a spare boat.

Weather conditions[edit]

The winds on a typical day in Savannah begin is as follows:

  • In the morning a light breeze from the west to the Northwest at about 5 knots
  • The winds diminish in the late mornings
  • By midday, the sea breeze circulation begins. When the sea breeze does rise, the winds backs to the south and Southeast
  • Wind speed in the afternoon average between 7 and 12 knots

Olympic weather reports were provided by the National Weather Service from the locations Atlanta and Savannah. Doppler weather radar was used from Charleston, South Carolina. From Jacksonville, Florida the weather above the offshore courses was observed.


During the Sailing regattas at the 1996 Summer Olympics among others the following persons were competing in the various classes:

Sailors at the 1996 Olympic Games