Sailing at the 1952 Summer Olympics

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 the canceled 1916 Summer Olympics, sailing has always been included on the Olympic schedule. The Sailing program of the 1952 Summer Olympics 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.[1]

at the Games of the XV Olympiad
1952 Helsinki Pin.jpg
Official pin of the 1952 Summer Olympics
DatesFirst race: 20 July 1952 (1952-07-20)
Last race: 28 July 1952 (1952-07-28)
Competitors227 from 29 nations
← 1948
1956 →

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.


Island Lighthouse Harmaja
Coordinates: 60°6′16.88″N 24°58′26.93″E / 60.1046889°N 24.9741472°E / 60.1046889; 24.9741472
Liuskasaari Olympic Harbor
Coordinates: 60°9′6″N 24°56′52″E / 60.15167°N 24.94778°E / 60.15167; 24.94778

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.

Three yacht clubs were involved:



Continents Countries Classes Boats Male Female
5 29 5 93 227 3



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
  Argentina (ARG)   Australia (AUS)   Austria (AUT)
  Bahamas (BAH)   Belgium (BEL)   Brazil (BRA)
  Canada (CAN)   Cuba (CUB)   Denmark (DEN)
  Spain (ESP)   Finland (FIN)   France (FRA)
  Great Britain (GBR)   Germany (GER)   Greece (GRE)
  Ireland (IRL)   Italy (ITA)   Japan (JPN)
  Monaco (MON)   Netherlands (NED)   Norway (NOR)
  Portugal (POR)   South Africa (RSA)   Switzerland (SUI)
  Sweden (SWE)   Soviet Union (URS)   Uruguay (URU)
  United States (USA)   Yugoslavia (YUG)

Classes (equipment)Edit

Class Type Event Sailors Trapeze Mainsail Jib/Genoa Spinnaker First OG Olympics so far
Finn Dinghy   1 0 + 1952 1
Star Keelboat   2 0 + + 1932 4
Dragon Keelboat   3 0 + + + 1948 2
5.5 Metre Keelboat   3 0 + + + 1952 1
6 Metre Keelboat   5 0 + + + 1908 9
Legend:   = Male,   = Female,   = Open

Medal summaryEdit

Event Gold Silver Bronze

1952: Finn

  Denmark (DEN)
Paul Elvstrøm
  Great Britain (GBR)
Charles Currey
  Sweden (SWE)
Rickard Sarby

1952: Star

  Italy (ITA)
Agostino Straulino
Nicolò Rode
  United States (USA)
John Price
John Reid
  Portugal (POR)
Joaquim Fiúza
Francisco de Andrade

1952: Dragon

  Norway (NOR)
Thor Thorvaldsen
Haakon Barfod
Sigve Lie
  Sweden (SWE)
Per Gedda
Erland Almqvist
Sidney Boldt-Christmas
  Germany (GER)
Theodor Thomsen
Erich Natusch
Georg Nowka

1952: 5.5 Metre

  United States (USA)
Britton Chance
Michael Schoettle
Edgar White
Sumner White
  Norway (NOR)
Peder Lunde
Vibeke Lunde
Børre Falkum-Hansen
  Sweden (SWE)
Folke Wassén
Carl-Erik Ohlson
Magnus Wassén

1952: 6 Metre

  United States (USA)
Herman Whiton
Everard Endt
John Morgan
Eric Ridder
Julian Roosevelt
Emelyn Whiton
  Norway (NOR)
Finn Ferner
Tor Arneberg
Johan Ferner
Erik Heiberg
Carl Mortensen
  Finland (FIN)
Ernst Westerlund
Ragnar Jansson
Jonas Konto
Rolf Turkka
Paul Sjöberg

Medal tableEdit

1  United States (USA)2103
2  Norway (NOR)1203
3  Denmark (DEN)1001
  Italy (ITA)1001
5  Sweden (SWE)0123
6  Great Britain (GBR)0101
7  Finland (FIN)0011
  Germany (GER)0011
  Portugal (POR)0011
Totals (9 nations)55515


Finn dinghies under construction by Borresens Baadebygger, Denmark
  • Sailors from abroad were housed in the homes of Finnish yachtsmen
  • Two motor launches accommodated pressmen on the yacht race courses
  • Only the Yachting officials wore a different official uniform, blue coat and grey trousers
  • The Danish shipyard of Borresens Baadebygger was the builder of all Finn dinghies, since then till the beginning of the 21st century closely committed to Olympic Sailing.


During the sailing regattas at the 1952 Summer Olympics among others the following persons were competing in the various classes:

  •   Denmark (DEN), Paul Elvstrøm in the Finn won his second consecutive Gold medal
  •   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 in the Dragon. Later skipper of "Gretel" and "Dame Pattie", the first two Australian challenges for the America's Cup.


  1. ^ "Sailing at the 1952 Summer Olympics". Olympedia. Retrieved 31 May 2020.