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4 April 2012, 10:53 am
Retracing Roots - Helsinki 1952 Olympic Sailing Competition
1952 Olympics Games Poster
1952 Olympics Games Poster

Retracing Roots - Helsinki 1952 Olympic Sailing Competition
Helsinki, Finland

The Olympic Games were going from strength to strength with 69 nations competing in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. And Olympic Sailing continued its global spread with 93 boats from 29 countries taking part.
Racing began on Sunday 20 July and ran until Monday 28 July with two rest days in between. The five classes on show were split between two courses. The Finn class was staged on the 5.4 sea-miles long Liuskasaari course allowing spectators to view from onshore. Meanwhile the 5.5 metre, 6-metre, Dragon and Star raced in a larger open water course.

The Americans topped the sailing medal table with one gold and one silver whilst host nation Finland only managed to pick up a bronze medal on home water. Full results available here.

6-Metre Class Bows Out

The 6-Metre class made its debut at the Paris 1900 Olympic Sailing Competition with Swiss sailors picking up the race honours. But the class made its final appearance at the Helsinki Olympics with 56 sailors competing from 11 nations.

The Americans took gold in Helsinki but over ten Olympic Games the Norwegians were the most prominent, picking up three consecutive gold medals in Antwerp 1920, Paris 1924 and Amsterdam 1928.

Fint Class Debut…

At the Olympic Monotype trials in May 1950 the Rickard Sarby designed Fint was selected as the equipment to replace the Olympic Jolle and Firefly.

Sarby then handed over the rights to the Finnish Yachting Association who changed the boats name to what it is today, the Finn.

Paul Elvstrom (DEN) became the first Finn Olympic Champion in 1952, a position he did not relinquish until 1960 before he returned to the Olympics in 1968 in the Star class.

The Future

The Olympic Games headed south of the equator for the first time in 1956 with Melbourne, Australia selected as host. Five classes were sailed at various locations on Port Philip Bay.
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