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9 May 2012, 01:17 pm
Retracing Roots - Munich 1972 Olympic Sailing Competition
1972 Olympic Poster
1972 Olympic Poster

Munich 1972 Olympic Games
Kiel, Germany

If Japan had set a standard for facilities then the German exceeded it. The main Games were in Munich this time but Kiel hosted the yachting as it had done in 1936.
"The world's most complete regatta site," was how American Dick Rose described it. The USA won three medals. Germany needed impressive facilities as it had to cater for 152 boats from 42 nations. The Schilksee facility remains in use today, the high-rise athletes' village now private apartments. In fact, Schilksee had all the paraphernalia of a contemporary venue, including perimeter fencing.

The number of classes grew from five to six for the first time since 1948. And for the one first time, they were all one-design classes. Out went the 5.5-metre and in came the two- person planning keelboat, the Tempest, and the three-man keelboat, the Soling. Its first ever gold medallist was Buddy Melges, adding to his 1964 bronze in the FD, and sailing with Bill Bentsen and William Allen. Having won the American trials in a breezy San Francisco Bay, he made short work of the sub-10 knots conditions in Kiel. Rodney Pattisson proved he was Flying Dutchman king, with a second successive gold.

Full results from the competition can be found here.

Royalty Continue To Sail

Sailings link with Royalty continued in Munich 1972 as Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh of Thailand sailed in his fourth Olympics. The former Formula One driver turned to Olympic Sailing in 1955.

Joining the Thai Prince was HRH Harald V of Noway who finished tenth in the Soling and Sar Juan Carlos de Borbon who finished 15th in the Dragon class.

Kiel Host Opening Ceremony

With the Munich Olympic Stadium over 850km away from Kiel an Opening Ceremony for the Olympic sailors was granted by the IOC.

The opening ceremony took place in a festive setting and bright sunshine at 11:00am on Monday 28 August 1972 in front of 10,000 spectators. Around the ceremonial square at the Olympic Center Schilksee the OC had had a semi-circular terraced grandstand erected, which extended in this form an additional 200 meters along the connecting promenade. Besides the grandstands for guests of honour approximately 2,500 seats were provided.

The spectators were offered a joyfully coloured scene on the inlet in front of the Olympic Center Schilksee: hundreds of young sailors from all parts of the State of Schleswig-Holstein had come in their small boats whose brightly coloured sails to welcome the athletes.

The Future

Olympic Sailing went in a new direction at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games with the introduction of a two person dinghy, the 470, and a multihull with the Tornado class. The Sailing Competition took place at Kingston, Ontario with the Games held under the tightest security following the death of nine Israeli athletes at Munich.

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