Country of the host city
Given its proximity to the worst of World War I, Antwerp, Belgium was a surprising choice. Less surprising was that Germany and the rest of Allies' opponents - Austria, Hungary and Turkey - were not invited. New Zealand appeared for the first time in its own right. Previously Kiwis appeared in the Australasian team.
Only 14 nations took in all competition, not surprising given the human and economic ravages of the war. In keeping with the unusual circumstances, the yachting regatta featured no fewer than 14 classes. Four of them were doubled up with the 6-, 8-, 10-and 12-metres classes each racing in Old Rule and New Rule formulae. Seven classes had one solitary entry, which must have resulted in some of the easiest-earned gold medals in Olympic history. Ostende hosted the sailing and there were two positive aspects.
For the first time dinghy classes were introduced: the 12ft and 18ft classes. And the duplication of the International Rules classes prompted rationalisation in the future and interest in one-designs. Belgian Leon Huybrechts became the first medallist in different Games adding the 6-metre New Rule silver to the one he'd secured in 1908. The sport was exercised about the objective of the Olympic races. "Are they intended to be a test of seamanship or a test of yachts? Or both? "asked Yachting World. The question was posed because one of Belgium's gold was won by a Linton Hope designed boat built by Frank Maynard in Chiswick, London.