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Sailing at the 1932 Summer Olympics

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Title: Sailing at the 1932 Summer Olympics  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Olympic sailing classes, Bob Maas, Snowbird (sailboat), Sailing at the 1932 Summer Olympics – Snowbird, Sailing at the 1932 Summer Olympics – Star
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Sailing at the 1932 Summer Olympics

at the Games of the X Olympiad
Venues Los Angeles Harbor
Dates First race: 5 August 1932 (1932-08-05)
Last race: 12 August 1932 (1932-08-12)
Sailors 57 from 11 countries
Boats 23
Top ranked countries
United States: 1st  2nd  3rd  
Sweden: 1st  2nd  3rd  
France: 1st  2nd  3rd  

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 possible 1916 sailing was always a part of the Olympic program. The Sailing program of 1932 consisted of a total of four sailing classes (disciplines). For each class races were scheduled from 5–12 August of the coast of Los Angeles Harbor on the Pacific Ocean.[1]


Los Angeles Harbor

The venue of the Xth Olympiad sailing event was off the coast of Los Angeles Harbor. For the Star, 6 and 8 Metre the races were held on the broad Pacific. For the Snowbird-monotype the course area was near the coast sheltered by the San Pedro Breakwater.

Many of the sailors lived, during the Olympics, near the harbor area. For those who lived in the Olympic village transport was arranged.

For the Olympics in general and sailing specific, having the Olympics in the USA, in the midst of the financial crisis, was a challenge. The safe choice of using the Metre classes turned out to be a very expensive one. Transporting the yachts to Los Angeles was hardly possible in the economical climate. The new Olympic Star was hardly used in Europe and not many sailors knew how to handle this difficult keelboat. With a significant effort, by the Southern California Yachting Association, arrangements were made for foreign country to use local Stars, 6 and 8 Metres. Thirty Snowbirds were provided by the Olympic Committee but only eleven were needed.

But at the end of the day sailing proved to be strong enough to survive this period in time by showing good sailing and good management of the event. At the next Olympics Sailing was stronger than ever.

For the first time the all Olympic sports were held in the same period of the year. Sailing was now a complete integrated part of the Olympics.



Continents Countries Classes Boats Male Female
2 11 4 23 ? 0


  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Americas


Countries that participated in the Sailing event of the 1932 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
 Austria (AUT)  Canada (CAN)  Spain (ESP)
 France (FRA)  Germany (GER)  Great Britain (GBR)
 Italy (ITA)  Netherlands (NED)  South Africa (RSA)
 Sweden (SWE)  United States (USA)

Classes (equipment)

At first the International 14 Dinghy was chosen for the monotype races. However this idea was abandoned since this is normally a double handed boat. Finally the Snowbird, a small V-bottom Catboat, was selected for the task. As double handed one design the Star made her first appearance at the Olympics.
Class Type Event Sailors Trapeze Mainsail Jib/Genoa Spinnaker First OG Olympics so far
Snowbird Dinghy 1 0 + 1932 1
Star Dinghy 2 0 + + 1932 1
6 Metre Keelboat 4 0 + + + 1908 6
8 Metre Keelboat 6 0 + + + 1908 6

= Male, = Female, = Open

1932 Olympic Classes designs

Medal summary

Event Gold Silver Bronze

1932: Snowbird

 France (FRA)
Jacques Lebrun
 Netherlands (NED)
Bob Maas
 Spain (ESP)
Santiago Amat

1932: Star

 United States (USA)
Gilbert Gray
Andrew Libano
 Great Britain (GBR)
George Colin Ratsey
Peter Jaffe
 Sweden (SWE)
Gunnar Asther
Daniel Sundén-Cullberg

1932: 6 Metre

 Sweden (SWE)
Tore Holm
Olle Åkerlund
Åke Bergqvist
Martin Hindorff
 United States (USA)
Robert Carlson
Temple Ashbrook
Frederic Conant
Emmett Davis
Donald Douglas
Charles Smith
 Canada (CAN)
Philip Rogers
Gardner Boultbee
Kenneth Glass
Gerald Wilson

1932: 8 Metre

 United States (USA)
Owen Churchill
John Biby
Alphonse Burnand
Kenneth Carey
William Cooper
Pierpont Davis
Carl Dorsey
John Huettner
Richard Moore
Alan Morgan
Robert Sutton
Thomas Webster
 Canada (CAN)
Ronald Maitland
Ernest Cribb
Peter Gordon
George Gyles
Harry Jones
Hubert Wallace
No further competitors

Medal tables

Sailing 1932

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States (USA) 2 1 0 3
2  Sweden (SWE) 1 0 1 2
3  France (FRA) 1 0 0 1
4  Canada (CAN) 0 1 1 2
5  Great Britain (GBR) 0 1 0 1
 Netherlands (NED) 0 1 0 1
7  Spain (ESP) 0 0 1 1
Total 4 4 3 11

Sailing 1896–1932

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Norway 12 5 1 18
2  United Kingdom 9 3 2 14
3  France 5 7 7 19
4  Sweden 5 4 3 12
5  Netherlands 2 3 1 6
6  Belgium 2 2 1 5
7  United States 2 1 1 4
8   Switzerland 1 0 0 1
 Mixed team (ZZX) 1 0 0 1
10  Denmark 0 3 0 3
11  Finland 0 1 4 5
12  Canada 0 1 1 2
13  Germany 0 1 0 1
14  Spain 0 0 1 1
 Estonia 0 0 1 1
 Russia 0 0 1 1
Total 16 39 31 24 94


  • For the first time a consistent point system for all races in all events was used (1932 Olympic scoring system).
  • The Olympic creed was well spread during this Olympics. Maybe ironic to see that by the next time Los Angeles was the home of the Olympics, it also marked a turning point in the Olympic movement and winning became more and more important.
  • In the officiel report is mentioned that the NAVY vessels took nicely care that the course area of the Snowbirds was free of traffic. In the book of Hugh Drake the Canadian Snowbird sailor complains that the huge NAVY vessels created a lot of wind shadow over the course.
  • During the US 8 Metre trials the team of Owen Churchill beat the team of his brother in law Pierpont Davis. During the Olympics a team for the 8 Metre could have a reserve for every position. By combining the teams for the Olympics and smart exchange of crewmembers for every race, each crewmember of the trials won a gold medal.


During the Sailing regatta's at the 1932 Summer Olympics among others the following persons were competing in the various classes:


  1. ^ The Canadian book: Canada's Olympic Sailing Legacy, Paris 1924 – Beijing 2008, By Hugh Drake] and Paul Henderson, speak of Newport Beach as venue for the 1932 Olympic Sailing.
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