Sailing at the Summer Olympics

Sailing (also known as yachting until 2000) has been one of the Olympic sports since the Games of the I Olympiad, held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. Despite being scheduled in the first Olympic program, the races were canceled due to severe weather conditions. Apart from the 1904 Summer Olympics, sailing has been present in every edition of the Olympic Games.

  • For the scoring system used for sailing events during the Olympics look at: Scoring systems for Sailing at the Summer Olympics
  • A directory page to all Olympic sailors is given at: List of sailors at the Summer Olympics
  • Information about the Sailing at specific Summer Olympics or the used equipment can be found using the table below:
  • Gender - Until 1988, sailing was a gender neutral 'open' sport where male and female sailors competed together. Even in 1900, several women participated at the Olympic sailing regattas. The exception to this is the post WWII 1948 Olympics where the IOC decided the events should only be open to male sailors.[1] In 1988, the first exclusive women's sailing event was introduced.[2] Sailing was also one of the first sports to introduce a compulsory mixed gender events in 2016 the Mixed Multihull was introduced.
  • Discipline - Most of the Olympic sailing competitions were done in what is called a fleet race format. At some Olympics, however, was also the match race format, or a mixed fleet/match race format.
  • Classes - Over time, different classes of boat featured at the Olympics. Initially, the classes were specified in tons, then later in meters, feet or generic names. For the discontinued classes, the Vintage Yachting Games were introduced in 2008.
  • Medal Tables - Great Britain leads the Olympic sailing medal ranking table.
Sailing at the Summer Olympics
Governing bodyWS
Events10 (men: 5; women: 4; mixed: 1)


  • 1896: A regatta of sailing boats was on the program for 31 March 1896 (1896-03-31) in Athens. However this event had to be given up since there were no boats available from Greece and no foreign entries.
  • 1900: Two venues were used to host the 1900 Sailing events. One in Meulan 20 May 1900 (1900-05-20) till 27 May 1900 (1900-05-27) for the inshore races on the river Seine. And one in Le Havre 1 August 1900 (1900-08-01) till 5 August 1900 (1900-08-05) for the Offshore races on the English Channel. In Meulan six classes were used over several days. About 55 boats and a little less than 150 sailors are documented, included the first female gold medalist Hélène de Pourtalès. In Le Havre two classes were used for the offshore event. About 10 boats made the competition. Crewmembers were not documented, just the owners and/or helmsmen.
  • 1904: Sailing was not a part of the Olympic program.
  • 1908: At the 1907 The Hague Conference of the IOC Ryde at the Isle of Wight was appointed to host the sailing regattas, for all classes, of the games of the IVth Olympiad. However, when there were only two British entries for the 12 Metre matches, and both yachts were located at the Firth of Clyde, the decision was made to use Hunters Quay as a second venue. In 1906 international meetings were organized to solve the problem of the differences in the performance of the different yachts. Finally in Paris, October 1907 the first International Rule was ratified. During the meeting in 1907 the IOC made the decision to use the International Rule classes for the Olympic regattas (6, 7, 8 and 12 Metre).
  • 1912: When Sweden was assigned to host the 1912 Olympic Games two cities wanted to be the venue for the sailing program. Gothenburg and Stockholm. Gothenburg claimed that it was a much shorter passage for the overseas entries (about 525 nautical miles (972 km) less) than it was to Stockholm. Stockholm however got the sailing program because of then all Olympic events should be in the same vicinity. As specific location Nynäshamn, about 60 kilometres (37 mi) from Stockholm was chosen. Also the decision was made to use the International Rule classes again for the Olympic regattas (6, 8, 10 and 12 Metre).
  • 1920: When Antwerp was assigned to host the 1920 Olympic Games, Ostend was appointed for the sailing contests. Ostend - "The Queen of the Belgian sea-side resorts" - offers fair condition for sailing on the North Sea. Although there are tidal conditions the current is reasonable predictable. Local knowledge does not have too much influence on the races. The wind conditions are also good for sailing. In the case of the 1920 Summer Olympic regatta's the prevailing breeze did not show. Most races had to be sailed under light air conditions. The competition was open for a total of sixteen classes. Two classes had a "No show".
  • 1924: After the massive amount of classes used four years earlier only three classes were selected for the 1924 Olympics. Again there was a one design class. The two other classes were construction classes of the International Metre type. Two locations were used: Meulan was the venue for the Olympic regatta's in the French National Monotype. The host club for the 1924 Olympic Sailing at Meulan was the Cercle de la Voile de Paris. The race conditions at Meulan during the Olympic regatta were not ideal. The light breeze during the first elimination series could hardly make the sailing interesting. Le Havre was the venue for the Olympic regattas for the 6 and 8 Metre. The host club for the 1924 Olympic Sailing at Le Havre was the Société des Régates du Havre. Due to the Easterly winds the courses at Le Havre were mostly reaches. Sailing a windward leg was not really tested. This however was more or less custom for that era. Furthermore, this was the first Olympic regatta were just one competing team per class per country was allowed.
  • 1928: Like in the 1924 Olympics only three classes were chosen. There was the revival of the 12' Dinghy from the 1920 Olympics and again the proven 6 and 8 Metre classes. This Olympic sailing regatta can be considered as the first Olympic regatta with a high quality of racing since there were: Well selected classes that represented sailing; Sufficient competitors per class and good and fair sailing conditions. The only disadvantage was the daily passing of the Oranjesluizen.

Olympic classes (equipment)

Over the years the classes used in the Olympic Sailing Program were replaced from time to time. This table shows this development:

ClassE96[3]00[4]04[5]081216[6]202428323640[7]44[8]485256606468727680848892960004081216Sailed Events

Boats of the Royal NavyO 0
½ tonO 1
½-1 tonO 1
1-2 tonO 1
2-3 tonO 1
3-10 tonO 1
10-20 tonO 1
Open classO 1
6 Metre1907 11
1933 O
1933 M
7 Metre1907 2
8 Metre1907 8
12 Metre1907 4
15 Metre1907 0
10 Metre1907 3
9 Metre1907 0
12 foot dinghyO 2
18 foot dinghyO 1
6,5 MetreO 1
8.5 MetreO 0
30m2 classO 1
40m2 classO 1
French National Monotype 1924O 1
SnowbirdO 1
StarO 19
O-JolleO 1
DragonO 7
M 7
SwallowM 1
FireflyM 1
FinnO 17
5,5 MetreO 5
Sharpie 12m2O 1
Flying DutchmanO 9
SolingO 8
TempestO 2
TornadoO 9
470O 17
WindgliderM 1
Division IIM 1
LechnerM 2
EuropeW 4
MistralM 6
LaserO 6
49erO 5
YnglingW 2
Laser RadialW 3
Elliott 6mWm 1
49erFXW 1
Nacra 17Mx 1
47total1705416334435555556667810101111111010 181
ClassEvent96[3]00[4]04[5]081216[6]202428323640[7]44[8]485256606468727680848892960004081216Sailed Events
  • M = Male - Fleet Racing
  • W = Female - Fleet Racing
  • Wm = Female - match race
  • Mx = Male and Female - Fleet Racing
  • O = Male and/or Female (Open) - Fleet Racing
  • Oc = Male and/or Female (Open) - Fleet racing qualification with matchracing to determine the winners
  • 1907 = 1907 version of the IYRU Metre Class Rules
  • 1919 = 1919 version of the IYRU Metre Class Rules
  • 1933 = 1933 version of the IYRU Metre Class Rules

Race types

Race type960004[5]08121620242832364044485256606468727680848892960004081216Sailed Events
Fleet 31
Match●W 1
Combined FRQ+MR 3

Olympic sailing venues

Pictures will be replaced by more relevant photos.

GamesYearHostCitySailing venueOpeningClosingViewClasses
I1896  (GRE)AthensPiraeus1-APR1-APRCancelled
II 1900   (FRA) ParisMeulan20-MAY27-MAYAll, except ...
Le Havre1-AUG5-AUG10–20 ton
III1904  (USA)St. Louis Not programmed
IV 1908   (GBR) LondonRyde27-JUL29-JUL6 Metre
7 Metre
8 Metre
Hunter's Quay11-AUG12-AUG12 Metre
V1912  (SWE)StockholmNynäshamn19-JUL22-JULAll
VI1916  (GER)Berlin Probably not programmed
VII 1920   (BEL) AntwerpOstend7-JUL10-JULAll, except...
The NetherlandsSEPSEPFinals 12 foot dinghy
VIII 1924   (FRA) ParisMeulan10-JUL13-JULFrench National Monotype 1924
Le Havre21-JUL26-JUL6 Metre
8 Metre
IX 1928   (NED) AmsterdamDurgerdam 2-AUG 9-AUGAll
X1932  (USA)Los AngelesPort of Los Angeles5-AUG[9]12-AUGAll
XI1936  (GER)BerlinKiel4-AUG16-AUGAll
XII 1940  (JPN)TokyoYokohama harbour21-SEP6-OCTAll
  (FIN)Helsinki Program not madeCancelled
XIII1944 Olympics suspended
XIV1948  (GBR)LondonTorquay4-AUG12-AUGAll
XV1952  (FIN)HelsinkiHarmaja20-JUL28-JULAll
XVI1956  (AUS)MelbournePort Phillip Bay26-NOV5-DECAll
XVII1960  (ITA)RomeNaples29-AUG7-SEPAll
XVIII1964  (JPN)TokyoEnoshima12-OCT23-OCTAll
XIX1968  (MEX)Mexico CityAcapulco13-OCT25-OCTAll
XX1972  (FRG)MunichKiel29-AUG8-SEPAll
XXI1976  (CAN)MontrealKingston, Ontario18-JUL31-JULAll
XXII1980  (URS)MoscowTallinn, Estonian SSR21-JUL29-JULAll
XXIII1984  (USA)Los AngelesLong Beach, California31-JUL8-AUGAll
XXIV1988  (KOR)SeoulBusan20-SEP27-SEPAll
XXV1992  (ESP)BarcelonaBarcelona27-JUL4-AUGAll
XXVI1996  (USA)AtlantaSavannah, Georgia22-JUL2-AUGAll
XXVII2000  (AUS)SydneySydney17-SEP30-SEPAll
XXVIII2004  (GRE)AthensAthens14-AUG28-AUGAll
XXIX2008  (CHN)BeijingQingdao9-AUG21-AUGAll
XXX2012  (GBR)LondonWeymouth and Portland28-JUL11-AUGAll
XXXI2016  (BRA)Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro8-AUG18-AUGAll

Medal table

This list includes Olympic medals in years up to and including 2016.[10]

1 Great Britain (GBR)28191158
2 United States (USA)19231860
3 Norway (NOR)1711331
4 Spain (ESP)135119
5 France (FRA)1291435
6 Denmark (DEN)129930
7 Australia (AUS)118827
8 Sweden (SWE)10121335
9 New Zealand (NZL)97622
10 Netherlands (NED)78722
11 Brazil (BRA)73818
12 Soviet Union (URS)45312
13 Germany (GER)34411
14 Austria (AUT)3418
15 Italy (ITA)33814
16 Greece (GRE)3238
17 Belgium (BEL)2439
18 China (CHN)2316
19 Finland (FIN)22711
20 West Germany (FRG)2237
21 East Germany (GDR)2226
22 Mixed team (ZZX)2002
23 Argentina (ARG)14510
24 Ukraine (UKR)1225
25 Switzerland (SUI)1113
 United Team of Germany (EUA)1113
27 Croatia (CRO)1102
28 Poland (POL)1034
29 Israel (ISR)1023
30 Bahamas (BAH)1012
31 Hong Kong (HKG)1001
32 Canada (CAN)0369
33 Portugal (POR)0224
34 Slovenia (SLO)0213
35 Ireland (IRL)0202
36 Russia (RUS)0123
37 Japan (JPN)0112
38 Cuba (CUB)0101
 Cyprus (CYP)0101
 Czech Republic (CZE)0101
 Lithuania (LTU)0101
 Netherlands Antilles (AHO)0101
 Virgin Islands (ISV)0101
44 Estonia (EST)0022
45 Hungary (HUN)0011
Totals (45 nations)182171163516


This table is based upon the names of the sailors who are documented in the Official Olympic Reports.

The last column shows the total amount of competitors sent from each country.

 Netherlands Antilles (AHO)  12216
 Algeria (ALG)  33
 Andorra (AND)  2327
 Angola (ANG)  336
 Antigua and Barbuda (ANT)  1171313
 Argentina (ARG)  56111814696894511710111310813184
 Aruba (ARU)  3115
 American Samoa (ASA)  22
 Australia (AUS)  361113891312131313161418171311203
 Austria (AUT)  2115317331295108116351186120
 Bahamas (BAH)  731166513253153
 Barbados (BAR)  22442115
 Belgium (BEL)  3148731241313731734433498
 Bermuda (BER)  3944763234322254
 Burma (BIR)  3328
 Belarus (BLR)  164142119
 Botswana (BOT)  112
 Brazil (BRA)  1763555108121151414121412915168
 Bahrain (BRN)  11415
 Bulgaria (BUL)  5131212
 British West Indies (BWI)  22
 Cambodia (CAM)  33
 Canada (CAN)  1131511811111110101315161691114119206
 Cayman Islands (CAY)  22371116
 Ceylon (CEY)  11
 Chile (CHI)  153111131026
 China (CHN)  452544189960
 Colombia (COL)  21216
 Cook Islands (COK)  11125
 Croatia (CRO)  334410121046
 Cuba (CUB)  3232252221
 Cyprus (CYP)  32232342223
 Czech Republic (CZE)  22444319
 Denmark (DEN)  36671374991111898141611121461311208
 Djibouti (DJI)  1124
 Dominican Republic (DOM)  1214
 Ecuador (ECU)  112
 Egypt (EGY)  112
 El Salvador (ESA)  314
 Spain (ESP)  37131111848781515161718161412185
 Estonia (EST)  51444125531
 United Team of Germany (EUA)  111122
 Unified Team (EUN)  1414
 Fiji (FIJ)  14546222
 Finland (FIN)  2811121214395378755889491110179
 France (FRA) 66 333913314169811391110111317131218181615324
 West Germany (FRG)  111391315162
 Great Britain (GBR) 8 4165721413141211951312131516161618181615315
 East Germany (GDR)  1111612949
 Georgia (GEO)  22
 Germany (GER) 5 6114149315151717121212152
 Greece (GRE)  432846664771114111812116140
 Guatemala (GUA)  211211210
 Guam (GUM)  22318
 Hong Kong (HKG)  424214472222440
 Hungary (HUN)  6151751538126733578
 Independent Olympic Participants (IOP)  11
 India (IND)  23222112
 Indonesia (INA)  332113114
 Ireland (IRL)  51164862155104968687
 Iceland (ISL)  226818
 Israel (ISR)  4254557777659
 Virgin Islands (ISV)  38696522112146
 Italy (ITA)  312114151412111088126111511161818181113257
 British Virgin Islands (IVB)  513110
 Jamaica (JAM)  353222219
 Japan (JPN)  316112561371010109911113
 Kenya (KEN)  314
 Kyrgyzstan (KGZ)  1113
 South Korea (KOR)  17355444437
 Latvia (LAT)  12241111
 Saint Lucia (LCA)  11
 Lebanon (LIB)  33
 Lithuania (LTU)  21113210
 Luxembourg (LUX)  112
 Morocco (MAR)  11
 Malaysia (MAS)  111126
 Mexico (MEX)  211116364322333362
 Malta (MLT)  311221111
 Montenegro (MNE)  112
 Monaco (MON)  112332113
 Mauritius (MRI)  11
 Netherlands (NED) 3 82162812966659128121412914121111207
 Norway (NOR)  518599101413126991113677131698968277
 New Zealand (NZL)  5333981113178181291512146
 Oman (OMA)  11
 Pakistan (PAK)  62210
 Paraguay (PAR)  112
 Peru (PER)  131128
 Philippines (PHI)  33133124121
 Papua New Guinea (PNG)  112
 Poland (POL)  126311112246991111795
 Portugal (POR)  1439951168623389968134127
 Puerto Rico (PUR)  165963432140
 Qatar (QAT)  112
 Rhodesia (RHO)  235
 Republic of China (ROC)  11
 Romania (ROM)  527
 South Africa (RSA)  11214631142132344
 Russia (RUS)  171212131010781
 Saint Lucia (LCA)  112
 Senegal (SEN)  11
 Seychelles (SEY)  12311513
 Singapore (SIN)  5312243162837
 Slovenia (SLO)  355364531
 San Marino (SMR)  1113
 Sri Lanka (SRI)  213
 Switzerland (SUI) 3 1261311117910689910588967158
 Slovakia (SVK)  2414112
 Sweden (SWE)  13411211571415147119813121013151515171011149321
 Czechoslovakia (TCH)  1211133113
 Thailand (THA)  22443211213123637
 Chinese Taipei (TPE)  2311119
 Trinidad and Tobago (TTO)  221117
 Tunisia (TUN)  11125
 Turkey (TUR)  31322254565644
 United Arab Emirates (UAE)  11
 Ukraine (UKR)  12111064346
 Soviet Union (URS)  141111111113121215110
 Uruguay (URU)  141311235321212445
 United States (USA)  11211416161310111113131517161818181615282
 Venezuela (VEN)  2342111132222
 Yugoslavia (YUG)  1332313117
 Zimbabwe (ZIM)  133119
 Mixed team (ZZX) 3 3
First Olympic88651019864119501501901691094
New countries6330105063263
First use75171021321
Average class size103.361.710.313.75.814.81518.614.227.621.824.625.221.213.824.326.626.831.127.123.927.7
Average team size1.354.

Sailing medal leaders (by Summer Olympiad)

Games of Leader Gold Silver Bronze Total
 France, 1900 Paris  Great Britain (GBR) 3 0 1 4
 United Kingdom, 1908 London  Great Britain (GBR) 4 1 1 6
 Sweden, 1912 Stockholm  Norway (NOR) 2 0 0 2
 Belgium, 1920 Antwerp  Norway (NOR) 7 3 1 11
 France, 1924 Paris  Norway (NOR) 2 1 0 3
 Netherlands, 1928 Amsterdam  Norway (NOR) 1 1 0 2
 United States, 1932 Los Angeles  United States (USA) 2 1 0 3
 Germany, 1936 Berlin  Germany (GER) 1 1 1 3
 United Kingdom, 1948 London  United States (USA) 2 1 1 4
 Finland, 1952 Helsinki  United States (USA) 2 1 0 3
 Australia, 1956 Melbourne  Sweden (SWE) 2 0 0 2
 Italy, 1960 Rome  Denmark (DEN) 1 2 0 3
 Japan, 1964 Tokyo  United Team of Germany (EUA) 1 1 0 2
 Mexico, 1968 Mexico City  United States (USA) 2 0 0 2
 West Germany, 1972 Munich  Australia (AUS) 2 0 0 2
 Canada, 1976 Montreal  West Germany (FRG) 2 0 1 3
 Soviet Union, 1980 Moscow  Brazil (BRA) 2 0 0 2
 United States, 1984 Los Angeles  United States (USA) 3 4 0 7
 South Korea, 1988 Seoul  France (FRA) 2 0 0 2
 Spain, 1992 Barcelona  Spain (ESP) 4 1 0 5
 United States, 1996 Atlanta  Brazil (BRA) 2 0 1 3
 Australia, 2000 Sydney  Great Britain (GBR) 3 2 0 5
 Greece, 2004 Athens  Great Britain (GBR) 2 1 2 5
 China, 2008 Beijing  Great Britain (GBR) 4 1 1 6
 United Kingdom, 2012 London  Australia (AUS) 3 1 0 4
 Brazil, 2016 Rio de Janeiro  Great Britain (GBR) 2 1 0 3

Multiple medalists

Brazilians Torben Grael and Robert Scheidt and Briton Ben Ainslie are the only Olympic sailors with five Olympic medals. The most successful sailor is Ainslie with four gold medals and one silver, one of only four athletes to win four consecutive gold medals in individual events.

Position Sailor Country Period Gold Silver Bronze Total Classes
1Ben Ainslie Great Britain (GBR)1996–20124105Laser/Finn
2Paul Elvstrøm Denmark (DEN)1948–19604004Firefly/Finn
3Jochen Schümann Germany (GER)1976–20003104Finn/Soling
Valentin Mankin Soviet Union (URS)1968–19803104Finn/Tempest/Star
5Robert Scheidt Brazil (BRA)1996–20122215Laser/Star
6Torben Grael Brazil (BRA)1984–20042125Soling/Star
7Magnus Konow Norway (NOR)1912–1936210312 Metre/8 Metre/6 Metre
Rodney Pattisson Great Britain (GBR)1968–19762103Flying Dutchman
Mark Reynolds United States (USA)1988–20002103Star
Iain Percy Great Britain (GBR)2000–20122103Finn/Star
11Tore Holm Sweden (SWE)1920–1948202440m2 class/8 Metre/6 Metre
Four or more medals
Alessandra Sensini Italy (ITA)1996–20081124Mistral/RS:X
Carlos Espínola Argentina (ARG)1996–20080224Mistral/Tornado

See also


  2. "2012 London Olympic Sailing Competition". Archived from the original on 2013-05-06.
  3. It is unclear in what classes the races were scheduled.
  4. In 1900 two races were held in the ½-ton, 1-2 Ton and 2-3 Ton classes. After each race, trophies were handed out, in addition to the ultimate winners receiving their Olympic medals.
  5. Sailing was not included in the 1904 Olympic program.
  6. It is not known in what classes the races were scheduled.
  7. Program Tokio announced.
  8. No program created.
  9. This is the first time all Olympic events took place in one periode.
  10. "Olympic Medal Tally". Archived from the original on 2017-11-07.