Scoring systems for Sailing at the Summer Olympics


Over time several[1] scoring systems for Sailing were used during the Summer Olympics. Many of these systems were also used by other regatta's in their times. In order to understand how the medals in the Olympics were handed out one must have a look at the scoring system of that specific olympic sailing regatta.

From the start of sailing till the turn of the millennium one practiced the principle that the difference in points between No. 1 and 2 must be larger than between No. 2 and 3 and so on. Several systems in different variations were invented. For the last couple of Olympics this principle was no longer followed.

1900 Olympic scoring system

In 1900 for the different races different systems were used:

Olympic races at Meulan

In the following classes only one race was sailed for each gold medal.

In these races each boat was given, in advance, a handicap of several minutes and seconds. For each boat, the sailing time over the course was measured. This sailed time plus the handicap gave the corrected time. The boat with the lowest corrected time became winner.

Olympic races at Le Havre

Since in the 10 – 20 Ton a series of three races was sailed, a scoring system beside the handicap system was used. Per race one could earn points as follows:

  • 1st place: 10 points
  • 2nd place: 9 points
  • 3rd place: 8 points
  • 6th (last) place: 5 points

A disqualification of penalty gives the points of the last place minus 1. Therefore, In the Olympics with six boats competing this gives 4 points.
All races counted and the scoring system was used after the corrected time was calculated.

Open class at Meulan

For the Open class NO handicap or scoring system was used. The order in which the boats crossed the finishing line was the result of the regatta. This with the exception of the boats that were disqualified.

In case of a tie

There are no known provisions for breaking a tie in the 1900 sailing regattas at the Olympic Games.

1908 Olympic scoring system

Three races would be scheduled in each class. The winner is the yacht with the most 1st places[2]

In case of a tie

In the event of three different yachts winning these Races, points will be allotted to them according to the following scale:

  • 1st place: 3 points
  • 2nd place: 2 points
  • 3rd place: 1 point
  • 4 … no points.

The tie is broken in favor of the yacht with the most points. Should two or more winners in any class tie under these conditions, they shall sail an extra match, on a day to be appointed, and the winner of this match shall be adjudged the absolute winner of the series.
Any tie for second place will be decided in the same manner.

1912 Olympic scoring system

In each class there will be 2 ordinary races, with the following method of scoring:

  • 1st place: 7 points
  • 2nd place: 3 points
  • 3rd place: 1 point
  • 4 … no points.

In case of a tie

Should two or more yachts in any class tie under these conditions for one of the first 3 places overall, the yachts involved shall sail an extra race. The winner breaks the tie in its favor.

1920 Olympic scoring system

For the Games in Belgium a so-called Point for Place system was used:

  • 1st place: 1 point
  • 2nd place: 2 points
  • DNF: points equal to the No. of started boats
  • DNS: points equal to the No. of entered boats

In case of a tie

Should two or more yachts in any class tie under these conditions a sail-off would determine the final result.

1924 Olympic scoring system

For the 1924 Games in France system of elimination series and semi finals was used.

French National Monotype 1924

In this class a total of 17 competitors participated. The France Olympic Committee had made available a total of 8 mostly identical boats. So here the fleet was divided in two flights of eight. In each elimination series one country was exempt and was automatically qualified for the semi final. Per flight the best two boats earned a place in the semi final. Finally a sail off was held for the places 2–4.

6 & 8 Metre

In this class three elimination series were scheduled. The two best of each flight got a place in the semi final. Eventually ties were broken by the result of the final race. The result of the other boats, up to place 6, was determined by the total result of the elimination series by the point for place system.

In case of a tie

  • Ties in the elimination series were not broken.
  • Ties in the semi-finals were broken by the result of the elimination series.

1928 Olympic scoring system

12 Foot Dinghy

  • Each contestant participates in four events and receives a number of points corresponding to his order of arrival in his group.
  • Should a contestant retire or be disqualified he shall be allowed a number of points identical with the number of starters in his group.
  • Should a contestant not start he shall be allowed a number of points identical with the number of entrants in his group.
  • The ten contestants obtaining the lowest number of points in the preliminary contests participate in the finals.
  • The ten contestants in the finals, sail in four events in accordance with the principles laid down for the Int. 8 and 6 metres classes.

6 and 8 Metre

  • Seven events are held;
  • After 4 events all contestants drop out which have not been placed first, second or third at least once.
  • The crew of the vessel finishing first in most events is the winner.
  • Should the crew of a vessel retire or be disqualified their place in the order of merit shall be the same as the number starters.
  • In the event of a crew not starting their place in the order of merit shall be the same as the number of valid entries in the respective class.

In case of a tie

  • Should there be a tie as regards the first places, the number of second places obtained by those concerned shall decide which vessel is winner.
  • In the event of this being a tie, the number of third places shall be the deciding factor.
  • An identical system shall be applied with regard to the vessels qualifying for the second and third places, etc.

1932 Olympic scoring system

The winner in each class of the Yachting competition was decided on the following point system:

  • A yacht was given one point for finishing.
  • A yacht was given one point for each boat it defeated.
  • The number of defeated yachts was figured on the number starting in any one race.
  • A yacht that started and did not finish did not receive a point for starting, but was counted as a defeated yacht in awarding points to the other yachts.
  • Where only one yacht was entered, it was necessary for her to sail over and properly complete the course in order to be awarded a place.

In case of a tie

In case of a tie after all races were sailed, provision was made for an extra race between the competitors tied.

1936 Olympic scoring system

Equal as 1932.

In case of a tie

In case of a tie after all races were sailed, provision was made for an extra race between the competitors tied. This rule only applies as it concerns the places 1, 2 or 3.

1940 Olympic scoring system

For the 1940 Olympics the following scoring system was intended:[3]

  • 1st: points equal to the number of started boats + 10
  • 2nd: points equal to the number of started boats – 1 (+5 if four or more boats did start)
  • 3rd: points equal to the number of started boats – 2 (+3 if six or more boats did start)
  • 4th: points equal to the number of started boats – 3
  • 5th: points equal to the number of started boats – 4
  • DNF: 3 points
  • DNS: 0 points
  • DSQ: 0 points

In case of a tie

In case of a tie the helmsman with the most first places wins the serie. If this does not break the tie the helmsman with the most second places wins the serie and so on. If the tie is still not broken the series goes to the helmsmen with the best result in the last race.

1948 Olympic scoring system

Until the 1932 Olympics many scoring systems were used. Most of them put a lot of weight at winning of races. This changes in Los Angeles where a point for place system was used. Still the need for awarding the winning of races remained.

In Austria a point system was developed were the delta between two sequential places was decreased with the rank. In other words: a lot of points between 1 and 2 and less difference between 24 and 25. The system was based upon a formula taking the number of entries and the rank of into account. Not finishing, retiring after the finish, disqualification or not starting gave 0 points. The formula looked like this:

N = Rank and A = Number of entries. This formula is in the table below exercised for 1 to 25 entries.

This system was used for the 1948 Olympics. Seven races were scheduled, of the seven races, a yacht counted only the points for her best six races.

No. of entries (A)
Rank
(N)
1234567891011
6 Metre
12
Dragon
1314
Swallow
151617
Star
18192021
Firefly
22232425
1101402578703800879946100410551101114211801215124712771305133113561380140214231443146314811499
21012774024995786457037548008418799149469761004103010551079110111221142116211801198
310122632340246952757862466570373877080082885487990392594696698610041022
4101198277344402453499540578613645675703729754778800821841861879897
5101180247305356402443481516548578606632657681703724744764782800
6101168226277323364402437469499527553578602624645665685703721
7101159210256297335370402432460486511535557578598618636654
8101152198239277312344374402428453477499520540560578596
9101147188226261293323351377402426448469489508527545
10101142180215247277305331356380402423443463481499
11101139174206236264290315338361382402421440458
12101136168198226252277301323344364384402420
13101133163191218242266288309329349367385
14101131159185210234256277297317335353
15101129155180204226247267287305323
16101127152176198219239259277295
17101126149172193213232251268
18101124147168188207226244
19101123144165184202220
20101122142162180198
21101121141159177
22101120139157
23101119137
24101119
25101
'DNF0000000000000000000000000
'DNS0000000000000000000000000
'DSQ0000000000000000000000000
  • DNF = Did Not Finish
  • DNS = Did Not Start
  • DSQ = Disqualified

In case of a tie

Ties were broken as follows:

  • First count the number of times one boat placed ahead of the other
  • The number of first places
  • The number of second places and so on
  • Tie breaker race

1952 Olympic scoring system

The Austrian scoring system of 1948 was used. Below you find the relevant tables:

No. of entries (A)
Rank
(N)
11
6 Metre
12
5.5 Metre
14
Dragon
17
Star
28
Finn
111421305133114231548
28411004103011221247
36658288549461071
4540703729821946
5443606632724849
6364527553645770
7297460486578703
8239402428520645
9188351377469594
10142305331423548
11101264290382507
12226252344469
13191218309434
14159185277402
15129155247372
16101127219344
17101193318
18168293
19144269
20122247
21101226
22206
23186
24168
25150
26133
27117
28101
DNF00000
DNS00000
DSQ00000
  • DNF = Did Not Finish
  • DNS = Did Not Start
  • DSQ = Disqualified

1956 Olympic scoring system

The Austrian scoring system of 1948 was used. Below you find the relevant tables:

No. of entries (A)
Rank
(N)
10
5.5 Metre
12
Star
13
12m2 Sharpie
16
Dragon
20
Finn
111011180121513051402
280087991410041101
3624703738828925
4499578613703800
5402481516606703
6323402437527624
7256335370460557
8198277312402499
9147226261351448
10101180215305402
11139174264361
12101136226323
13101191288
14159256
15129226
16101198
17172
18147
19123
20101
DNF00000
DNS00000
DSQ00000
  • DNF = Did Not Finish
  • DNS = Did Not Start
  • DSQ = Disqualified

1960 Olympic scoring system

The Austrian scoring system of 1948 was used. With the exception that a yacht that did not finish now gets 101 points. Below you find the relevant tables:

No. of entries (A)
Rank
(N)
19
5.5 Metre
26
Star
27
Dragon
31
Flying Dutchman
35
Finn
113801516153215921645
210791215123112911344
39031039105511151168
47789149309901043
5681817833893946
6602738754814867
7535671687747800
8477613629689742
9426562578638691
10380516532592645
11338475491551604
12301437453513566
13266402418478531
14234370386446499
15204340356416469
16176312328388441
17149286302362415
18124261277337390
19101237254314366
20215231291344
21194210270323
22174190250303
23154171231283
24136152212265
25118134194247
26101117177230
27101161214
28145198
29130183
30115168
31101154
32140
33127
34114
35101
DNF101101101101101
DNS00000
DSQ00000
  • DNF = Did Not Finish
  • DNS = Did Not Start
  • DSQ = Disqualified

1964 Olympic scoring system

The Austrian scoring system of 1964 was used. Below you find the relevant tables:

No. of entries (A)
Rank
(N)
15
5.5 Metre
17
Star
21
Dragon
23
Flying Dutchman
33
Finn
112771331142314631620
29761030112211621318
38008549469861142
46757298218611017
5578632724764921
6499553645685841
7432486578618774
8374428520560716
9323377469508665
10277331423463620
11236290382421578
12198252344384540
13163218309349506
14131185277317473
15101155247287443
16127219259415
17101193232389
18168207364
19144184341
20122162318
21101141297
22120277
23101258
24239
25222
26205
27188
28172
29157
30142
31128
32114
33101
DNF101101101101101
DNS00000
DSQ00000
  • DNF = Did Not Finish
  • DNS = Did Not Start
  • DSQ = Disqualified

1968 Olympic scoring system

For each class a series should consist of seven scheduled races. For each yacht the best six races will count. If only six races are sailed the best five race will count. If only five races are sailed all five will count.

  • 1st place: 0 points
  • 2nd place: 3 points
  • 3rd place: 5.7 points
  • 4th place: 8 points
  • 5th place: 10 points
  • 6th place: 11.7 points
  • All other places: Place + 6 points
  • DNS: Place = No. of entered boats
  • DNF: Place = No. of started boats
  • DSQ: Place = No. of entered boats + 2
  • RET: Place = No. of started boats

In case of a tie

In case of a tie the yacht with the most first places, over the 6 counting races for each yacht, wins the series. If this does not break the tie the helmsman with the most second places wins the series and so on. If the tie is still not broken then the tie remains.

1972 Olympic scoring system

The 1968 Olympic scoring system was used. With the exception that DSQ scored now: Place = No. of entered boats + 1

1984 Olympic scoring system

The 1968 Olympic scoring system was used. With the exception that DSQ scored now: Place = No. of entered boats + 1

Also: RET = Place = No. of entered boats + 1 YMP = Points by decision of the jury (most used = average score)

Notes

  1. More scoring system will be added as the series of article about Sailing at the Summer Olympics gets updated.
  2. We see this system still in use with the medal tables during the Olympics.
  3. Handboekje der Koninklijke Verbonden Nederlandsche Watersport Vereenigingen, 1940

References