THE HISTORY OF IT ALL

Olympic History: The First Olympic Games for Sailing

While Sailing was among the sports at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, high winds cancelled the competition. So it was then four years, at the 1900 Paris Games, when Sailing’s 112-year Olympic history began.

Beginning May 20, 6 of the 8 sailing events were held on the River Seine at Meulan, a small town 20 km away from Paris. The other two events were held off the coast of Le Havre on August 1-5.

The International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU), the international governing body which would later become International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and now World Sailing, wouldn’t exist for another six years. This meant there was no one established international rule book for sailing so the 150 competitors from six nations would have followed their local rules – which must have led to some confusion on the water.

It also meant that the boats were not standardized like they are today and were instead placed in different ‘Ton’ categories according to the Godinet rule which considered displacement, length, and total sail area. The events in 1900 were: 0 – ½ Ton, ½ – 1 Ton, 1 – 2 Ton, 2 – 3 Ton, 3 – 10 Ton, 10 – 20 Ton, 20+ Ton and an Open Class.

Despite the lack of structure and less than ideal wind conditions, the competition would be a relative success. The French were the big winners, dominating with 24 of the 39 available medals. Yes, 39 medals, as each race had a medal and not just the overall ranking. Also, the French had the home field advantage as nations weren’t limited to one team per event.

Yes, some may say it was the good old days.

However, despite the home-nation gold-rush, it was a Swiss sailor who captured the public attention. Hélène de Pourtalès, one of the crew of the winning 1 – 2 Ton class, made history when she became the first ever female Gold medalist of the modern Olympic Games.

MORE TRANSATLANTIC 2015

The remark at the end by Robin Knox-Johnson about having crossed the ocean 6 times with one of his crew. I have had the great privilege of having made 5 crossings with Jack Cummiskey, 3 with Larry Huntington. And crossings with so many of the other competitors; being that this was my 9th.
I am 8 years younger than Robin but Perhaps my last? Who knows.

ARE THERE ANY LIMITS?

I crossed the Atlantic in 11 1/2 days this summer. For someone of my generation this was special. I never expect to repeat this experience. But I am still on a slow boat in today’s world.
The America’s Cup will never go back to non foiling boats. I still predict that the next Olympics will have at least one foiling class, if not two. No one is looking back, unless it is to true classic yachts. That is for different reasons of beauty and elegance.

SAILING THROUGH LIFE

This is in response to those who asked:”Who are you?” It is a least a dimension.Boats have always been a part of my life. Naturally interwoven with the story of Newport.

SHADOWS OF THE PAST

SKELETONS
SKELETONS
SKELETONS 2
SKELETONS 2
SKELETONS 3
SKELETONS 3
REGINA MARE
REGINA MARE
ENDEAVOUR
ENDEAVOUR
JOSEPH CONRAD
JOSEPH CONRAD
MYSTIC
MYSTIC
ENDEAVOUR 1934
ENDEAVOUR 1934

One can find them  all over the world, abandoned ships; from star boats and lightnings; to schooners and square riggers. The legacy of the sea. Even the majestic “J” class could be found for years in the mud. The last Oracle IACC is to be broken up. “Independence” the 12 meter was cut up many years ago; as was Thomas Lawson’s “Independence” was launched in May and cut up in September.