12 Oct 1968
27 Oct 1968
Country of the host city
Detroit (USA), Lyon (FRA) and Buenos Aires (ARG)
For most of the 5,500 competitors the Games were about dealing with the altitude at Mexico City. No such worries for the sailors, but down on the coast at Acapulco, there was enervating humidity to deal with, plus counter swell and waves, created by offshore storms, crashing and rebounding into the coast. For added difficulty, the waves were not necessarily aligned with the wind. Acapulco had sprung from nothing into a resort, 'discovered' by Swiss businessman and traveller Ted Stauffer.
Despite dire predictions, the winds were not as limp as expected and each of the five gold was settled by Race 6. The exception was the Flying Dutchman and that was because Briton Rodney Pattisson hit another boat on a start line so skewed it could not be crossed on starboard tack. Pattisson was DSQ in the port end melee. After that he won five races with a 2nd in the seventh race and with the DSQ his discard; just reward for three years dedicated training. Elvstrom was back after a break. His self-imposed pressure to excel and expectations for a fifth gold after 1960 led to a self-admitted attack of the nerves. But in the fray, and switching to the Star, he won only one race and finished 4th.
Lowell North won the gold convincingly despite fever in the early races, from Peter Lunde Jr. West Germany's 1964 Finn victor, Willi Kuhweide, had a very poor regatta. The other front runner, Brazil's three times gold Cup winner and bendy rig pioneer Jorg Bruder, didn't make the podium either. Instead the 30-year old Valentin Mankin, who'd been in the class for 15 years, won his first gold. Mankin was to become one of the most feted Olympic sailors behind Elvstrom, with three gold and a silver in three classes.
Winning silver behind Mankin was Austrian Hubert Raudaschl, whose first Games was in 1960 and his ninth and last in 1992, by which time he'd won another silver (1980, Star). A nice touch was Switzerland's Louis Noverraz, winning a silver in the 5.5s at the ripe age of 66. He had just missed victory in 1936 at Kiel when he was eliminated under the amateur rule. The IYRU rule rescinded the verdict in 1965 and Noverraz 'won' retrospective silver.