26 Aug 1972
11 Sep 1972
Country of the host city
Federal Republic of Germany
Detroit (USA), Madrid (ESP) and Montreal (CAN)
If Japan had set a standard for facilities then the German exceeded it. The main Games were in Munich this time but Kiel hosted the yachting as it had done in 1936. "The world's most complete regatta site," was how American Dick Rose described it. The USA won three medals. Germany needed impressive facilities as it had to cater for 152 boats from 42 nations. The Schilksee facility remains in use today, the high-rise athletes' village now private apartments. In fact, Schilksee had all the paraphernalia of a contemporary venue, including perimeter fencing.
The number of classes grew from five to six for the first time since 1948. And for the one first time, they were all one-design classes. Out went the 5.5-metre and in came the two- person planning keelboat, the Tempest, and the three-man keelboat, the Soling. Its first ever gold medallist was Buddy Melges, adding to his 1964 bronze in the FD, and sailing with Bill Bentsen and William Allen. Having won the American trials in a breezy San Francisco Bay, he made short work of the sub-10 knots conditions in Kiel. Rodney Pattisson proved he was Flying Dutchman king, with a second successive gold. On the podium with him was West German Uli Libor who added a bronze to his 1968 silver.
In between them were France's Pajot brothers, Yves and Mark, the latter to go to huge solo multihulls success in the 1980s plus three America's Cup campaigns. East German Paul Borowski mirrored Libor's tally, adding silver to his 1968 bronze in the Dragons, a class won by Australia's John Cuneo, a four time 12-Square Metre Sharpie champion who had moved on through the 505 and 5.5-Metre classes. Australia was not a hotbed for the Dragon class, neither was it for the Star, yet fellow Aussie David Forbes won that too from Sweden's Pelle Petterson, later to design, skipper and steer his country's first America's Cup boat in 1980 and create the Maxi range of production boats.
Elvstrom, eager for a fifth gold left the Soling competition half way through the regatta. Mankin won gold number two, having moved from the Finn to the Tempest, his boat the only one in the USSR.