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This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49 

1932 Olympics Report
By transcribed by Barbara Beigel Vosbury
Jul 28, 2006, 16:05

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From the ISAF website: 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles
The USA had applied as early as 1920 to host the Games and twelve years they came to Los Angeles. The sailing competition was down the Californian coast at Long Beach along with the rowing. In post-Depression USA, the Games needed a lot of subsidy and it saw the first Olympic Village built.

The 6- and 8-Metre classes were carried over, but the una-rigged Snowbird replaced the Twelve-Voetsjol as the single-handed dinghy. Supplied by the Americans, all three medals went to Europeans with the gold won by Jacques Lebrun of Belgium. In fact, the American Snowbird competitor, Charles Lyon, was the only one in the US team not to win a medal.

Making its debut was the Star two-person keelboat, so beginning the longest run of any class in the Games, broken only in 1968 when the Star was supplanted by the Tempest for one regatta.

The subsidies were not sufficient to lure Sixes and Eights from Europe, save for Swede Tore Holm who won his second gold in the 6-metre class following his 1920 victory in the 40 Square Metre class. Indeed with only three Sixes and two Eights – from USA and Canada – every entrant ‘earned’ a medal.

The Stars were originally slated as an exhibition, but in a seven race series Gilbert Gray of New Orleans and his crew Andrew Labino scored five 1sts to claim the gold. In fact the Stars class got its hooks really into Olympic sailing for Snowbird winner Lebrun sailed a Star and silver medallist behind Gray, British sailmaker Colin Ratsey, kept one of his two Stars in New York.

Among the competitors was France’s Jean Peytel, later to play a prominent role in offshore racing in developing the One Ton Cup IOR level rating championship

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Olympic Champions Gilbert Gray and crew Andrew Labino


1932 Star Class Olympic Championship
As reported in the Log of the Star Class 1933

What a thrill those who sailed Stars for the first time in the Olympic Games experienced, when on August 5, 1932, seven Stars faced the starting line outside the breakwater at San Pedro California, to compete in the 10th Olympiad. Excitement ran high, and in spite of the breezy weather a large fleet of yachts carrying spectators was out.

The American 8 Meter “Angeleta” and the Canadian 8 Meter “Santa Maria” started their race first, followed 15 minutes later by the Swedish, American and Canadian 6 Meters. Then the starting signals for the Stars were hoisted.

THE FIRST RACE, the course selected was an eight mile equilateral triangle, twice around, one leg of which was a dead beat to weather, with the staring line set in the middle of the weather leg. The wind was West and heavy, causing most of the Stars to reef.

At the start six boats elected to cross the staring line on a port tack near the Committee boat, while Jupiter chose a starboard tack near the buoy. Jupiter’s starboard tack forced about, and Joy in turn forced most of the other. Jupiter then went about on to a port tack, the whole fleet following shortly after. At the first buoy Jupiter was leading, followed by Joy, Swedish Star, Holland and Windor. France was disabled and South Africa withdrew after being tangled up with Canada. These positions were maintained throughout the whole race, Jupiter winning by over five minutes and Joy second by over five minutes.

Tramontane, skippered by Herbulot, with the sunny Peytel as crew, tasted their first hard luck, which held throughout the series.



THE SECOND RACE, was windward-leeward, 2 ˝ miles to weather and return, twice around A light Southwest breeze which freshened at the end of the first round and shifted somewhat westerly. This race was the most thrilling of the series, positions changing constantly and the ultimate winner taking the lead within a stone’s throw of the finish.

Swedish Star, Joy, Holland and Tramontane were away to a beautiful start, leaving Windor and Jupiter in the lurch on the port tack up the coast. Swedish Star, by clever handling, picked up the lead and stood off shore on a starboard tack, sailed out into a calm spot and remained there while the whole fleet passed her.

On the first weather leg, positions changed so fast that the men on the boats did not know where they were. Finally at the weather mark Joy held the lead, followed by Springbok and Tramontane, while Jupiter, Holland and Windor were in a neck and neck fight, followed by Swedish Star. Down the wind the leading boats closed in and at the leeward mark Joy was closely followed by Springbok, Tramontane and Jupiter. On the wind in the freshening breeze Jupiter passed Tramontane and Springbok, and when the breeze shifted, making the starboard tack to the weather buoy a close reach, cut down Joy’s lead to a boat length.

Down the wind on the last leg Joy was leading, closely followed by Jupiter, while Springbok and Tramontane were apparently a hopeless third and fourth, but Joy and Jupiter got into a beautiful luffing match. Jupiter would run to Joy’s weather, Joy luffing and squeezing out ahead, both yachts would then square away, Jupiter to leeward. Jupiter kept at it and repeatedly attempted to gain the weather position on Joy, which seemed impossible, Joy cleverly coming up on to the wind at just the proper time to hold the safe leeward position. Finally, when it seemed most hopeless, Jupiter, by some miracle, gained the weather berth, but not the lead, for the meantime. Cecil Goodricke of South Africa, piloting Springbok and Herbulot of France, had sailed for the finish line unmolested, passed both Joy and Jupiter. The result of this race being—South Africa first, France second, United States third, England fourth, Canada fifth, Sweden seventh.

The points on the bulletin board in the California Yacht Club that night showed: United States 12, England 10, South Africa 7, Canada, France, Holland and Sweden 6 points each.

THE THIRD RACE, was over an eight mile windward-leeward course, three miles to windward, four miles return, and one mile to windward to the finish. The wind was fresh at the start and increased to about twenty miles.

At the start Jupiter took the lead with Windor and Tramontane right on her heels. Half way to the windward mark Jupiter had a substantial lead, with Windor second, Tramontane third and Joy fourth, Swedish Star and Holland bringing up the rear. Springbok had failed to start. This race was rather peculiar insofar as everyone seemed determined to follow the leader. Jupiter was taking long port tacks up shore into the kelp beds and short starboard tacks off shore. Windor followed practically in her wake, as did Tramontane, Joy, Swedish Star and Holland. The yachts reached the windward mark in that order. The four mile run down the wind made no change in position, nor did the one mile weather beat to the finish.

Point standing at the end of this race was—United States 19, England 14, Canada 10, France 11, Sweden 9, Holland 8, South Africa 7. Springbok withdrew from the Series before this race.

THE FOURTH RACE, was almost a repetition of the third race. The same wind conditions existed and the same course was selected The boats finished in identically the same order—except that Holland had withdrawn—Jupiter winning, Windor second, Tramontane third, Joy fourth, Swedish Star fifth.

Point standing at the end of this race was—United States 26, England 18, Canada 18, France 16, Sweden 12, Holland 8.

THE FIFTH RACE, was sailed in what the Californians call a light southwest breeze. The course was windward-leeward, twice around, ten miles.

The fleet started to weather closely bunched, all taking a long port tack as soon as possible. Gunnar Asther, with Sunden-Culberg as crew on Swedish Star picked up the lead, and again, as in the second race, stood off shore on a port tack. Tramontane held on longer, while Jupiter went up the coast so far that she slightly overstood the weather buoy. At the weather mark Jupiter, however, was holding a slight lead, with Tramontane second, Joy third, Swedish Star fourth, Holland fifth and Windor trailing. These positions held down the wind, except that Jupiter increased her lead. On the wind for the second round, during the port tack up to Pt. Fermin, the distances between yachts was broadened. On the starboard tack to the buoy the wind freshened and shifted slightly to the West, giving Jupiter a close reach, while Tramontane and Joy were full and by, Jupiter again holding a small lead at the weather mark. Down the wind Tramontane almost overhaul Jupiter once or twice and at the finish line was only eleven seconds behind. Joy took third place, Swedish Star fourth, Holland fifth and Canada sixth.

Point score now showed—United States 33, England 23, France 22, Canada 20, Sweden16, Holland 11.

On the day of the SIXTH RACE, there was a light southwest breeze blowing which freshened somewhat during the race. The course was over a six mile equilateral triangle once around, five boats got off to a perfect start on a broad reach, while Jupiter, who had misunderstood instructions, was over a minute and a half late. Just as the yachts were rounding the first mark, a large passenger ship, which had come out of the harbor, cut across their weather, the effect of which was felt for some two or three minutes. In rounding this mark the boats were on each other’s heels, Holland, Windor and Joy leading, Tramontane rounded rather wide, while Swedish Star shave the leeward side of the mark as she went on the wind.

Tramontane, evidently to avoid bad wind, and not seeing Swedish Star, went about on to a port tack. Asther, aboard Swedish Star, immediately started shouting, since he was on a starboard tack. A collision resulted and both yachts raised protest flags. Tramontane, however, finally got clear of the tangle and in the light air sailed like a dream, passing Joy with no trouble at all, while Jupiter ran thru the fleet to trail Joy, with Swedish Star closely astern. These positions did not change and the finish at the end of the six mile triangle—Tramontane was out front and drawing away, Joy second, Jupiter third, Swedish Star fourth, Windor fifth, Holland sixth; however, that night the Race Committee took testimony from every contestant and unanimously decided to disqualify Tramontane. After Tramontane’s disqualification the point standing was—United States 39, England 30, Canada 24, France 22, Sweden 21, Holland14.

THE SEVENTH RACE, was sailed over the six mile triangle, once around. The breeze was light and from the southwest.

Holland failed to start, Swedish Star took the lead on a broad reach to the first mark, and when Joy and Tramontane started a luffing match, Jupiter sailed thru their lee into second place. On the wind Swedish Star held the lead almost to the weather mark, but the unfailing shift came as the breeze started to freshen and Jupiter, sailing in Swedish Star’s lee, managed to round the weather mark first. Joy and Tramontane staged another luffing match, for which Mr. Ratsey is famous, this time, however, Joy was the pursuer, and although Tramontane put up a brilliant scrap, Joy managed to beat him out at the finish line. Canada, who had been out of the running throughout the race, finished fifth.

Final point standing—United States 46 points, England 35, Sweden 27, Canada 27, France 26, Holland 16, South Africa 7.

Through the victories of Jupiter in the Star Class, and the Angeleta in the 8 Meter Class, United States Yachtsmen had confounded Olympic Yachting history by winning the Team Yachting Championship. Sweden’s Tore Holm swept the 6 Meter Class clean with Bissbi, and LeBrun won in the Monotype Class for France.

Herbulot and Peytel of France were undoubtedly the hard-luck-crew of the Star Class, having broken down in the first race and were disqualified in the sixth race. Had they squeezed by either of these two mishaps, third place would have been theirs. Herbulot did some brilliant sailing, especially after the Swedish-French foul, when Tramontane was unbeatable.

The Canadian boat, Windor, sailed by Wylie and Gordan as crew seemed best in heavy going and would probably have done better had South Africa not fouled them in the first race. Wylie had his boat almost packed to ship home when he found that he was tied with Swedish Star for third place and was to sail off the tie the following day. Swedish Star sailed around the course alone to gain third place.

Gunnar Asther sailed a fine series, considering Sweden’s meager experience with the Star, and judging from his brushes with Jupiter is a thoroughly capable helmsman.

The Maas Brothers from Holland did not fair very well, however, their Star was at the time the only Star in Holland and the Olympics was their first competition on a Star Boat. These Brothers were among the most popular foreign representatives in the Star Class, and their sailing ability may be judged by the fact that Bob Maas came within an inch of winning the Monotype championship. The last race should have been postponed for Ratsey and Maas, having just finished a Monotype race, were late at the line. Colin was towed up in time, but the preparatory gun caught Maas towing so he withdrew.

Colin Ratsey with Peter Jaffe, his crew, were in the thick of the fight every day, but sailing both Monotypes and the Joy was too much to expect of anyone.

The XI Olympiad will be held at Berlin in 1936, and although the United States will hold the Championship until then, four years of competition with the Star in Europe will make the task before the next American Defender infinitely more difficult that was Jupiters.



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