Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Harmaja, Helsinki
Date Started: July 20, 1952
Date Finished: July 28, 1952
Format: Points awarded for placement in each race. Best six of seven scores to count for final placement.
The 5.5-metre class is a three-person keelboat, which was designed to be similar to the 6-metre class, but was much smaller and less expensive. The boat’s design is related to a formula involving its length, displacement, and sail area, requiring that the formula be equal to 5.500 metres or less. The class was designed in 1937 by Charlie Nicholson. The class made its Olympic début in 1952 and remained on the Olympic Program through 1968. The event was raced on a 13.1 nautical mile (24.2 km) course, the same as for all the larger boats in Helsinki.
After six races, Norway’s Encore had a comfortable lead over the American boat Complex II, but helmsman Britton Chance won the final race. Peder Lunde, Sr., helming Encore, needed to finish third in the seventh race for the gold medal, but placed fourth and the gold went to Chance and Complex II. Lunde’s crew included his wife, Vibeke, and his brother-in-law, Børre Falkum-Hansen. Britton Chance was a a professor of biochemistry at Penn, and was chairman of the department of biophysics and physical biochemistry. His crew included the twin brothers, Ed and Sumner White.