Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): , Port Phillip Bay
Date Started: November 26, 1956
Date Finished: December 5, 1956
Format: Points awarded for placement in each race. Best six of seven scores to count for final placement.
The Sharpie class, or 12 m2 Sharpie (named for its sail area), is a two-person heavyweight dinghy that was sailed at the Olympics for the only time in 1956. The class later used 16 m2 sails due to modern sail design. The boat was designed in 1931 by the Kröger brothers, Karl and Hans, two German yacht designers. The races were held on a 10 nautical mile (18.5 km) course.
The Dutch dominated this class in the 1950s but they boycotted the 1956 Olympics, protesting the Soviet invasion of Hungary, which left the medal chase wide-open. The Oceanian boats of Jest (NZL) and Falcon IV (AUS)_ were the class of the event, winning five of the seven races. The Australian pair of Rolly Tasker and John Scott led after six races and appeared to have won the final race and the gold, but the French protested and Australia was disqualified which gave first place to New Zealand and its crew of Peter Mander and Jack Cropp. The two boats tied on total points, with 6,086, but New Zealand had won three races to Australia’s two, giving them the gold medal.