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Sailing at the 1948 London Summer Games:

Mixed One Person Dinghy

Sailing at the 1948 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Torbay, Torquay
Date Started: August 3, 1948
Date Finished: August 12, 1948
Format: Points awarded for placement in each race. Best six of seven scores to count for final placement.

Gold: DEN Paul Elvstrøm
Silver: USA Ralph Evans
Bronze: NED Koos de Jong


The Firefly is a two-sail dinghy with no spinnaker, which was first designed by Uffa Fox in 1938. It was originally designed as a two-person dinghy but was chosen for the monotype event at the 1948 Olympics, the only time it has been on the Olympic Program. From 1952 the one-person dinghy, or monotype class, would become the Finn class at the Olympics.

[Paul Evlstrøm], a 20-year-old Dane, started his Olympic career rather inauspiciously when he did not finish the first race. He placed only sixth in the second race, but improved gradually. He was in only eighth place after five races, but won the final two races to win the gold medal. After six races, the leader was American [Ralph Evans], but when he finished only fifth in the final race, he dropped down to the silver medal. The fourth-place finisher, [Rickard Sarby], later designed the Finn, which replaced the Firefly at the Olympics, and became the standard class for one-person dinghy.

For Elvstrøm, this was the first appearance of what would be a 40-year Olympic career, finishing only in 1988. He competed in eight Olympics, but is best known for winning the one-person dinghy at four consecutive Olympics – 1948-60.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal PTS
1 Paul Elvstrøm 20 Denmark DEN Gold 5,543
2 Ralph Evans 24 United States USA Silver 5,408
3 Koos de Jong 36 Netherlands NED Bronze 5,204
4 Rickard Sarby 35 Sweden SWE 4,603
5 Paul McLaughlin 28 Canada CAN 4,535
6 Félix Sienra 32 Uruguay URU 4,079
7 Jean-Jacques Herbulot 39 France FRA 4,068
8 Pierre Van Der Haeghen 26 Belgium BEL 3,660
9 Arthur McDonald 45 Great Britain GBR 3,456
10 Alfons Oswald Switzerland SUI 2,915
11 Wolfgang Richter 21 Brazil BRA 2,904
12 Morits Skaugen 28 Norway NOR 2,888
13 João Miguel Tito 24 Portugal POR 2,603
14 Livio Spanghero 28 Italy ITA 2,410
15 Eric Palmgren 31 Finland FIN 2,396
16 Jimmy Mooney 28 Ireland IRL 2,342
17 Jorge Emilio Brauer 34 Argentina ARG 2,276
18 Robert French 30 Australia AUS 2,005
19 Juan Manuel Alonso 29 Spain ESP 1,829
20 Herbert McWilliams 41 South Africa RSA 1,278
21 Harald von Musil 40 Austria AUT 627