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Medal record
Men's Sailing
Competitor for  Great Britain
Olympic Games
Gold 1968 Mexico City Flying Dutchman
Gold 1972 Munich Flying Dutchman
Silver 1976 Montreal Flying Dutchman
FD World Championships
Gold 1969 Naples
Gold 1970 Adelaide
Gold 1971 La Rochelle

Rodney Stuart Pattisson, MBE (born 5 August 1943 in Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland) is a former Olympic gold medalist in sailing at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and 1972 Munich Olympics all in the Flying Dutchman class. He also won a silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics in the same class to become Great Britain’s most successful Olympic yachtsman until Ben Ainslie overtook him with 3 gold medals at 3 different Olympic Games at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.[1][2] Pattisson was a member of Itchenor Sailing Club.

Sailing career

Pattisson went to school at Pangbourne College, which was founded in 1917 as the Pangbourne Nautical College. The College prepared boys to be officers in Royal Navy,[3] a tradition he followed on leaving the college.[4]

He later teamed up with the London solicitor, Iain MacDonald-Smith and won the 1968 Olympic trials. They travelled to Mexico two months before the start of the Olympics in order to acclimatise thenselves to the local conditions[4] In 1968 Pattisson and MacDonald-Smith won the gold medal in the Flying Dutchman class in the Olympic Games on their boat Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, which was shortened to Superdocious.[4] In winning the gold, Pattisson became the first Scot to win an Olympic medal in sailing.[4] Both Pattisson and MacDonald-Smith went on to win the FD (Flying Dutchman) World Championship in 1969 and 1970. After his Olympic victory in 1968, Pattisson resigned his commission in the Royal Navy so as to give himself more time for training.[1] As Lieutenant Rodney Stuart Pattisson, he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1969 New Year Honours for his services to yachting.[5] He won another World Championship in 1971, but this time it was with Julian Brooke-Houghton.[4] A second Olympic gold medal followed in 1972 with Christopher Davies and in 1976 Pattisson took the silver medal again with Julian Brooke-Houghton.[6] Pattisson was honoured by being the flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the 1976 Montreal Olympics.[4]

Rodney Pattisson then retired from the Olympics and later co-skippered the Victory 83, the Peter de Savary entry in the America's Cup in 1983.

He was later elected to both the Sailing Hall of Fame and the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.[4][7]


  • Boatspeed: Supercharging Your Hull, Foils and Gear (Sail to Win) 1986 ISBN 0-906-75425-9
  • Tactics (Sail to Win) 1987 ISBN 0-877-42233-8




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