The Swallow class was new to the Olympic sailing competition – or Yachting, as it was known in 1948. It was to be the only time that the Swallows appeared in the Olympics, for the class was dropped for 1952 never to appear again, but it did produce a memorable result for a home crowd in desperate need of something to cheer.
Britain’s Stewart Morris and David Bond were considered favourites, at least by the home fans. Morris, aged 39, was a very experienced sailor, and had been awarded an OBE medal by the Queen for his part as a commander in the Normandy landings.
The early races suggested their supporters' faith was well placed, with two victories and two third places. But a disqualification in the sixth race changed the standings significantly, and the British pair knew they had to finish in the top four to guarantee a gold medal. At one point, they slumped to 11th place in the race, but the fightback came and eventually they did secure that precious fourth position, this time with a margin of 14 seconds. Portugal took the silver medal, in a borrowed British boat.
It was a remarkably slender victory after a gruelling regatta – Morris and Bond had spent more than 95 hours on the water. But even as they returned to shore, there was a final twist – a protest made against them by the Italian team. Anxiety reigned among home competitors until the protest was rejected, and the gold medal finally awarded. Morris' attention stayed with the water and he was to be a reserve at the 1952 Olympic Games. He went on racing dinghies well into his 50s.
Bond became a yacht builder, based in Cornwall.