Yachtsmen from six Western countries staged a silent protest over Soviet intervention in Afghanistan Sunday by not flying their national flags at the start of the Olympic regatta. Teams from Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland boycotted the opening parade entirely and were represented only by Olympic flagbearers. The Danish and Spanish teams took part in the ceremony, but with Olympic flags.
The protest left noticeable gaps in the already-depleted ranks of Olympic yachtsmen. Backing for the US-led boycott of the games has been stronger in yachting than in other sports. Only 23 countries were competing, compared with 40 at the 1976 Olympic regatta in Kingston, Ontario.