AY Olympic Race Report 13 &
end to Olympic sailing events...
The Star and Tornado are the final two events that bring the 2008
Beijing Olympic sailing competition to a successful conclusion.
There is a stiff 15 to 20 knot East South Easterly blowing with
occasional rain squalls to give the Tornado fleet a great ending
to their Olympic careers and remind organisers of what they will
be missing out on at future events.
In the Star
class five of the top six going into medal race have stood on the
podium before. In the Tornado class the Argentinean team medalled
in 2004 and the Aussie team scored in 2000. In both classes no teams
go into the medal race with a significant points advantage to have
guaranteed themselves a medal. They all know what they need to do
and like the crash and burn 49er's medal race this final also has
all the ingredients to produce an almighty 'Clash of the Titans'.
The Brit's tried to shut out the Swede's at the boat end and start
one length in front. Brazil is the most leeward boat at the start
and proceed on out to the left with Poland, NZ and Portugal. The
Swede's go right for clear wind followed by the bulk of the fleet.
Brit's stay left and when they come back for the first cross the
Swede's have gained a slight advantage. Brazil hold onto the left
the longest and approach the first mark in the lead followed by
NZ, Switzerland and Portugal. The Swede's round just in front of
the Brit's in fifth and sixth respectively.
has fast downwind speed and the places change behind with every
surge forward. The Brit's close into second place with the Swede's
hot on their tail in third. The three leaders stick together and
go left. The Brit's cover the Swede's every tack but it is the boats
that went right that make the most gains. Poland hits the lead and
surges downwind to win the race. Brazil's Robert Scheidt & Bruno
Prada climb back to third place which elevates them to second overall
and the silver medal. All eyes where on the British pair Iain Percy
& Andrew Simpson who where steadily picking of the boats to
sneak back to fifth place and earn themselves a gold medal. Sweden's
Loof & Anders Ekstrom started
the day as the overnight leader but somehow on the second upwind
got dumped down to tenth and finished in last place. However they
had done enough in the earlier races to hold onto third overall
and take home the bronze medal.
Most skippers took advantage of the port tack bias except for the
Greeks who came slicing through on starboard and looked a bit out
of control, only to retire in the latter stages. Canada, Britain,
Spain and Italians go right. Aussie's are the only ones that stay
on the left. Brit's did the best of the right hand boats. When they
come back together the Spanish and Brit's cross in front of the
Aussie's. At the top mark its Spain, GBR, Canada, Italy and the
Aussie's well back in ninth place. On the hairy downwind slide the
Brit's take over the lead from the Spanish, the Germans capsize,
Canadians slip into second and the Aussie's get a bit of a hurry
on and are back to fifth place. Upwind the middle order changes
with every crossing. The Brit's hold firm to win the race from the
Canadians and the Dutch. Fourth place for Spaniards Fernando
Echavarri & Anton Paz and in front of
the Aussie's gives them the Gold medal. The Aussie's Bundock
and Ashbyclung on for the silver medal as
did the Argentinean's
Santiago Lange & Carlos Espinola for the bronze medal. The top
three finished up in the same overall order as they started the
Take away all the pomp and ceremony of the Olympic games and the
event basically comes down to the sailors and there on the water
activities. The Olympic status adds the glamour and prestige to
lift it above "Just Another Regatta". All the medal winners
are extremely happy
to have won their medals, which ever metal they are and stand on
the podium in front of the media glare for their moment of glory.
This will be remembered for a life time and long after the sailing
action is forgotten.
have we learned from all this? What is the best way to go about
winning a medal at this level? Some teams that won medals did not
win races and other teams that won races did not win medals. The
tricky wind conditions in Qingdao requires sailors to posses all-round
sailing skills and avoid bad scores rather than winning individual
races. In a fleet where competitors have a big performance difference
- consistency, consistency and consistency
has proved crucial this week and has resulted in
winning medals. This advice is relevant at all regattas including
club level racing.
Days 10 - 14 Medal
presentation ceremonies and press conferences can be found online
Gallery for Days 4 - 9 now online at: http://asianyachting.com/photos/photo.htm?Olympics2
Gallery for Days 1 - 3 now online at: http://asianyachting.com/photos/photo.htm?Olympics1
Full results and further roundups on the ISAF microsite at: http://www.sailing.org/olympics/Olympicshome.php