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London Olympics 2012- Closing on gravy strokes - Thursday at Weymouth

by Bob Fisher on 9 Aug 2012
Powrie and Aleh, 470 - London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition Thom Touw © http://www.thomtouw.com
London Olympics 2012 - One of the most logical of all sailors has corresponded regarding the illogicality of the scoring system used at the Olympic regatta. He points out that, quite rightly, the ten-race system allows for one discard because the sailors' performances can best be measured on an average system. Then this deep-sea sailor points to the contradiction in deciding the medals with a shorter, double-points-counting, mandatory race that is non-discardable.

The grand old man of the sea chipped in also that kiteboarding was more expensive than windsurfing, at least according to all the evidence presented to him. That, he says, 'flies in the face of the objective of keeping the costs down.' He added that while a senior member of the Establishment had made an unfortunate remark about the television crews being of greater importance than the competitors at the Olympic regatta, it will have to be decided whether sailing is a sport or a music hall turn!

There are those racing at Weymouth who have laid claim to not paying attention to the scoreline of the preliminary races. This is totally unbelievable. How would they know who and what they had to watch as the series progressed? Jo Aleh, the Kiwi leader of the Women's 470s, says that she only goes out to race to do as well as she can. So, it has worked for her as she is joint leader at the completion of ten races; or was she telling the truth?

Would she have been totally happy with her position in the tenth race (at 18th)? Or is her claim one of bravado? Doubtless she has now worked out that only she and her crew Olivia Powrie can battle it out for the gold medal with Britain's Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, who are level on points, or is Kiwi an acronym for keen interested without intelligence? The rest will race for the bronze medal on Friday.

The Men's 470 medal race promises much with the Viktor Kovalenko-coached Australians, Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, with a four point lead over Britain's Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, and the rest nowhere. Shades of the Finn gold medal battle perhaps?


Gut-wrenching is the best description of the Women's Match Racing quarter finals, particularly if you were either British or American. Spare a thought for the Yanks' team manager, Dean Brenner. Not one of his team had appeared among the medallists and his hopes lay heavy with the Doncaster-born Anna Tunnicliffe and her crew as they met Finland's Silja Lehtinen in their match.

Starting 2-0 down, the American girls hit back in the third, but sagged behind the flying Finns in the fourth race. It is the first time since 1936 (in non-boycott years) that the United States has not won a sailing medal. Wow!


The same sensation was in evidence when the MacGregor sisters, Lucy and Kate, together with Annie Lush met their Russian opponents on a 1-1 scoreline. The Brits led Ekaterina Skudina. Elena Siuzeva and Elena Oblova for the majority of the next race but were out-manoeuvred at the finish line to be 2-1 behind.


In the next race, British hopes were raised as team MacGregor rounded the final mark in the lead, but it was then that things went awry. Abandoning the KISS principle, they went for a gybe-set around the windward mark and the spinnaker didn't draw immediately as it was fouled by the jib coming down. The Russians pounced as they did a bear-away set cleanly and sped away. It was all over for the British women. One fears tears before bedtime.

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