Beijing: Finn sailors talk about the first 4 races

2008 Olympic Regatta - Day 2 - Finn - Race 4
Today was a lay day for the Finns in Qingdao. They have been taking it easy, watching movies or playing golf – and getting in the right frame of mind to go back onto the water tomorrow to compete against each other and the tough conditions for the final four qualification races before the medal race on Saturday.

Many of the original favourites have struggled in these conditions, but they remain optimistic and positive about their Olympic experience.

Anthony Nossiter (AUS) , 'I've not had the best regatta for myself so far, but the long downwinds into the current keep the fleet very tight. A few pumps can make a big difference, but jury is on the spot to catch those who get too excited. However long upwinds instead of the long downwinds are expected for the next part of the regatta with the turn of the current.'

'But life here in the village is very comfortable. A few social beverages were had last night by a bunch of Finn lads. It's been rather gentlemanly yachting; a few incidents have been fairly traded on the water and not taken to the protest room.'

Newcomer Eduardo Couto (BRA) , 'I am very happy with my performance. I don't have so much time in the class, so if I can be in the medal race on the last day I will be very satisfied. The conditions here are very tricky, so it is difficult to have a game plan, but I will try to sail more conservatively, not take so many risks, and try to sail with most of the fleet. I think in the next four races we will see big changes on the scores.'

Currently lying in fourth place, Chris Cook (CAN) , 'With the exception of race five I am happy with my sailing so far. I have made some mistakes but have made up for them with good downwind speed. I have a general plan for each race in that I want to stay consistently in the top eight for every race. That way I don't take too many risks trying to make something great but I am also there to take advantage of others mistakes and make better results than seventh or eighth.'

Will he change anything for Wednesday, 'Nothing. I think others will do part of my work for me by making mistakes so I will stay the course and keep working for top eight finishes.'

Giorgio Poggi (ITA) In 12th place, he is performing better than expected, perhaps because there is very little pressure on him. 'What I see is that the sailors like Jonas, Emilios, PJ, Ivan, Rafa, Dan had a lot of pressure at the beginning of the competition because they were aiming for a medal. Then there are sailors like me who just want to have good races. In the first day of I was first and second to the first mark and then I finished seventh and 17th. There was too much pressure in seeing all those sailors behind me. But after that I calmed down and everything went much better.'

Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) One sailor who hasn't performed to his world number one ranking, he said, 'Nothing has worked for me. I've been unlucky, and sailed bad. But I will continue to try to do my best. I need four top five results to even get close to a medal again. Sailing wise I'm not really enjoying myself, but the rest is great and the mood is good between the sailors in our class.'

Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), currently lying in 16th is very philosophic about his poor performance so far, 'Very tricky conditions here. For me there's no system I can understand. That's why you've seen no results from me yet. The competition has been really good, with close racing. A lot of the races you finish so close, that you can win and lose five places in a eyewink. Today it's a day off, time to refuel and tomorrow it's another hot and battling racing day. It will be extremely exciting in the front. We'll see where the wind blows.'

Balazs Hajdu (HUN), who competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic regattas in the Finn class and is now the President of the International Finn Association noted, 'The infrastructure in the Olympic Marina and the Olympic Village is maybe the best of recent Olympics. The marina is a short walk away from the 5 star hotel transferred to the Village for the regatta. However Finn sailors are maybe getting bored of the food in the village as half of the fleet came to enjoy the unmatched open buffet dinner at nearby Shangri-La Hotel, the HQ for IOC delegates and guests in Qingdao. It was great to see Finn sailors of different nationalities seated around the same table and joking with their fellows and on-water opponents.'

He continued, 'It is quite moving to see how tough it is for sailors to handle these extreme light and shifty wind conditions spiced with the strong current. However, all sailors have anticipated these conditions and prepared themselves mentally to be able to master these psychologically difficult situations. It is great to see smiling faces at dinner although, especially when you know that the owner of that face has just lost his medal hopes. This shows however that sailors look ahead, try to get rid of the past and concentrate only on next race, knowing that this is their only way to handle the extremes of the 2008 Olympic Regatta.'

The conditions are also taking their toll on the sailors. 'I have never seen Ben with such tired eyes after a day's racing as today. Restless concentration and body control in the light and shifty winds as well as choppy waves take all the energy out of the sailors. The climate is however much better than in Beijing. We have experienced clear skies, temperatures in the high twenties and low thirties with moderate humidity in recent days'.

Racing for the Finns continues on Wednesday.
Class website: www.finnclass.org
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