Please select your home edition
Edition
Fever-Tree 728x90

London Olympics 2012 - Hair-raising racing in the Finn class

by Bob Fisher on 4 Aug 2012
Ben Ainslie (GBR) just after finishing Race 9 in the Finn class and dropping a vital point to overall leader Hogh-Christensen (DEN) Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
As if the older members of the Fourth Estate need hair-greying experiences like those the Finn class racing caused today in the London Olympic Sailing Competition. Those with any left were tearing them out as Ben Ainslie played a tactical game - one for which he is well renowned - in the tenth race of the series in order that he could realistically leave his final effort for his fourth gold medal to the double-points scoring and tie-breaking medal race on Sunday.

'Ben is an animal,' declared his great friend, the British Star crew, Andrew Simpson, two days earlier when asked what he thought of his chances of winning the Finn class, 'He will dispose of his opponents.' Ben is leaving it late, but he was working out the maths as he sailed the tenth race. Earlier he had finished one place behind Jonas Hogh-Christensen of Denmark in the morning race and that had extended the Dane's overall lead to four points - a figure that Ben realised might be beyond his control in the Medal race. It led to a marvellous strategic battle in the afternoon.


And what a battle it was! It was Ben at his very best - those who saw him destroy Robert Scheidt's gold medal chances in Sydney will remember just how ruthless the British single-handed sailor can be. But sailing Scheidt down into the twenties in the Laser fleet was kids' stuff compared to this. Ben rounded the first mark hard on the stern of the leader, Pieter-Jan Postma of Holland and passed him on the short reach to begin the run, Hogh-Christensen had been sixth, but he too flew down the reach, gaining two places and was second, a minute behind the leader at the end of the run.


That's when Ben took charge of the race. He slowed so that he could affect the wind on the Danish sailor's rig. He did so to allow Postma to get between them, but he had to do it more than once. It was nail-biting as well as hair-tearing for those who watched, more so for those who understood what it was all about (reducing the Dane's overall lead to two points). At the weather mark the second time the Dutchman was a mere five seconds ahead of the Dane, but Postma didn't seem keen to allow his immediate rival the opportunity to pass him - after all there was just sixteen points between them.

While that may sound a big margin, but with the aid of double points, P-J knows the form the medal race will take - Ben will hunt Jonas from the off and if they finish in eighth and ninth the gold medal would go to the Dutchman. Ben knows it too, but his aim will be to finish seventh or better and ahead of Jonas. Seats on the slopes of the Nothe gardens will be at a premium on Sunday for the culmination of the Finn racing and it will be every bit as exciting as the last two races.

Some of the writers are seeking the aid of the tonsorial artists - either those who can restore the darker tints or even the trans London 2012 website

Mariners Museum 660x82Southern Spars - 100Protector - 660 x 82

Related Articles

Pulling G’s with Beneteau – Pt I
In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. Over nine (+ve) in an aircraft, and without a G-suit, you will be unconscious. So at three G’s, and pulling no punches with them either, we not only enjoyed our opportunity to sit with Gianguido Girotti (G3), we got to learn a lot as well!
Posted on 23 Aug
JATO ignited as SuperFoiler prepares for take off (Pt I)
When small military transports have to take off from impossibly short runways with a belly full of cargo When small military transports have to take off from impossibly short runways with a belly full of cargo akin to Mr. Creosote, they reach for the JATO bottles. Aircraft like C-7 Caribous and LC130 Hercules strap rockets, yes rockets, to the underside of their wings to gain valuable extra thrust, which surely helps keep the pilots' heart rates below the red line.
Posted on 22 Aug
An interview with Marianne Davis about the CORK International Regatta
I interviewed Marianne Davis, co-chair of the CORK International Regatta, to learn about the regatta’s state of affairs. While the various CORK regattas' registration lists include international sailors, these events are some of the gemstones in Sail Canada’s yearly championship calendar, making them of extra importance to Canadian sailors. I recently caught up with Marianne Davis, co-chair of the 2017 event, via email, to learn more about the CORK International Regatta’s evolution and its current state of affairs.
Posted on 7 Aug
Ian Walker - Musto Ambassador on the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup
Ian Walker on his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Posted on 23 Jul
Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun
A Q&A with Don Adams about Sail Canada’s plan to win Olympic medals
I caught up with Sail Canada CEO Don Adams to hear about Team Canada’s High Performance Plan for winning Olympic medals. Sail Canada, Canada’s national sailing authority, is implementing a new High Performance Plan with the aim of improving on their recent Olympic sailing performances. I caught up with Don Adams, CEO of Sail Canada, to learn more about this ambition plan for helping Canadian sailors win Olympic medals while also helping to inspire younger generations to pursue the Olympic-sailing dream.
Posted on 8 May
America's Cup - Southern Spars AC50 build for Emirates Team NZ + Video
The Peter Blake skippered Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map 27 years after Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map with her unequalled clean sweep of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Southern Spars were called on to build Emirates Team NZ's America's Cup Challenger. Here's a look behind the scenes at the composite engineering process Southern Spars employ on projects ranging from Volvo OR spars, to Olympic bike wheels to an AC50
Posted on 1 May
She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr