by John Curtis
Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships continued with fleet racing for the Star class on the Leighton course and the medal races for the Laser Radial, 470 Men, RS:X Women and Finn classes on the Centre Course.
Richard and Tyler - Perth 2011 - ISAF Sailing World Championships
An overcast day here with relatively light wind compared with previous days. We only saw 6-10 knots of wind today.
The only Canadian's sailing today were Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn in the Star fleet. They had a solid day with a 12th in the first race and a six in the second. Richard explained that 'it was a one sided races course in the first race - that was pretty obvious, but I was not going to try to win the pin in the first race of a World Championships'. 'Winning the pin' refers to the very risky strategy of starting as the boat farthest to the left end of the starting line. If things don't go well you can't escape by tacking to the right without going through or behind the entire fleet. This conservative strategy at the beginning of the event is the mark of experience. Richard knows that he does not have to win every race to win the Championship and big mistakes early mean that one loses the opportunity to take advantage of the mistakes of others. Richard and Tyler are sitting in seventh overall in the 44 boat fleet. They are very close with boats in positions 5 - 9, but it is early days. The separation should grow as the regatta goes on. In an ideal world that 12th will be their discard race, but even if it is not it is still a decent result and could easily be a result carried in a winning score. Eight more races are scheduled with the 11th race - the medal race happening on December 17th. Right now the goal is to qualify for the medal race with a chance to win gold in that race. The medal race can not be discarded and points earned are doubled (2 pts for first, 4 pts for second etc.)
Final Results for the Medal Races.
Giles Scott with the yellow jersey with the British Finn coach Stephen Parke after coming in off the water today as the 2011 Finn World Champion - Perth 2011 - ISAF Sailing World Championships
The big question on everyone's minds here is will Giles Scott GBR 41 replace Ben Ainslie as the British representative in the Finn Class after what happened yesterday on the Finn Course, which in my legal opinion was an assault - pure and simple. Scott went on to win the Championship today in an exhilarating medal race that went down to the wire.
The allegation of 'assault' was expressly denied by Ainslie and his coach in the press conference last night. I find this sort of attempt to rewrite history to be especially irksome because the press seems to be playing into it. The Facts Found by the Protest Committee were unequivocal. They wrote: 'The skipper grabbed and shook the boat driver, shouting 'You have no respect!'
Is the strategy to deny it enough times until the facts change? Unfortunately, this strategy does seem to be effective more often than one may like to believe and I wish it were not so.
This story is not over yet as the Racing Rules of Sailing require that the incident be reported to the Royal Yachting Association (RYA is the British National authority) and to ISAF for consideration of additional sanctioning. It is hard to say what will happen under the RYA review. Here is a link to some guidance on how RYA measures the seriousness of different types of Rule 69 infractions.
It is hard to believe that this could be anything other than a Level 5 offense (highest level) despite all the 'mitigating factors'. The interesting thing will be what happens if RYA takes no further action. Will ISAF impose its own sanctions?
I am sure Giles Scott will be on the edge of his seat waiting to see what happens.
Perth 2011 - ISAF Sailing World Championships
The other story of the event so far is the lack of spectators. They appear to have expected 10's or 1000's for the medal races, but apart form the coaches and sailors who were not sailing the number of spectator seemed to be in the low 100's
Word on the street that Ben Ainslie is in talks with a new Sponsor to replace JP Morgan Asset Management with Pirates of the Caribbean - obviously a joke :)
Our weather guru, Canadian Eric Holden, is calling for unsettled weather tomorrow with a possibility of lightning and showers. This may mean delays on shore for day one of the 49'er, 470 Women, RSX Men and Laser. They will be chomping at the bit to get started having already watched as the other fleets raced all this last week.
A big day tomorrow as the Laser, 49'er women's 470 get started and the Stars have another two races.
Wind Athletes Canada website
Perth 2011 website