by Bob Fisher
London Olympics 2012 - Best seats in the House.
July 29, 2012 Finn class, Race 1, In front of the fans on the Nothe
Old folks, young folks, everybody come;
Join the Nothe sailing school and make yourselves at home.
Bring your packs of sandwiches and sit upon the floor;
We'll show you yacht racing like you've never seen before.
(with apologies to The Darkie Sunday School)
There is seating for 4,600 in the Nothe Park, the grassy knoll that overlooks the course where the medal races will be held to culminate the yacht racing events of the 2012 Olympic Games. It is almost certainly the best value for money of any of the grandstand seats at any of the events.
A ticket for the Nothe affords the holder a close look at women's match racing in the Elliot 6 metre class with a prequel of another class - the Laser Radial and RS-X windsurfers have previously provided the early entertainment and tomorrow it is the turn of the Men's 470s to precede the head-to-head scrapping of the women.
Enjoying the lawns of the gardens of the Nothe Castle comes inexpensively - GBP35 per day for the first week, and GBP55 per day in the second week.
One can take one's own sandwiches to this venue (and not pay through the Nothe), but be warned, there is a limit to the amount of liquid (water included) that can be taken on any Olympic site. Too bad if you don't like Coca-Cola.
Add to the direct view (take your binoculars) the big screen view and the inspirational and instructive commentary from Andy Green and Hanna White (the Green & White Minstrel Show), and the package value soars. It is just one area where the sailing Olympics provides superior entertainment to the other sports. And it goes on for at least four hours a day.
And whatever you do when on the Nothe, please cheer your favourite. Ben Ainslie said that on the first day when the Finn class course took the fleet close to that headland, he was lifted by the enthusiastic cheers that greeted his appearance.
English fans, please note that the Macgregor sisters and Annie Lush need some of this help! And, as there is no cover, don't forget to take your umbrella - the English summer of 2012 guarantees at least one shower every day (despite what the Australians believe of our toilet habits).