Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Heavyweights reassessing Rio 2016

by Matthew Pryor on 13 Oct 2013
Finn fleet during the 2013 Semaine Olympique Francaise © Breschi / FFVoile / SOF 2013 http://sof.ffvoile.com/
Leading up to the 2012 Olympics in 'windy' Weymouth, the future of the Finn looked like the land of the giants. It was not just the rise of the huge Estonian Deniss 'Two Metre' Karpak, the whole fleet were getting taller. It took the brilliance of a bulked out Ben Ainslie to hold back the tide. With three years to go to Rio 2016 has the landscape changed?

'I think actually over the next four years people are going to get smaller,' the 6' 5' Giles Scott says. 'There are a lot more tall guys in the fleet now, you go back eight years and it was shorter, broader guys. Now it seems like, I don't know if it's by chance, but there are a lot more tall guys in the fleet like myself. I'm 6ft5in, I range between 95kg and 103kg. With Rio being light you'd predict everyone is going to go lighter, so I'd imagine over the next couple of years guys getting leaner, because they're not going to get shorter.'

Does that raise the spectre of some of the skeletal sailors of Beijing 2008? A 15 metre walk in the boat park in Les Minimes port in La Rochelle in to the Laser class finds a different perspective from Britain's Nick Thompson.

'I've just come back from Rio, I did a trip there this summer, sort of Games time and I don't think it's going to be as light as everyone is thinking,' Thompson says. 'I really think there could be few a races where it's a bit breezy, a bit like China, it turned out the medal races were quite windy. It could easily be a venue where we have no wind at all but I really don't think it's going to be like that, fingers crossed. I think it's just going to be shifty and really tricky. I'm 79 or 80kg, I might go down to 77kg or 78 kg but maybe not, I'm already one of the lightest in the fleet, some of the other guys are more towards 90kg.'

Thompson's trip and his report have been music to ears of the 6' 6' Mark Andrews, part of Britain's Finn squad. He's looking lighter than usual but that was not part of his training programme. 'I had my tonsils out three weeks ago and I've lost a lot of weight through not eating,' Andrews said. 'I lost 6kg and put a bit back on now.

'Weymouth was a windy venue and we have looked at slimming down a bit, I'm 6ft6in and 96kg. The Finns haven't been out to Rio but from what Nick (Thompson) has said it can be 15 knots. You've got to wait until you see it and then you can focus. For sure it's not going to be 20 knots everyday so you're not going to be massive. But it's not going to be a China drift-off I don't think and even then there was wind at the end. It's a week-long regatta and the way the scoring system is at the moment, you've got to be good in everything.'

Matt Howard, Britain's Finn coach for the last five years concurs. 'Like most Olympics it's pretty high risk to go really bespoke with your bodyweight and equipment,' he says. 'High risk can mean high reward, but if you go too bespoke with stuff and then you don't get those conditions then you get the eternal event quote of: 'it's not normally like this here.' The Olympics is over two weeks so it's quite a lot of days to get different conditions.'

Looking ahead to Rio is all very well, but as Poland Finn sailor, Piotr Kula, points out, you have to get there first.

'There's a couple of new guys who are a little bit smaller than the average, but I think you can't only look towards the Olympics because to get there you need to get to Santander next year, you need to need to go to New Zealand (for the world championships) in two years and both of them are windy,' Kula says. 'So, first of all you need to get to Rio and to do that you need to gain some muscles.

'You can lose weight, in four or five months you can lose 15kg, that's easy. But there was a situation with the Olympics in Korea when the sailing was in Busan and everybody was thinking that it's going to be really light and there was one week of super strong winds. I think if you're fit, if you have optimum weight, it's OK.

You need to have some weight, you need powerful legs in the Finn. If you look at the top seven guys here, Deniss Karpak is two metres high, the same goes for Mark Andrews, I feel really small when I'm close to them. I'm 1.90m (6' 3'), when they're close I think I'm some kind of midget, (his barrel chest rolls with laughter) no, maybe don't write this.'

Do not expect the giants to be that lanky in Rio.
The Water Shed - 5Southern Spars - 100Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewear

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
The importance of being Alive
Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, the team have lined up for a lot of things, won plenty and nabbed a record, as well. She’s presently in a yard in the Philippines having a minor refit in readiness for the Australian season. It will commence with the upcoming Brisbane to Keppel and then head sharply into this year’s Hobart.
Posted on 10 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Will NZ's most successful Olympic Sailing event cop the Selection axe?
New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain in September 2014. In two of those the RS:X Windsurfing event, New Zealand is unlikely to be represented in the Men's event, and in the Women's event, Natalia Kosinska would appear to be a borderline selection.
Posted on 2 May