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London Olympics 2012: Sailing Olympics Newsletter - Day 1

Let the Games Begin! The first event is away, 2012 Olympic Regatta - Finn class start, Race 1, July 29, 2012  Richard Gladwell
Welcome to Sail-World.com's 2012 Olympic Newsletter for Day 1, July 29, 2012

2008 Olympic Gold medalist, Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) - Womens Match Racing, Day 1  Carlo Borlenghi/FIV
The 2012 Olympic Sailing Regatta has been completed with the fleets enjoying generally superb sailing conditions.

Today was notable for a number of firsts, and lasts.

This was the Olympic debut for the Womens Match Racing event, contested in the Elliott 6mts - designed especially for womens match racing event at this regatta.

It was also the first time that a paying spectator crowd had viewed Olympic sailing, with a gallery on the Nothe of several thousand, although an official count is not yet to hand. They were treated to the opening race in the Mens Heavyweight Singlehander (Finn) – sadly local hero, Ben Ainslie was not able to deliver a win in his home stadium.

That was followed with Womens Match Racing, with the first day of Round Robin, or Qualifying.

There was some spirited sailing and some controversial racing, with penalties, offset penalties and plenty to cheer about. Hopefully they had a commentary to match.

The Nothe is a spectacle in itself, forming a natural sailing amphitheatre, dressed in green grass, covered in fans and with the occasional national flag prominent in the crowd. It is expected that the fan euphoria will pick up later in the week, and certainly the beginnings are present.

On the water broadcasting from the 2012 Olympic Regatta, Day 1  Richard Gladwell

The Lasts are the Womens Match Racing - which will be seen for the first and last time in this Olympic Regatta.

Last time too, for the Star class, with the Two Man Keelboat event being dropped for the 2016 Olympics. To underline their frustration with the decision by the sport's ruling body, the fleet turned in a near-dead heat with the first two finishers being recorded with the same time, but split in placings by line judges.

Spectator viewing on the Nothe - London 2012  © Ingrid Abery

The Media Jury has returned an early verdict on Weymouth as an Olympic Venue, and indeed the Event itself. Fantastic!

With the sword of the International Olympic Committee hanging over the continuation of the sport beyond the 2016 Olympics, the pressure is on the sport to change and deliver.

The change is certainly there, with 40% of the classes being changed for the 2016 event. For 2012, the challenge is to step away from the perception of mundane tedium that has dogged the sport for decades.

A change to short course, long course and stadium racing is a difficult ask. But so far Weymouth seems to be carrying it off with aplomb.

There are five race areas designated. Three of these are long course, traditional sailing areas, the other two are the short 0.6nm Nothe course, and then the Portland Harbour course of 1nm.

Womens Match Racing FRA vs ESP - Day 1, London 2012  © Ingrid Abery

To some the Portland Harbour course looks an abomination. What is the sport coming to when it decided Olympic medals on an enclosed course? But weird as it may seem, this patch of water looks beautiful with the wind from the right direction, which it has been for the past two days.

The medalists from this Olympics, will be those who are proven to be the best across a variety of sailing conditions, and styles of racing, rather then the best at sailing the same style of course in a seven to ten series of races.

It seems to be a fair proposition, even though traditional Olympic fans may have mixed feelings.

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, reigning Olympic Champions in the Star class, July 29, 2012 Star Race 1  Richard Gladwell

It also has to be said that Weymouth provides some spectacular and varied backdrops to the racing – which is being reflected in the images coming from the courses.

On the water the race organisation is friendly and impeccable. Normally the first day has its wrinkles – but there were few today. The regatta is like nothing else we have seen for the on the water interaction between officials, course marshalls, media and others.

Long may it continue. With all the woes and uncertainty facing the world at present a bit of humour and a smile goes a long way, as a point is being made.

Rod Carr - Competition Manager, surveys the racing on day 1 2012 Olympics  Richard Gladwell

Ashore the legion of volunteers, Police and Marines are outstanding – with the same friendly but firm approach. Always a smile – which goes a long way in a moment of tension, of which there are plenty at an Olympic regatta.

In this edition we bring you Bob Fisher's insights on the day and has a look at the Star class in particular. Mark Chisnell gives his take on the day with a look at Ben Ainslie's fortunes. Has the current Olympic Champion stumbled with his two second places today?

RS:X - Practice July 29, 2012  Richard Gladwell

Rob Kothe, our Publisher and our US Editor, David Schmidt was both out on the water today and gives his impressions of the regatta, and their significance.

We've plenty of image galleries both from our own photographers, and some of the freelancers working on the regatta.

It is now late at night in Weymouth, for the editorial team there is still work ahead updating stories and images as they come to hand.

July 29, 2012 Finn class Race 1 - Casey suffers deck damage  Richard Gladwell

Tomorrow the more events get underway and we will have comprehensive coverage for you in tomorrow's edition, with plenty of updates as they happen on www.sail-world.com

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
Olympic Editor

July 29, 2012 Finn class, Race 1, In front of the fans on the Nothe  Richard Gladwell




London Olympics - Denmark's Hogh-Christensen excels on day 1
Robert Deaves,
The first day of London 2012 Olympic Sailing competition for the Finn class was a perfect one for Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) as he won both races, leading both from start to finish. Ben Ainslie (GBR) was second in both races and Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) was third in both races, but each of them had to fight hard for every place.... [more]
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London Olympics - Day 2 images by Carlo Borlenghi
Carlo Borlenghi/FIV images,
London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition day 2 images by photographer Carlo Borleghi.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012: Images of Weymouth day 1 - Finn class
Richard Gladwell,
The Heavyweight Mens Singlehander (Finn class) sailed two races on Weymouth Bay, today, opening the Olympic regatta on the Nothe course, in front of a large crowd of paying spectators. That was followed with a testing race on Weymouth Bay, on the more traditional course for the class, sailed in a fresh southwesterly breeze.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012: Images of Weymouth day 1 - Womens Match Racing
Richard Gladwell,
Today the Womens Match Racing event made its debut of Weymouth Bay, with the first round of qualification (round robin) being sailed on the Nothe course, in front of a large spectator gallery. Sailed in the Elliott 6mtr class designed especially for the event, there was the usual tight racing and close tactical battles.... [more]
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London Olympics: Images of Weymouth Day 1- Star class
Richard Gladwell,
The Two Man Keelboat (Star class), got off to a spectacular start in the 2012 Olympic Regatta on Weymouth Bay against the backdrop of the rural English countryside. The irish crew of Peter O'Leary and David Burrows distinguished themselves in the first race by leading around the first mark, finishing second to the French crew of Xaiver Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot.... [more]
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London Olympics - Day 1 images by Ingrid Abery
Ingrid Abery images,
London 2012 Olympic Games - Day one images by photographer Ingrid Abery.... [more]
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London 2012 Olympics - Are the Stars out?
Bob Fisher,
It was with sadness that I watched the Stars racing off Weymouth, knowing that these were to be the first two races at the end of this class's life in the Olympic Games, or is this the end? Anyone who watched the battles on the water would not want to deny the sailors or the boats a rightful place in the quadrennial festival of all that's best in sailing.... [more]
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London 2012 Olympics - Opening Day, Opening Salvoes
Mark Chisnell,
Three events opened the action at the Olympic sailing regatta on July 29th, and while it's hard to make much of a judgement about the Women's Match Racing after just four flights, the other two classes saw some more significant performance indicators. Let's start with the Finn, as that bears the heavy weight of history.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012 - Stars shine in perfect conditions
By David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
The wind gods blessed the Star Class with fantastic conditions for their first official day of Olympic competition during this summer's Games with a steady 12-15 knots (with stronger puffs) out of the west-southwest. Seas followed the angle of the air, delivering the Star class with superb racing on the Weymouth Bay West course.... [more]
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London 2012—Finns answer their guns
By David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
The Finn class cranked out its first races of this Olympiad, bearing the special honor of being the first class to answer the starting guns of this summer's Games. Wind conditions were 15-20 knots (with higher puffs) from the west-southwest, with matching wave patterns.... [more]
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Excellent breeze forecast for Day 1 of the 2012 Sailing Olympics
Richard Gladwell,
Predictwind is forecasting moderate southwesterly winds for the first day of the 2012 Olympic Sailing Regatta on Weymouth Bay. The first classes to race will be the Mens Heavyweight Singlehander (Finn) and Two man Keelboat (Star) along with the Womens Match Racing (Elliott 6mtr). Breezes are predicted to be blowing along the southern coast of England, in the 11-13kt average strength range... [more]
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London Olympics 2012 - Weymouth 2012 Last Chance
Mark Chisnell,
London Olympics 2012. It was practice day at the Olympic venue and everyone was at it. It was the last chance for everyone, tomorrow it's for real, and it's very real for one man in particular - Ben Ainslie.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012: Images from the Practice Day - Star class
Richard Gladwell,
The Mens Heavyweight Singlehander (Finn) held some practice racing today, the day before the Sailing Olympics properly get underway. Three races were actually scheduled, on two different courses, but in the moderate south westerly breeze, racing was run on only one course, the Nothe, in front of grassy knoll in Weymouth Bay.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012: Practice Racing Womens Match Racing
Richard Gladwell,
The Womens Match racers, making their debut at the 2012 Olympics had a work out inside the breakwater at Weymouth today, ahead of their competition starting tomorrow. Racing was held in ideal conditions - about a 12kt breeze, steady in direction, and flat sheltered seas.... [more]
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London Olympics - Can the Spanish spoil the Austrailan 49er party?
ISAF,
The Australians have been a formidable force in the 49er since teaming up after Beijing 2008. However Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez (ESP) are back in the skiff and many are wondering if they can gatecrash the Australian party.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012 - Practice Day images by Carlo Borlenghi
Carlo Borlenghi/FIV images,
London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition - Practice day images from photographer Carlo Borlenghi.... [more]
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London Olympics: Images from the Practice Day - Finn class
Richard Gladwell,
The Mens Heavyweight Singlehander (Finn) held some practice racing today, the day before the Sailing Olympics properly get underway. Three races were actually scheduled, on two different courses, but in the moderate south westerly breeze, racing was run on only one course, the Nothe, in front of grassy knoll in Weymouth Bay.... [more]
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London 2012 - A Day worth Bottling
Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team,
Given the weather of recent weeks, this burst of sunny weather is obviously of great relief for Britain, but is it too good to be true? It was a cliché sailing day, sailing in a postcard, champagne sailing. The white cliffs looked great, it was warm, and it seemed more like tropical sailing in the Caribbean or Australia's Whitsundays. It was in fact a day worth bottling.... [more]
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Predictwind forecasts good sailing conditions for start of Olympics
Richard Gladwell,
Predictwind is forecasting moderate southwesterly winds for the opening two days of the 2012 Olympic Sailing Regatta off Weymouth, England. The first classes to race will be the Mens Heavyweight Singlehander (Finn) and Two man Keelboat (Star) along with the Womens Match Racing (Elliott 6mtr).... [more]
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Women's 470 sailors on a quest for elusive Olympic gold
ISAF,
Unlike the Men's 470, the Women's fleet hasn't seen a particular crew take the bull by the horns and dominate regatta after regatta. Come race time on Friday 3 August, twenty boats featuring 40 sailors will line up aiming to get a great start in their quest for an elusive Olympic gold medal.... [more]
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London Olympics - Interview with Finn Class sailor Pieter-Jan Postma
Robert Deaves,
London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition – At the last Olympics Pieter-Jan Postma went into the event as one of the favourites. Having collected silver medals at the 2007 Finn Gold Cup and the 2007 Pre-Olympics he looked to be at the top of his game and ready for the ultimate challenge. However it didn't quite go to plan and he struggled to get any consistency and failed to even make the medal race... [more]
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London 2012 Olympics - The BS stops when the flag drops...
Mark Chisnell,
It's been four years since the last Olympic Games, and it's just a handful of days till the next - there's not much talking left to be done and the old saying has never been truer - all the BS will have to stop when that start gun fires. There's a limited amount of preparation time left and you really need to focus on finding and doing the priorities left on the job list.... [more]
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Interview with Finn sailor Jonas Hoegh-Christensen
Robert Deaves,
Jonas Høgh-Christensen has had one of the toughest returns to form after effectively stepping out of the class for three years following a disappointing 2008 Olympics.... [more]
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Laser Radial sailors ready for London 2012
ISAF,
The forty one boat Laser Radial fleet will be one of the more hotly contended sailing events at London 2012 with a number of sailors having realistic medal hopes. Throughout 2011, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Evi Van Acker (BEL) looked like they would be runaway leaders at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.... [more]
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Meet Finn sailor Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic
Robert Deaves,
Since finishing eighth at the 2008 Olympics, Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic has been doing some serious winning. In the last four years he has won two European titles, four ISAF Sailing World Cup events and countless races at these and other regattas. He has briefly risen to number one in the world rankings, and is currently the number three.... [more]
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The Road to Weymouth continues
Sail-World.com Team,
Since the spectator friendly Perth 2011 ISAF World Championship, the pressure has been rising on the British sailing team, who should dominate in Weymouth, with the best funding, great team depth and a home town advantage.... [more]
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London Olympics - Interview with Finn Class sailor Jonathan Lobert
Robert Deaves,
London 2012 Olympics – Jonathan Lobert will go into the Sailing Competition with the expectations of a nation on his broad shoulders. After the 2008 Finn Class bronze medal was won by fellow French sailor Guillaume Florent, this year may bring more French success with Jonathan's performance in recent years suggesting that another Finn medal is a distinct possibility.... [more]
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London 2012 Olympics - Women's Match Racing teams prepare
ISAF,
The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition will run from 29th July – 11th August for 12 Women's Match Racing teams and it will be do or die time in this cutthroat natured sport. Silja Lehtinen (FIN) comes into London 2012 fresh from a victory at the 2012 ISAF Women's Match Racing Worlds in Gothenburg, Sweden but the Finnish match racer had somewhat of a mixed 12 months prior.... [more]
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