Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 728x90

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.
PredictWind.comRS Sailing 660x82Zhik AkzoNobelb 660x82

Related Articles

World Sailing Show - Video news - May 2017 - Volvo 65, America's Cup
May 2017 edition of World Sailing News, which this month features Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup and more May 2017 edition of World Sailing News, which this month features: Winding the clock back on a Volvo 65 and taking a race boat that already has over 40,000 hard miles under its keel might not be your idea of a perfect start for another lap of the planet. But the newly refurbished fleet of Volvo 65s are better than new. We went to Portugal to find out how this can be so.
Posted today at 11:41 am
Sailing World Cup - Medal races on LIVE NOW - Day 1
Live coverage of the first day of Medal Racing at Sailing World Cup Hyeres starts at 12:00 CEST Live coverage of the first day of Medal Racing at Sailing World Cup Hyeres starts at 12:00 CEST . First up is the Mens 49er skiff
Posted today at 10:48 am
World Cup Series Hyeres - Chaos reigns in the Laser Radial
The competition in Hyères has reached a critical stage on Friday with Medal Races imminent. Sailors are always thrilled when they have a return of straight race victories. Then there are times when they are happy to come out in one piece, still within touching distance of the medals. The competition in Hyères has reached a critical stage on Friday with Medal Races imminent.
Posted today at 7:28 am
IMOCA General Assembly gives thumbs up for foils
The IMOCA Annual General Meeting was held on Wednesday, 26th April in Paris at the Fédération Française de Voile. The IMOCA Annual General Meeting was held on Wednesday, 26th April in Paris at the Fédération Française de Voile. This meeting was highly anticipated, because, in addition to reviewing a rich season that culminated in the end of the Vendée Globe, the IMOCA class rules had to be set for the next four years, and technical decisions made, given the number of new projects waiting in the wings.<
Posted today at 6:51 am
British teams in the medal mix ahead of first World Cup finals day
Nine British boats have booked their berths for Saturday’s first medal race day at the Hyeres World Cup Nine British boats have booked their berths for Saturday’s first medal race day at the Hyeres World Cup after a weather disrupted fourth day of competition.
Posted today at 6:29 am
SWC - Hyeres - Alican Kaynar takes lead after double win on Day 4
Turkey’s Alican Kaynar crushed his fellow Finn sailors at World Cup Series in Hyeres after two brilliant race wins Turkey’s Alican Kaynar crushed his fellow Finn sailors at the World Cup Series in Hyeres, France after two brilliant race wins in some of the shiftiest, trickiest and difficult wind conditions of the week so far. He now leads the fleet from Nicholas Heiner from the Netherlands and Great Britain’s Ben Cornish with just one day left of the opening series.
Posted today at 4:47 am
Get ready to Push the Boat Out – Just two weeks to go
Countdown to RYA Push the Boat Out is on with just two weeks to go until you and your family can get out on the water Each event is different but there is something for everyone, from families and children to young professionals, couples and retirees and anyone else who wants to give it a go. With sailing being one of the most inclusive sports around, people across the spectrum of disabilities will be able get afloat at 56 of these events too.
Posted on 28 Apr
Itchenor Sailing Club – The Easter Tray
This year has seen renewed vigour, with many new teams and some returning older ones leading to a very solid turnout The bank holiday weekend brought fabulous sunshine, with the breeze building slightly each day to ease the 14ers into the first regatta of the season, starting with 10-12 knots on Friday, building up to 15-20 on Sunday.
Posted on 28 Apr
World Masters Games - Medals for Australia, Britain and New Zealand
The medals were shared between three nations as the sailing competition in the World Masters Games came to an end The Gold medals were shared between three nations as the sailing competition in the World Masters Games came to an end in Auckland today. Soon after Dan Slater (NZL) crossed the finish line in the final race in the Laser class, someone yelled out that he had finally picked up a Games medal at the fourth time of trying.
Posted on 28 Apr
Great North Asymmetric Challenge at Bassenthwaite Sailing Club
Race started in a light breeze with regular shifts from the shoreline. This produced interesting racing through the day The racing started in a light breeze with regular shifts from the shoreline. This produced some interesting racing through the day as the breeze built. The local boys, Mark and Joe, showed the fleet a clean pair of heels in race one as the fleet was trying to figure out the shifts, with plenty of people ending up on the wrong side.
Posted on 28 Apr