Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 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.

Related Articles

From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted today at 7:26 pm
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted today at 3:09 pm
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
Laser creator Ian Bruce passes away (1933 - 2016)
Ian Bruce, driving force behind the Laser dinghy, sadly passed away at his daughter's home on Monday March 21 2016. Ian Bruce, driving force behind the Laser dinghy, sadly passed away at his daughter's home on Monday March 21 2016. His legacy to our sport, Canadian sailing and his beloved Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club will be praised and honoured for years to come.
Posted on 24 Mar
North Technology - Southern SparsT Clewring AC72Naiad