Please select your home edition
Edition
Newport Boat Show 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.
InSunSport - NZBakewell-White Yacht DesignWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Tight battle for top spots on penultimate day of the OK Dinghy Worlds
Race seven got away under black flag with a pin end bias allowing those that end to tack and cross the fleet. Race seven got away under black flag with a pin end bias allowing those that end to tack and cross the fleet. First out was Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) and Mats Caap (SWE). Caap led around the top mark, but Hansson-Mild took the lead offwind and led to the finish to find his sail number on the black board for a black flag starting penalty, along with five others.
Posted on 28 Jul
Smith and Needham take title by a squeak at 505 UK Nationals Regatta
Like a cat playing with a mouse, the wind knocked the fleet from side to side before showing a bit of tooth and claw With three races scheduled, the slightly earlier start time of 11am seemed to surprise a few competitors and many would have missed the start of the first race of the day and the third in the series had it not been for a short postponement due to a wind shift in the original starting sequence.
Posted on 28 Jul
Jake Lilley bridges the experience gap as he prepares for Rio Olympics
Lilley is one of the tallest and heaviest Finn sailors in Rio, but also, at just 23 years old, one of the youngest. An intensely physical sailor Lilley stands head and shoulders over most of the fleet and is beginning to show some of his huge potential on the racecourse, with several top results in the past year.
Posted on 28 Jul
RS Feva Worlds - Gold fleet closely bunched after Day 3
Beautiful day in Santander – perfect for sitting on the beach but wind was a premium commodity. Beautiful day in Santander for the 2016 PA Consulting and Allen RS Feva Worlds - perfect for sitting on the beach but wind was a premium commodity. Teams were focused, keen and eager but had to deal with the tough waiting for sufficient stable breeze to go racing.
Posted on 28 Jul
SAP 505 Nationals and Pre Worlds - Smith and Needham make early charge
Andy Smith and Tim Needham, carried form shown in winning Keil Week last month into first two races of 505 UK Nationals The UK duo, Andy Smith and Tim Needham, carried the form shown in winning Keil Week last month into the first two races of the 505 UK National Championships.
Posted on 28 Jul
Over 600 sailors from 43 nations to participate in Laser Youth Worlds
To support the top-class sailing events, the government of Schleswig-Holstein has confirmed to provide financial means To support the top-class sailing events, the government of Schleswig-Holstein has confirmed to provide financial means in 2016 and 2017. This aid money can help to bring top events to Schleswig-Holstein.
Posted on 27 Jul
PA Consulting Allen RS Feva Worlds – Day 1
Following the 12 practice race recalls the fleet behaved for the first championship start, and got away first time. Champagne stuff is very overused in sailing, but with temperature in the high twenties, 15kts average, three qualifying series races, your mates are your arch competitors it is at the very least aqua frizzante, or full fat coke and not the zero stuff. OK, after race one the wind did ease off and by race three it was more like 8-10kts.
Posted on 26 Jul
29er Worlds - Team Postma/Bramervaer wins opening day in Medemblik
Dutchmen Lars Postma and Quinten Bramervaer won the opening day of the 29er Worlds 2016 in Medemblik, Netherlands. Dutchmen Lars Postma and Quinten Bramervaer won the opening day of the 29er Worlds 2016 in Medemblik. They are leading after three races on Monday July 25, on equal points with the 2015 Optimist World Champion Rok Verderber and his crew Klemen Semelbauer from Slovenia. The Australians Tom Crockett and Harry Morton are in third position, also on equal points with the numbers four and five.
Posted on 26 Jul
KBC Laser Radial Youth & Men’s Worlds - Shifty start on Dublin Bay
Shifting winds, general recalls, black flag penalties and one abandoned race led to a drama–filled opening day Shifting winds, general recalls, black flag penalties and one abandoned race led to a drama–filled opening day at the 48–nation KBC Laser Radial Youth and Men’s World Championship on Dublin Bay. Ireland, Croatia, USA and the Cayman Islands were four countries that made the most of the day's sub ten–knot breezes, each winning a race in their respective divisions of the 229–boat boys fleet.
Posted on 26 Jul
World of Sailing in review - July 2016 edition - Round the Island Race
World Sailing present their July 2016 video magazine featuring the Round the Island race World Sailing present their July 2016 video magazine featuring the Round the Island race (around the Isle of Wight) and preview several personalities and aspects of the upcoming Rio Olympics
Posted on 25 Jul