Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - International - GR

London 2012 Olympics - Opening Day, Opening Salvoes

by Mark Chisnell on 30 Jul 2012
Finn Fleet - London Olympics 2012 Day 1 Sail-World.com © http://www.sail-world.com
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.

Ben Ainslie is famous for poor opening days at the Olympics, almost as famous as he is for some good finishing. So with a couple of second places in the bank today, he's certainly turned that around and could be expected to be leading overnight, except... there's a Dane in the way.

I'm not the first - and I'm sure I won't be the last - to point out that Jonas Hoegh-Christensen's double-win-blinder of a first day puts him squarely between Ben Ainslie and the four-gold-medal-record of Hoegh-Christensen's compatriot, Paul Elvstrom. In every respect, a Dane stands between Ainslie and history. Whether the situation will still be that way by the end of the week remains to be seen...

It was an interesting day for the Finns, they raced on two completely different race tracks; the Nothe in the morning, and Weymouth Bay West in the afternoon; and on two completely different courses, windward-leeward in the morning, and the trapezoid in the afternoon. The key to Hoegh-Christensen's performance was two blistering starts and great upwind speed.

Ben Ainslie didn't have good starts and in the morning on the Nothe course, he had just average to poor upwind speed.

He got himself out of trouble with a couple of fantastically fast downwind legs. By the afternoon, Ainslie appeared to have sorted out his upwind pace and was second around the first mark, but after another average start, Hoegh-Christensen was already gone -- particularly given that the trapezoid course also meant that there was a lot less time spent sailing downwind.

Can Hogh-Christensen pull off those starts all week? I doubt it, and based on what we saw on the race track, rather than what we see on the results sheet, I'm still backing Ainslie for the fourth gold and his place in Olympic history.


In the Stars, the favourite also stamped their authority on the fleet. The fleet raced twice on the offshore Weymouth Bay West course, and Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada finished with a fourth and a first to lead from Peter O'Leary and David Burrows of Ireland. Once again, the results don't tell the whole story. The Irish were deep in the first race before the fleet got flipped by a windshift and they were propelled to the front (along with the French) to take a second. But when they led the second race around the top mark they couldn't hold off the pack and eventually slid to sixth.

The second strongest performance on the water actually came from Iain Percy and Bart Simpson - they were fourth in the first race before getting wiped to 11th by the same shift that favoured the French and Irish.

And in the second, they traded blows all the way round with Scheidt and Prada before finally being given second place by the merest of margins. Like a lot of people, I expected to see this pair duke it out for gold, and once again, nothing I saw today has changed that view. So far, so much, so predictable - but it's sailing, so don't expect that to last.

Barz Optics - FloatersSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82North Technology - Southern Spars

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - America's Cup champ says Paralympic racing is closest ever
Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar keelboat class at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The regatta is being held in Guanabara Bay on three of the courses used for the Olympic Sailing Regatta in August.
Posted on 13 Sep
Debriefing the Rio 2016 Olympics with Team USA’s Helena Scutt
I talked with Team USA’s Helena Scutt to hear about her Olympic experience, and to learn more about her post-Rio plans. The 49erFX was introduced to Olympic circles when it replaced the Women’s Match Racing event following the 2012 Games. Not surprisingly, it drew high-performance sailors for the Rio 2016 Olympics, including Team USA’s Paris Henken and Helena Scutt. While Henken and Scutt were Olympic first-timers, they put on a strong show. I caught up with Scutt to hear more about her Olympic experience.
Posted on 8 Sep
A Q&A with Peter Bresnan ONE Palma’s founder and director
Sail-World interviewed ONE Palma’s founder Peter Bresnan to learn about the company’s partnership with McConaghy Boats For the past eight years, ONE Palma (formerly OneSails Spain) has been building a strong name, first as a sailmaker and later with refit work. Recently, ONE Palma and McConaghy Boats-legendary boatbuilders who have crafted some of the planet’s fastest sailboats-entered a business partnership. I caught up with Peter Bresnan, ONE Palma’s founder and director, to learn more about this new direction.
Posted on 2 Sep
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ train late on the Waitemata Harbour
Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. The team were sailing their recently launched AC45 Surrogate test boat which features an articulated rudder gantry - taking the AC45 close to the geometry of the AC50 to be used in the 2017 America's Cup.
Posted on 1 Sep
Dateline Rio - Sailing Olympics review - as good as it gets?
The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The weather was better than Weymouth and Qingdao, the courses more varied, but from a working media perspective, it was the people running the Rio regatta who really made the difference.
Posted on 26 Aug
Rio 2016 - Plain speaking by triple-medalist on Olympic sailing moves
Triple Olympic medalist, Santiago Lange has been on the sharp end of changes made to Olympic classes and formats Santiago Lange, a six-time Olympian and Bronze medallist in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, won his third medal – Gold sailing in the Nacra 17 class. With that length of experience at an Olympic level, having sailed the Laser, Tornado and now Nacra 17 classes his comments on the future shape of the Olympic regatta was one of the highlights of the Medallists Media Conferences.
Posted on 25 Aug
An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images of the penultimate race in the Finns - Scott wins
Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn, in what potentially could have been Giles Scott's (GBR) Gold medal winning race. In the end, the current world champion won in style.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images from the Mens RS:X Medal Race
Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class won before the race by Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) without needing points from the Medal Race. Nick Dempsey (GBR) was second on a similar basis.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Sailors talk of Life at the Extreme on the Atlantic Ocean
Certainly the Volvo Ocean Race catchcry of Life at the Extreme is not a phrase associated with the Sailing Olympics. The 470 crews were suffering the mixed emotions of survival of an extreme test by nature, the cold, and for some elation at their placings, after Thursday's battle for survival. In conditions that looked more out of the Volvo Ocean Race, than an Olympic sailing regatta, crews battled 20kt plus winds and Atlantic Ocean rollers that towered up to four metres.
Posted on 13 Aug