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London Olympics 2012 - Canadian Olympic Sailing Team on day 9

by John Curtis on 7 Aug 2012
Gordon Cook and Hunter Lowden (CAN) competing in the Men’s Skiff (49er) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. onEdition © http://www.onEdition.com
London Olympics 2012, Weymouth and Portland. Sailing competition day 9.

The wind was stronger today than predicted last night. It was a lot more from the West than we had seen previously. This put the windward mark very close to the spectator area and meant lots of crazy puffs and shifts as the boats approached the windward mark. It was really spectacular viewing.


Canada only had two teams on the water today 470 Men and 49'er.

For the 470 team of Luke Ramsay and Mike Leigh it was another tough day, but they posted their best finish so far and showed that they could get off the line and to the first mark in good shape. In Race 7 they were 12th at the first mark. In the highly competitive 470 fleet 12th is 'in the hunt' as they say. They slipped back to 16th at the finish after losing 12 boats on the first downwind and then grinding back to 16th. It was a very shifty wind and I am sure that this played a large part in the early losses. Still it shows that they have not given up and are starting to get comfortable. They had another great first leg in race 8, getting to the first mark in 10th, but slipped back to 20th by the finish. Today was a big breakthrough for this team from Vancouver. They are now sitting 20th overall with two races left to go.


The big excitement for Canada today was on the 49'er course. They were sailing on the Nothe Course today and the wind was 15-18 knots, shifty and patchy - seriously challenging conditions. Gordon and Hunter had their best day yet with a ninth in race 14 and a fifth in race 15. This was enough to put them in 12th overall and just short of qualifying them for the medal race. BUT!!! When they arrived on shore it became apparent that they had not actually crossed the finish line. There were a lot of media and support boats at the finishing area and somehow they could not see the line. There were easily 30 boats in the finishing area.

They are going 20 knots, tight reaching with spray everywhere and apparently the media boats have flags that can look orange from certain angles which is the colour of the Race Committee boats. They were both convinced that they did cross the line. Apparently a media boat was in exactly the place they expected the finish line boat to be. Even looking at the video replay it was not easy for the coaches to pick out the finish line boat. They only missed it by a few Meters. I am sure they are feeling shattered. This mistake gave them a DNF (Did Not Finish) and put them back into 16th. It was so close. A fifth would have put them in 12th.

They teased us with their great racing all day. In race 14 they spent much of the race in third or fourth. In fact Race 14 was run twice because it had to be abandoned the first time due to a large wind shift. They were sitting in seventh at the time - a great spot. In the second attempt at race 14, it was so shifty it was hard to hold a spot. Finishing ninth was very respectable but not enough things went their way and then the DNF. It was a real kick in the butt after sailing so well.


Despite all of this we are immensely proud of Gordon and Hunter who demonstrated world class sailing ability at this event. It was so inspiring to see that spinnaker with a huge Canadian Flag at the front of the fleet in so many races. I hope we can somehow find a way to keep these guys sailing.

Coach Jason Rhodes was very proud of the way they sailed today, but equally disappointed in the DNF. Jason explained that there was no question there were 'too many boats in the finishing area and it made things confusing'. The actual course sailed with a short reach to the finish was also a factor as 'that is not the course they sail in 98% of the races at 49'er regattas', explained Rhodes. Deviations from the norm always lead to unexpected problems. It's a real shame that this mistake had to be at the Olympic Regatta.

As it stands the 49'er fleet will sail their medal race on Wednesday. Gold and Silver are already locked in. Gordon and Hunter will not be sailing the medal race as only the top 10 qualify to sail.

Australia will get the Gold and New Zealand gets the Silver regardless of the outcome of the medal race. There are six teams who could win the Bronze. Apart from the fact that the Gold and Silver are sewn up, the 49'er fleet is the closest event here.

The Laser and Radial classes had their medal races today.

The final standings were:

Laser

Australia - Gold - Tom Slingsby
Cyprus - Silver - Pavlos - First medal ever for Cyprus - what a fantastic achievement?
Sweden - Bronze- Rasmus Myrgren

Laser Radial

China - Gold - Lijia Xu
Netherlands - Silver - Marit Bouwmeester
Belgum - Bronze- Evi Van Acker

Stay tuned for the RSX final for the Men and the Women. We have Zac Plavsic in the Men's RSX and Nikola Girke in the Women's RSX.

http://www.windathletes.ca/

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