Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Polarised and non-polarised readers for sailors

London Olympics 2012 - Hair-raising racing in the Finn class

by Bob Fisher on 4 Aug 2012
Ben Ainslie (GBR) just after finishing Race 9 in the Finn class and dropping a vital point to overall leader Hogh-Christensen (DEN) © Richard Gladwell www.richardgladwell.com
As if the older members of the Fourth Estate need hair-greying experiences like those the Finn class racing caused today in the London Olympic Sailing Competition. Those with any left were tearing them out as Ben Ainslie played a tactical game - one for which he is well renowned - in the tenth race of the series in order that he could realistically leave his final effort for his fourth gold medal to the double-points scoring and tie-breaking medal race on Sunday.

'Ben is an animal,' declared his great friend, the British Star crew, Andrew Simpson, two days earlier when asked what he thought of his chances of winning the Finn class, 'He will dispose of his opponents.' Ben is leaving it late, but he was working out the maths as he sailed the tenth race. Earlier he had finished one place behind Jonas Hogh-Christensen of Denmark in the morning race and that had extended the Dane's overall lead to four points - a figure that Ben realised might be beyond his control in the Medal race. It led to a marvellous strategic battle in the afternoon.


And what a battle it was! It was Ben at his very best - those who saw him destroy Robert Scheidt's gold medal chances in Sydney will remember just how ruthless the British single-handed sailor can be. But sailing Scheidt down into the twenties in the Laser fleet was kids' stuff compared to this. Ben rounded the first mark hard on the stern of the leader, Pieter-Jan Postma of Holland and passed him on the short reach to begin the run, Hogh-Christensen had been sixth, but he too flew down the reach, gaining two places and was second, a minute behind the leader at the end of the run.


That's when Ben took charge of the race. He slowed so that he could affect the wind on the Danish sailor's rig. He did so to allow Postma to get between them, but he had to do it more than once. It was nail-biting as well as hair-tearing for those who watched, more so for those who understood what it was all about (reducing the Dane's overall lead to two points). At the weather mark the second time the Dutchman was a mere five seconds ahead of the Dane, but Postma didn't seem keen to allow his immediate rival the opportunity to pass him - after all there was just sixteen points between them.

While that may sound a big margin, but with the aid of double points, P-J knows the form the medal race will take - Ben will hunt Jonas from the off and if they finish in eighth and ninth the gold medal would go to the Dutchman. Ben knows it too, but his aim will be to finish seventh or better and ahead of Jonas. Seats on the slopes of the Nothe gardens will be at a premium on Sunday for the culmination of the Finn racing and it will be every bit as exciting as the last two races.

Some of the writers are seeking the aid of the tonsorial artists - either those who can restore the darker tints or even the trans London 2012 website

Southern Spars - 100InSunSport - NZNaiad

Related Articles

Gladwell's Line - Does the America's Cup really need a Star Chamber?
The first meeting of the three-man America's Cup Arbitration Panel is believed to have taken place in London The first meeting of the three-man America's Cup Arbitration Panel is believed to have taken place in London in the past week or so. Officially the date hasn't been publicly announced. The venue hasn't been publicly named, and the parties have appeared before a Panel that is publicly nameless.
Posted on 23 Jul
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on Emirates Team NZ's road to Bermuda
Part 2 of the interview with Emirates Team NZ skipper Glenn Ashby. In this part of the interview we look at what is going to happen once Emirates Team NZ get their 'AC49.5' sailing in Auckland, and how the campaign may shape up before they leave for Bermuda. Ashby wouldn’t be drawn on whether Team New Zealand had started their AC50 build, with July being the usual start of what is usually a five-month build and commissioning period for an end of December launch.
Posted on 10 Jul
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on Emirates Team NZ's new AC49.5
Sail-World talks with Emirates Team NZ skipper, Glenn Ashby on what is different about the team's new test boat Just under 11 months out from the 35th America’s Cup, Team New Zealand does not seem to be in its customary place at the front of the starting grid to be the first to launch their Challenger, or are they? Although they will be one of the last of the six teams to launch an AC45 Surrogate, Emirates Team New Zealand may have stolen a march with a boat that is as close as you can get to an AC50.
Posted on 9 Jul
Gladwell's Line - Emirates Team NZ launches shadow AC50
Emirates Team NZ took a late but significant step along the road to the 35th America's Cup, with the launch of their AC4 Emirates Team NZ took a late but significant step along the road to the 35th America's Cup, with the launch of their AC45S - as the test boats are called in the Protocol which governs the 2017 event. The bloated Protocol, which now runs to 83 pages of legalese, is restrictive on the size of boat that can be built as a test platform but doesn't restrict the number that can be built.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Rio 2016 - Double Olympic medallist on the delights of Guanabara Bay
Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist Bruce Kendall updates on the 2016 Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay. Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist, and now a windsurfer coach, Bruce Kendall has made several trips to the 2016 Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay. He updates on the pollution issue which is clearly not going to be resolved in a couple of months, and also shares his views on the venue from a sailing competition perspective.
Posted on 14 Jun
America's Cup - Artemis win Chicago as Team Japan wins two races
Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series got three races away on Super Sunday. After losing the first official day of racing due to light winds and the non-arrival of the onshore breeze, Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series got three races away on Super Sunday. From a racing perspective this was probably the best day of racing yet in the series which counts for points in the Qualifying Series of the America's Cup in 11 months time.
Posted on 12 Jun
America's Cup - Emirates TNZ NZ and Oracle capsize in Chicago Practice
Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA capsized in Practice Racing at the Louis Vuitton ACWS Chicago There was action aplenty on Practice Day at Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Chicago, after Emirates Team New Zealand capsized in their match with Oracle Team USA, and then Oracle Team USA capsized later in the day. Team NZ's skipper skipper Glenn Ashby performed some impressive acrobatics ejecting from the AC45 capsize, without injury.
Posted on 11 Jun
America's Cup - Changes proposed to control future Cup options
Changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing according to the Daily Telegraph (UK) News that changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing is being floated in the Daily Telegraph (UK) by the British Challenger, Land Rover BAR. According to the Telegraph, some of the teams in the 2017 America's Cup are keen to lock-in parameters which would bind successive holders of the a style and frequency for the next America's Cup Match.
Posted on 8 Jun
America's Cup - AC50 construction uncovered - Part 2 - Wings and Costs
Second part of a two-part series looking at the AC50 construction progress at Core Builders Composites Second part of a two-part series looking at the construction progress at Core Builders Composites, and features of the AC50 class which will be used in the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda. Tim Smyth takes us on a tour of the CBC facility in Warkworth, and hour's drive north of Auckland. Where several AC50's, components and wingsails are under construction or have already been shipped to the teams.
Posted on 5 Jun