Please select your home edition
Edition
KZRaceFurlers

London Olympics 2012 - Its all on

by Mark Chisnell on 3 Aug 2012
Finn fleet - London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition Thom Touw http://www.thomtouw.com
The Finns and the Stars have sailed eight of eleven races and all of a sudden the end is not just a light at the end of a tunnel, but a train rushing towards us.

It's easy to talk of it being a day of destiny for Ben Ainslie, ten points down against Denmark's Jonas Hogh-Christensen this morning and his historic fourth gold medal hanging in the balance. But Ben's been here before, those earlier medals were almost invariably won after he had backed himself into an impossible position - it's the moment when all is apparently lost that he seems to find the extra gear. It doesn't make it any easier to watch for his supporters.


The pin, or left-hand end (looking upwind) has generally been favoured. It benefits from a little more of the ebb tide flowing to the south-west, and from a little more breeze flowing around the Isle of Portland. At the start gun it was Ainslie right on the pin with pace, and he converted his first really good start into a lead at the top mark.

Jonas Hogh-Christensen was not in particularly good shape off the line, but the familiar blistering upwind speed got him out of trouble and he was fifth at the top as they turned onto the reach. It was a big day, with 15-20 knots from the south-west and some great waves and once they got going downwind Hogh-Christensen gave it the big one - and promptly rolled it in.

When this is over, we might all say that this was the moment when Jonas Hogh-Christensen blinked. It certainly made a huge difference on the points table. Ainslie took the win, while Hogh-Christensen was struggling, tenth at the end of the run after he'd got it back upright, sixth by the top mark, but then dropping to eighth on what looked like a less than fluid second run. And suddenly, Ben Ainslie was just four points behind on the overall scoreboard.

The second race lined up in similar conditions, the tide was still ebbing and the wind was still blowing. This time Hogh-Christensen got a good start at the pin, but Spain's Rafa Trujillo was launched and he blitzed the first beat, leading around the top mark with Hogh-Christensen not far behind him.

In contrast, Ben Ainslie was struggling for a decent lane upwind, but despite having to take a hitch away from the favoured left-hand side, still managed to round at the top in fifth. Ainslie went low on the reach, found his own wind and waves and was up to fourth by the turning mark.

The top four compressed on the run though and by the leeward gate, Trujillo's lead was just a couple of lengths from Hogh-Christensen, with Ainslie on his tail, and Postma attacking the inside overlap for room at the mark. Ben Ainslie had to defend hard and in doing so he got very close to the mark, and Postma and Hogh-Christensen told him to do the turn for hitting it.


Ben Ainslie did a 360, lost about 35m and set off in pursuit - to say that he wasn't happy would be an understatement, but his speciality is not just getting mad, but getting even. He dug in up the beat and rounded the top mark 40m off the back of the top three.

One good wave could get you ten, 20 or 30 metres and it was Postma that made the first gain, surfing past Hogh-Christensen to take second. It seemed to rattle the Dane, and moments later Ainslie was up his chuff, with a couple of hundred metres to the mark. One more wave and he was through, overlapped on the inside and up to third and another precious point closer to the Dane overall.

There was a frank exchange of views at the finish, with Ainslie making it clear that he didn't hit the mark - you can read about it here: http://www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/news/31958.php.

I'm sure this one will rattle around the boat parks for a while - but while anger may have been the spur, the point is that Ainslie beat Hogh-Christensen twice today, and passed him downwind to do it. It puts a very different complexion on the rest of the regatta.

I can't wait for tomorrow.

Protector - 660 x 82Fever-Tree 660x82Zhik AkzoNobelb 660x82

Related Articles

An interview with Donald Weld about the 2017 J/70 North Americans
I caught up with Donald Weld, regatta chair of the 2017 J/70 North Americans, to learn more about this exciting event. The 2017 J/70 North American Championships are set to unfurl on Long Island Sound and will be hosted by the American Yacht Club from October 9-15. Given the number of sailors living in the greater region, it’s not surprising that it’s attracting the kinds of numbers that would be the swooning envy of plenty of world championships. I caught up with Donald Weld, regatta chairman, to learn more.
Posted on 9 Oct
America's Cup - New York Yacht Club makes a smart early move
New York Yacht Club's announcement of an entry in the 36th America's Cup may have seemed to some as a premature move. New York Yacht Club's announcement of an entry in the 36th America's Cup may have seemed to some as a premature move. Coming just seven days after the Protocol joint announcement, most would have expected the club with the longest involvement in the America's Cup to have at least waited until the concept drawing of the AC75 was published, at the end of November, before confirming their intentions.
Posted on 6 Oct
America's Cup - Dan Bernasconi on shaping the AC75 'Beast'
Dan Bernasconi, Technical Director of Emirates Team NZ is leading the design team charged with developing the AC75 rule Dan Bernasconi, Technical Director of Emirates Team New Zealand, has turned his hand from leading the team charged with developing the quickest America's Cup multihull on the planet to performing a similar feat with a monohull. First step in the process is coming up with a concept boat, and then writing a class rule to accommodate that type. The 75ft monohull has been given various monikers, bu
Posted on 5 Oct
A Q&A with Sam Rogers about the 2017 Melges 20 World Championship
I interviewed Sam Rogers, the Melges 20 North American fleet manager, to learn more about the 2017 Worlds (October 3-7). The 2017 Melges 20 World Championship is set to unfurl off of Newport, Rhode Island, from October 3 to 7 and will be hosted by the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) at their beautiful Harbour Court facility. I caught up with Sam Rogers, the Melges 20 North American fleet manager, via email to learn more about this exciting regatta that’s expected to draw competitors from four continents and nine nations.
Posted on 2 Oct
America's Cup - Dalton opens up on boat and options for next Cup
The Protocol for the 36th America's Cup will take place in Auckland on the morning of the 29th September Italian media are reporting that the announcement of the Protocol for the 36th America's Cup will take place in Auckland on the morning of the 29th September. Dalton confirmed the details of the yacht will be revealed two months later on November 30, but would not say if it will be a foiling monohull as speculated in the media.
Posted on 18 Sep
An interview with Rainer Muller about the International 6 Metre Worlds
I interviewed Rainer Muller, vice chair of the International 6 Metre Class Worlds, via email, to learn more. The 2017 International 6 Metre Class World Championships are set to unfurl off of Vancouver, Canada, from September 17-21 and will be hosted by the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, so I caught up with event vice-chair Rainer Muller, via email, to learn more about this exciting biennial regatta that’s expected to draw 45-50 boats from eleven different nations.
Posted on 18 Sep
An interview with Shelia Graves about the IHYC's Classic Yacht Regatta
I interviewed Sheila Graves, co-chair of IHYC’s Classic Yacht Regatta, via email, to learn more about this upcoming even Indian Harbor Yacht Club’s eighth-annual Classic Yacht Regatta is set to unfurl the weekend of September 15 and 16, so I caught up with Sheila Graves, event co-chair (and a former winning sailor), via email, to learn more about this now-classic New England event.
Posted on 13 Sep
An interview with Katie Coleman Nicoll about the 2017 J/24 Worlds
I interviewed Katie Coleman Nicoll of the 2017 J/24 World’s organizing committee to learn more about this great event. This year’s J/24 Worlds will unfurl from September 15-23, 2017 on the waters of Canada’s Lake Ontario and will be hosted by the Port Credit Yacht Club on the lake’s northwestern shores. I interviewed Katie Coleman Nicoll, secretary/treasurer of the Canadian J/24 class and a member of the 2017 J/24 World Championship’s organizing committee, via email, to learn more about this exciting event.
Posted on 11 Sep
Pulling G’s with Beneteau – Pt II
Just a little while ago we pulled some Gs with Beneteau’s Mr Product, aka G3. Just a little while ago we pulled some Gs with Beneteau’s Mr Product, aka G3. You can go back and read Part One of the story of Gianguido Girotti, as and when you may like. However, for now we’ll push on with the incredible semi-foiler Figaro 3, and the new Oceanis 51.1, along with what they represent for the brand as a whole. It is a very interesting tale, especially as Beneteau...
Posted on 31 Aug
A conversation with Jay Keeshan about the SYC's 2017 Vineyard Race
I caught up with Jay Keeshan, vice chair for the 2017 Vineyard Race, via email, to learn more about this classic race. This year’s Vineyard Race is set to unfurl on Friday, September 1, and will likely take most boats between one and three days to complete, conditions and vessels depending, of course. I caught up with Jay Keeshan, vice chairman for the 2017 Vineyard Race, via email, to learn more about this classic New England distance contest.
Posted on 28 Aug