Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

London Olympics 2012 - Medal day for the 470s

by Bob Fisher on 11 Aug 2012
Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell (GBR) roll tack on the third leg of the 470 Mens Medal race Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition: Was there any doubt that Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell would attack the Australian pairing of Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page? It was an all-too-obviously pre-planned strategy by the British crew, one that had the influence of Ben Ainslie stamped all over it. But it was something they had to do, the Brits needed to create a situation that put another crew between them and the Aussies - a big ask against the super-fast fleet leaders.

Sure enough, their match racing put them near the back of the ten boats as the starting gun fired, but critically the Brits were ahead and to windward as they headed out to the right hand side of the course. Patience and Bithell were the first to tack on to starboard, picking up a touch more breeze as they did so. It was then that it became more apparent that there were spikes in the breeze, spikes with two knots more wind and that these were going to have a major effect on the outcome.

It was, however, all going swimmingly for the British pair, the Croatians, Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic were sailing one of their best races of the series and providing the essential blocker for ultimate British success. Would that the race had finished at the first mark, where the order was Britain, Croatia and then Australia. We Poms were cheering our team on while the Okkers were telling everyone how fast Belcher and Page would be downwind.

Dammit, they got that right. Travelling noticeably deeper and faster they passed the Brits, as did the Croatians, and at the half-way stage were leading. The shifts on the upwind leg favoured the Croatians and once ahead they were never in danger. The Brits rounded fourth and started to charge. The umpires had other ideas and penalised Patience and Bithell for illegal propulsion. They took their penalty turn without hesitation and without losing a place, but the damage was done. It needed a reversal of places for a British triumph but the racecourse was running out. Dammit again. The Gold was Australia's and well deserved (It sometimes hurts to write the truth) and the Silver went to the Brits.


So, we said to ourselves, it has to be balanced by Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, the reigning world champions of the Women's 470s - they were level on points with the Kiwi duo, Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie. It was bound to be a match race and doubtless Ben had been to give the champs a few tips. So it looked too, but when the gun fired the principal protagonists were heading in different directions - the Kiwis to the right and the Brits, trapped under the Australians, to the left.

As luck would have it, Mr. Sod had his say in this race. The right side paid dividends big time and as the Kiwis trotted around the windward mark with a goodly lead, the Brits were dead last, a minute and a quarter in arrears. One felt for Hannah and Saskia - all that effort dissipated in a ten minute beat - and they were to lose another minute downwind. The only compensation that the Brits had was that they could not lose the silver medal and they did get past the Yanks (but there was little consolation in the latter fact). The Kiwis deserved their victory (ouch again!)

The 470 sailors know that they will have their chances again in 2016, unless there is another rush of bad blood to the heads of the ISAF Councillors. It is a boat with which the majority can identify and is universally established, one can never be certain, given the mood swings that occur at the Annual Meetings, or even in the truth of what actually took place when voting takes place.

It would appear that the Spanish delegate, entrusted with the voting on the Boards versus Kites matter, Gerardo Seeliger, did exactly as he was bid and voted (under orders) for kiteboards; it was only the President of the National Authority, FNEV, that decided he would curry favour with the rank-and-file and say that he had made a mistake and did so because he didn't understand. Senor Pombo, I would respectfully suggest that it is time for you to resign.

NaiadAncasta Ker 33 660x82Barz Optics - Kids range

Related Articles

She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr
America's Cup - Bernasconi on expected winning factors in Bermuda
ETNZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie Emirates Team NZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie once the six teams entered in the 35th America's Cup. 'We have had a great run', he says. 'We've had a few hiccups along the way, as always. But the boat is going really well. We are getting through manoeuvres very well. And we think our straight line speed is good.'
Posted on 18 Apr
A Q&A with Nicole Breault about women’s match racing in the USA
I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about women’s match racing in the USA and about her upcoming Clinegatta. I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about the state of women’s match racing in the USA, and to also hear more about her upcoming Clinegatta, which is set to unfurl on the waters of San Francisco Bay this July, and which could be a great resource for other talented female match racers who are looking to sharpen their skills.
Posted on 17 Apr
America's Cup - Team NZ return fire at Coutts' social media bullets
Emirates Team New Zealand have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers Emirates Team NZ have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers in a media release on Thursday (NZT) over the team's daggerboard use. In the release, replayed by America's Cup Events Authority and Oracle Team USA CEO Sir Russell Coutts on his Facebook page. It was claimed that the Kiwi team had an issue with daggerboards and were using a rule they had not supported to keep sailing
Posted on 2 Apr
A Q&A with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
I corresponded with Charles Pessler, STIR’s regatta director, to learn about the event’s recent changes and evolutions. I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.
Posted on 22 Mar
New Pacific 52 class makes its debut in San Francisco
The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds. A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted on 18 Mar
A Q&A with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race
I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba. The 2017 Miami to Havana Race is set to begin on March 15 and promises high adventure-both sailing-related and cultural-for the sailors lucky enough to be participating in this historical-and for now legal-race. I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race and SORC race chairman, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba.
Posted on 13 Mar
Gladwell's Line - Of Carnage, Characters and Colour
About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched, and Cup fans get their first sight of the various team designers' response to the latest America's Cup Class rule. In the monohull days, of course, we initially only got a partial glimpse thanks to the shrouding practices adopted by all teams to hide the nether regions of their America's Cupper
Posted on 13 Mar