London Olympics 2012—Shifty sailing conditions today
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 2 Aug 2012
Forget about swimming, running or cycling-sailing is the sport to follow, especially as the various classes edge closer to their medal races. As with every successive day of this Olympiad, there’s plenty of racecourse action to follow here in Weymouth today, with conditions that can only be termed 'challenging'.
Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR) competing in the London Olympics 2012 onEdition © http://www.onEdition.com
According to this morning’s press briefing (a typically British and rather animated affair), the breeze is again from the south-southwest, between 15 and 19 knots. Unlike previous days this week, however, the wind gods are unleashing shifty conditions that-when paired with the spring tide that will linger until Monday-are delivering bigger, choppier seas than anything the sailors have faced thus far in this Olympiad.
The 49er class, the RS:X Women’s class and the RS:X Men’s class are all competing on the Portland Harbor course, which benefits from flatter, calmer seas. 49er racing kicks off at 1200 hours, local time, while the RS:X Women’s class gets serious at 1400 hours. The Men’s RS:X class are the last to enter the starting-line area, as their first gun is set to sound at 1530 hours. All of these classes are expected to get in two races today.
Further out, on the spectator-friendly Nothe course, the Men’s 470 class begins their 2012 Olympic Games with their first official race at 1200 hours. After firing off a Windward-Leeward course (a few times around and likely with an offset finishing mark), the Women’s Match Racing (WMR) event will take to the course at 1530 hours, with the aim of sailing three flights. It will be extremely interesting to see if the Australian-flagged team can maintain their immaculate record of all first-place finishes—stay tuned!
After finishing their race on the Nothe course, the Men’s 470 class will sail further offshore, to the Weymouth Bay West course, where they will begin their second race at 1330 hours. According to the press briefing, this is expected to be a large trapezoid-shaped affair that will test sailors in the chop. Ten minutes after the men begin their second race of the day, the Women’s 470 class will take to this course for their official practice race.
Further out still, the Finn and Star class will buck two-to-three foot, wind-against-tide waves on the Weymouth Bay South course, which is expected to see the biggest seaway and the shiftiest breeze of the day. The Finns will answer their starting guns first, at 1200 hours, for the first of two races (each expected to be roughly an hour long), both of which are expected to be outer trapezoid-shaped courses. The venerable Star class begins the first of their two long Windward-Leeward race at 1210 hours, with each race expected to take between 60 and 75 minutes.
While occasional passing showers drum down on the sailors, rest assured that a splash of freshwater will do nothing to dampen spirits of lower the overall psych of everyone competing in (or watching!) this world-class event. Please stay tuned to the website for results and in-depth reports, as they become known.