'Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) competing at the London Olympics 2012'
Thom Touw ©
Things got progressively serious today in the Women’s 470 class today here at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy, situated in here in Portland, UK, as the fleet completed its last non-medal race of this Olympiad. For the women who emerged from the salty spray of today’s on-the-water battle in the top-ten, overall, the door to entry for Friday’s medal race has now officially opened. For those teams who found themselves finishing astern of tenth-place overall, however, it’s sadly time to flake their Olympic sails and pack-up their containers for home.
Two races were conducted on the Portland Harbor course in gradually improving conditions. While the morning dawned gloomy and humid, a front rolled through around noon, delivering a thin breeze (ballpark seven knots) and sunnier, blue-streaked skies that undoubtedly made it easier to read wind shifts and to sort-out on-the-water decision-making calls.
Today’s first race went to China’s Xiaoli Wang and Xufeng Huang, who managed to earn a comfortable Delta of 16 seconds over the Kiwi-flagged team of Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie. The Kiwi lasses in turn beat the French team of Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron by eight seconds.
Race two went to the Australian team of Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell, who beat Team Great Britain’s (Team GBR) Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark by a more-than-healthy margin of two minutes and nine seconds. Third place went to the Argentinean-flagged team of Maria Fernanda Sesto and Consuelo Monsegur, who finished thirty seconds abaft the Brits.
Interestingly, the Kiwis could have sealed the deal on their Olympic Gold today during the second race (the tenth race of this Olympiad), but a disappointing eightieth-place finish—their discard race—left the door open for Team GBR to possibly snatch the top prize. As it currently stands, the battle between Gold and Silver is an exclusive club restricted to the Kiwis and the Brits.
The tussle for Bronze, however, is a far more interesting battle involving more teams and a much broader point spread. Currently, five teams—The Netherlands, France, Brazil, Australia and Italy—could potentially claim the final step on the podium, although the Italian prospects for Bronze define the word thin.
Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout competing at the London Olympics 2012 - Thom Touw
Three other teams have also qualified for the medal race, but, sadly for the Germans, the Americans and the Spanish, their medal prospects have now been mathematically eliminated based on the point system.
Please stand by for more news from the Women’s 470 class, as it becomes known.
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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1:48 PM Wed 8 Aug 2012GMT
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