Count on today to be a fascinating day of sailing here at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy, situated in here in Portland, UK. While almost all of sailing’s medal ceremonies have now concluded, the Women’s Match Racing (WMR) event’s Gold and Silver medal races are scheduled to take place today on the spectator-friendly Nothe course in a best-of-three showdown between the 'Speedy Sheilas' (AUS) and the also-quick Spanish-flagged team. The petite finals, which will determine Bronze and fourth-place, is also set to take place on the Nothe, making for a brilliant day of match sailing.
While the wind Gods have been borderline absent for the past two days, they have graced the final day of sailboat racing in the XXX Olympiad with the best breeze of the entire event. Currently, the wind is streaming from the east at 18-20 knots, but gusts are expected to punch-up to 28 knots by this afternoon. This is a huge change from the prevailing south-southwesterly winds that we have experienced for the majority of this event.
Interestingly, this new wind direction and higher speeds will also translate to three-plus foot (one meter) seas on the normally sheltered Nothe course. This will no doubt test each team’s nerve in both stronger air and lumpy seas—conditions that the WMR class has not encountered to date here in Weymouth.
First up are the petite finals, which are being contested between the WMR teams from Finland and Russia. The winner of this series will claim Bronze, while the loser will have to settle for 'leather'. These races are slated to commence at 1200 hours, local time, and will be rifled-off in short order.
Once the Bronze and 'leather' places have been determined, the medal races will start unfurling, starting at 1330 hours. Each successive race will start 30 minutes after the first starting guns sounds, so the Gold and Silver medals will be determined by 1430 hours.
It will be fascinating to see if Olivia Price and her crew of Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty (aka, the 'Speedy Sheilas') can defeat their Spanish-flagged rivals (Tamara Dominguez, Sofia Puga and Angela Menendez). Both teams have entered today’s medal race with nearly impeccable records, so expect some of the best racing of the entire Olympiad. Game on!
Please stand by for more news, quotes from the winning sailors and great photo-galleries, as the day unfurls.
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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8:48 AM Sat 11 Aug 2012GMT
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