Olympic News Day 9

18 Aug 2008

Editorial: Double Gold for Britain

GBR cartwheels in the 49er's Medal race of the 2008 Olympics
© Ingrid Abery/www.hotcapers.com

  Ingrid Abery © Copyright
Welcome to Sail-World.Com's Olympic newsletter for Day 9 of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta.

Medal racing finally got underway today in the 2008 Olympics after the first two scheduled races were postponed due to light winds on Saturday.

In contrast to the no-wind of Sunday, today there was breeze to spare, and racing took place in strong winds and big seas on Course A, outside the breakwater of the Olympic harbour.

Three Medal races were sailed but with medals only being decided and awarded in two events.

As widely expected, Britain took the Gold Medals in the Finn and Yngling classes – well on the way to their required quota of three medals from the Olympic Regatta. The third medal in the 49er class was not decided and was obviously not awarded.

The issue arises from an incident involving the Danish crew who, we understand, broke a mast on the way to the startline of the medal race, did not have time to rig a spare mast, and borrowed the available Croatian 49er. Officials and media were treated to the strange sight of a Croatian flagged boat, with Danish bibbed sailors, charging through the startline several minutes after the rest of the fleet had started.

The current situation is that the matter has been referred to the Measurers to make a determination on the request by DEN for substituted equipment. A decision is expected Tuesday.

Australia on the edge of control during the 49er medal race in the Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008.   Guy Nowell ©

In a race which turned into a war of attrition, the Danes desperate move, may have won them the Gold Medal – if they can get the sign-off from the Olympic Jury. Otherwise the Spanish crew will take the third Gold medal of this Olympics.

Whatever, it was one of the great races of Olympic sailing, particularly of the crash and burn genre, as the lead and five potential Gold medallists made their moves – usually only to capsize, when they each appeared to have that elusive medal in the bag.

The other two medal races went pretty much as expected, with Ben Ainslie leading from start to finish in the Finn race. He was the root cause of some wild scenes as the sailing paparazzi jostled for position in steep breaking seas, while being driven at about 15knots by Chinese drivers, who seemed to be exhibiting only marginal control. Collisions were frequent in the search for that clear shot of the Olympic hero.

At that time most of the British media appeared to be fully expecting Ainslie to get out of his Finn and jog back to shore – and wanted to be there to get the photo!

Ben Anslie (GBR) Gold Medal holding the British flag after winning the Finn Gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.  Guy Nowell ©

In the Yngling class it was a more sedate post race celebration with Sarah Ayton, Pippa Wilson, and Sarah Webb taking control of the race, briefly letting the German crew into the front running for the final mark rounding before pulling through to take the winners hooter, and the Gold Medal.

In contrast to the adulation which surrounded Ainslie, the Yngling girls struggled to find a British flag, and gave it away, opting for a fast tow in the deteriorating conditions.

After the racing the questions turned to what happens next? It would seem that Be Ainslie will run a 2012 Olympic campaign, while the silver medallist in the Finn class Zach Railey (USA) will definitely be back – hoping to be in the next US team with his sister Paige.

The British Yngling crew have a brief celebration before a fast tow home Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008.   Guy Nowell ©

For the Yngling, it is the end of an era, as the way the 2012 Olympic events stand, fleet racing will be replaced with a matchracing in event in a class yet to be determined by the ISAF.

Despite what was happening on the medal course, there was drama aplenty in the othe classes, all of who raced at least once or twice.

At least two masts were broken in the Star keelboats.

Many complained that in the first real breeze of the regatta there was not enough racing.

In several instances the sailors who had been struggling in the light, came to the fore in the breeze – well demonstrated by Tom Ashley (NZL) who jumped three places to take the lead in the Mens RS:X.

If conditions were the very mild 14-16 knot breezes stated in the race reports, then it is a fair point to question why there was not more racing. Part of the reason may have been the heavy rain squalls which reduced visibility severely at times, and the strong tide pushing against the wind causing very steep waves.

At this stage it would seem that the stronger breeze will stay in for at least one more day, hopefully without the rain, and the schedule will get close to full completion.

Our apologies for the delay and lack of images in this newsletter. We lost one camera in the rain, and were forced back to the hotel early, also due to the rain, where we fight long and hard against the slow internet speeds induced, we suspect, by the Great Firewall of China.

Good Sailing!

Richard Gladwell
Sail-World Olympic Editor

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49er Gold Medal in doubt
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Sailjuice -Olympics Day 9 'I'm Yngling in the Rain
Andy Rice,
Maybe the weather was a good omen. After day after day of hot, sticky weather and no wind, Qingdao turned into a typical English summer's day. Wet and windy. The only thing that was different was the rain was at least warm. Whatever, it didn't seem to bother the GBR Yngling girls, Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson.... [more]

New Zealand Olympic Sailing Daily Wrap Day 9
Jodie Bakewell-White,
It's been an action packed day at the Olympic Sailing venue, Qingdao, China, on Day 9 of the 2008 Olympic regatta. Strong winds and heavy rain, medals decided in three classes, delays and further postponements. New Zealanders in action included windsurfers Tom Ashley and Barbara Kendall; Andrew Murdoch and Jo Aleh; and Star crew Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams... [more]

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Today dawned like no other here in Qingdao, there was wind on the water, and the promise of strong breezes certainly came true, and for the first time since our arrival at the Olympic Sailing venue, we saw breaking waves. The conditions tested the organisers, with the start boat for the Tornado and Star course, taking on water on the way to the start area on the outer Course E.... [more]

Golden double for GB sailors
Lindsey Bell,
It has been an historic day for Great Britain's sailors as Ben Ainslie sealed Finn class gold and Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson swept to Yngling victory at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Regatta in Qingdao. Ainslie successfully defended the Finn title to become Britain's most decorated Olympic sailor of all time, surpassing Rodney Pattison's previous record of two golds and one silver... [more]

Olympics: Ben Ainslie (GBR) makes history again
Robert Deaves,
Sailing in his fourth Olympic regatta, Ben Ainslie (GBR) took his fourth Olympic medal in fine style, winning gold in the Finn medal race in the best possible way. Leading from start to finish. Silver went to Zach Railey (USA), Guillaume Florent (FRA) snatched the bronze... [more]

Australian Tornado charge
Rob Kothe,
While close to the shore today in the 2008 Qingdao regatta, the focus was on the Ynglings, Finns and 49ers, it was a battle for survival too for the Tornado fleet offshore. Just one race was sailed on Course E, in heavy winds and two metre seas and Spaniards Fernando Echavarri and Anton Paz just managed to cling onto their overall series lead... [more]

Olympic Sailing – Yngling drama on Fushan Bay
Rob Kothe,
After eight days of marginal sailing days in the 2008 Beijing Olympic sailing regatta, the wind gods provided a day of drama on Fushan Bay.... [more]

Bob Fisher,
The domination of the Finn class by Ben Ainslie was completed in the medal race in a manner that brooked no argument. His authority was written all over this performance and the fleet trailed in his wake and one felt that the other nine knew their place. There was no real challenge to the supreme champion.... [more]

Gold for Ainslie - second for GBR
Following Gold medal win for GBR in the Yngling, Ben Ainslie also took Gold in the Finn... [more]

Images from Qingdao: Yngling Medal Race
Richard Gladwell, Sail-World,
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Finn medal race off and on again
Bob Fisher,
It became painfully obvious that the Finn medal race was about to be called off. The rain was bucketing down, the wind was over 20 knots ad the visibility was less than 100 metres, but even more obvious in determining the outcome was the sight of PRO Peter Reggio tending the flags on the committee vessel.... [more]

Olympic Sailing: Yngling - Day 9, Table of Results
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Olympic Sailing: Entering Week 2
Dean Brenner Team Leader US Olympic Sailing Team,
The wind gods did not cooperate yesterday and the two medal races on Course A - Finn and Yngling - did not happen. But out on the other courses, some interesting things happened. Tim and Chris had another good day in the 49er. We will have three consecutive medal races today: Yngling at 1, Finn at 2, and 49er at 3.... [more]

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