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London Olympics 2012: Sailing Olympics Newsletter - Day 6
The fresh westerly breezes that have dominated this Olympic Regatta continued today – the sixth straight day of moderate to fresh winds.
While normally this would be an issue in most regatta venues, here at Weymouth the three course locations offer a variety of sailing conditions – with flat waters in the Portland Harbour. The horse-show shaped bay that is the Nothe course seems to have reasonably straight winds, that certainly don't lack for strength.
The eastern side of the Nothe forms a natural stadium for the capacity crowd of six thousand. Quite what would happen on this course if the wind swung east remains to be seen.
The Nothe is the venue for the Medal racing which starts on Sunday.
Two events being contested on the Nothe coiurse on Sunday are the Two man Keelboat (Star) and Heavyweight Single Hander (Finn).
In the Finn class, Ben Ainslie (GBR) stumbled on the first leg of the day, rounding the first mark in 11th place with his rival Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN) in fourth – had those placings remained at the finish – the climb for a fourth Gold Medal for Ainslie would have become very steep indeed.
But it was not to be, and once again Ainslie dug deep and pulled his way back into fifth place – conceding one more point. That was damage control. Ainslie got his foot back on the throat of the Dane in the tenth race, with a win, while Hogh-Christensen was third. Your one and up one. The deficit is now just two points with two single point scoring races left to sail plus the double points scoring medal race.
By scoring a race win today in Race 9, Pieter-Jan Postma entered the Gold Medal equation for the Finn class, and according to the very learned gentleman who sits across the other side of the Sail-World bench at the Media Centre, the Gold Medal will now be decided in the Medal Race.
The three way tussle means there will be no more playing silly buggers at the back of the Medal Race fleet, as the two competitors in contention try and matchrace each other into last place.
If correct it will have also saved the Live TV commentators trying to explain to the watching public, why the two Medal contenders are deliberately sailing around at the back of the fleet.
In the Two Man Keelboat, the British crew of Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, look to have their Olympic title defence well under control. This is a brutal, crushing performance rather than one that is full of flair and flash.
Behind the British crew it is a duel for the Silver and Bronze between Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) and Fredrick Loof and Max Salminer (SWE). Just Four points separate the two crews.
For years the rest of the world has looked at the British powerhouse of sailing and wondered whether it was built on a base of unique talent – Jim Saltonstall's 'Ferrets'. Or, whether there is a genuine talent development program that can take kids from Optimists and turn them into Olympic champions.
We had the answer to that, today with the Womens 470 event, which got underway on Weymouth Bay. Two former Optimist sailors, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, pulled through to the top of the leaderboard after the first day, to lead from the New Zealand pair of Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie.
August 3, 2012 - Weymouth, England - Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) lead the Womens 470 Race 1 at the end of the second leg, They led the 20 boat fleet at the end of the first day. Richard Gladwell
In this edition of Sail-World's Olympic newsletter we have all the background and reports on the day's racing, along with some great images from some of the world's top photographers.
Different patterns and stories are developing through all the classes contesting this Olympic regatta.
Read about how they are unfolding in this edition of Sail-World.com's Olympic newsletter