Winding down at the Olympics

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 10 Aug 2012

The Olympic Regatta is all over bar the shouting, and there weren't any medals for Asia, except Xu Lijia's gold in the Laser Radial. A couple of days ago we commented on the lack of Asian performance in a sport that has previously been touted as appropriate for ‘the Asian physique' and we received some feedback – which is good because it means someone is reading this! The consensus of opinion is as follows:

1. Among the Asian nations sailing is not taken seriously as an elite sport. (Unlike things like table tennis, which we always thought of a something for a wet Saturday afternoon at the local Youth Club). The ‘raw material' may be there, but sailing has yet to gain traction as a culture or a pathway to a sporting career.
2. Many sailing teenagers do not move forward to adult sailing success as they move overseas to study and work.
3. Those with money and enthusiasm move from small boats to big boats – think of the first class big boat regattas in Asia.
4. Lack of government funding makes it especially hard for promising athletes to stay in the sporting system. In Hong Kong, one writer commented that ‘outside the main sailing/yacht clubs, there are almost zero incentives or facilities to reach higher levels. Government Sailing Centres seem to be focused entirely on numbers. They simply don't run top level squads, spending most of the time teaching beginners. They operate more like ‘leisure centres' in the UK than sports training and development facilities.'

Four years ago we asked Bob Fisher, one of the most respected commentators on the world sailing scene, what it was that had propelled Great Britain to the top of the table over recent years. He said, ‘Simple: they got rid of the Blazer Brigade,' meaning that the selection and training of athletes, and the administration of the national sailing programme had been taken away from those in positions of control more by virtue of their longevity or social standing than by their effectiveness – and placed firmly in the hands of people who knew what they were doing. Managers, coaches, trainers, all with their eyes firmly on the programme rather than the next dress-up dinner.

Having attended a number of occasions in Asia where the sartorial elegance of the officials substantially outshone the organisational level of the regatta, we can think of a couple of Asian nations that would do well to take heed.

The funniest sailing video ever!! Team,
I know this is a cruising site and the Olympics are all about racing, but that doesn't mean that the racers have exclusive rights to a sense of humour as well. Do watch this piece of 2012 Olympic sailing vision with an Irish commentary which has become the hit of the Games amongst the sailing media contingent.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012 - Perfidious Albion up close
Mark Chisnell,
The Nothe Course (aka Perfidious Albion) is the... ahem, difficult venue for the Olympic Medal Races, today I got to see it up close for the first time. The idea was to live blog the 470 Men's medal race from there, to add some live colour and atmosphere to the normal data-fed information. Unfortunately, this was the first day of the Olympics where the breeze failed to show and there was no racing... [more]
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London Olympic 2012 Sailing Competition - Results after day 12
Anna Parker,,
The London Olympic 2012 Sailing Competition is currently underway in Weymouth and after day 12, here are the latest results from the 49er Men's, Elliott 6m - Women's (Women's Match Racing), Finn, Laser Men's, Laser Radial Women's, RS:X Men's, RS:X Women's, 470 Men's, 470 Women's and Star Men's classes.... [more]
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London Olympics: Racing cancelled due to lack of wind
Richard Gladwell,
All racing was cancelled today, Thursday, in the 2012 Olympic Regatta at Weymouth. Around 1000hrs local time, the decision was taken to postpone racing with the possibility that it could get underway later in the day.... [more]
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London Olympics: More images from Weymouth Bay - 470's in big seas
Richard Gladwell,
Today was supposed to be the finals of the Mens Two Handed (470) event, but instead the wind didn't play ball and after six hours of sitting around racing was cancelled for the day. Here is a second gallery of images from the best day's sailing (not that there has been a bad day, yet.)... [more]
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London Olympics 2012 - Thursday at Weymouth
Bob Fisher,
Race officials all over Britain have been envious of the fortune bestowed on those running the races at the Olympic Games. Solid breeze every day and only a couple of course changes necessitated during ten days of high-level racing. Those who know Weymouth well, even the locals, have been staggered at this consistency, or they were until today.... [more]
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London Olympics: That Finn Race - How the Bronze was Lost and Won
Richard Gladwell,
The Medal Race for the Mens Heavyweight Singlehander (Finn) was probably the most watched race in Olympic sailing history. A crowd estimated at over 30,000 were gathered on the Nothe, a natural horse-shoe shaped amphitheatre, just outside the seawall at Weymouth.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012: Closing on gravy strokes - Thursday at Weymouth
Bob Fisher,
One of the most logical of all sailors has corresponded regarding the illogicality of the scoring system used at the Olympic regatta. He points out that, quite rightly, the ten-race system allows for one discard because the sailors' performances can best be measured on an average system.... [more]
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US Sailing Team's worst Olympic result since 1936
Rob Kothe & the Sail-World Team,
The United States has finished its quest for sailing medals in the 2012 London Olympics without success, for the first time since 1936. A clearly upset Dean Brenner, the outgoing chairman of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program, said ‘this is not the distinction this team was going for.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012 - Massive upsets in the Women's Elliot 6M class
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
Big upsets defined the second day of the quarterfinals of the Women's Match Racing event today at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy, situated in here in Portland, UK. Eight teams entered the quarterfinals, but only four teams are continuing on to the semi-finals. The winners of these next races will advance to Saturday's medal race.... [more]
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Brazilian yacht stuck in ice sheet in Antarctica
Merco Press/Sail-World Cruising,
Tragic but what an amazing photo. The four Brazilian crew members were taken off this yacht successfully when it sank in the Antarctic in April, likely due to ice compression and strong winds.... [more]
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420 Open and Ladies World Championships 2012 final day
International 420 Class Association,
Stunning final race action delivered the titles to Alex Kavas and George Kavas in the 420 World Championship and Singapore's Rachel Lee and Cecilia Low in the 420 Ladies Championship.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012 - RS:X Medal Race images by Carlo Borlenghi
Carlo Borlenghi,
London 2012 Olympic Games - RS:X Medal Race images by photographer Carlo Borlenghi.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012 Laser Radial – in the mixed zone
Rob Kothe and Jeraldine Kennedy,
At the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, there was an impressive display from the Laser Radial sailor of the 2012 season, China's Lijia Xu, who snagged the Gold Medal by winning the medal race. The 2008 Olympic bronze medallist had a great season with three World Cup wins and now Olympic Gold.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012 - Windsurfing's last hurrah
Bob Fisher,
As the medal race of the Women's RS:X windsurfer was played out, the thoughts of many must have been with the competing women for whom this was a last hurrah in the five-ring circus. Those five competitors were probably cursing the idiocy of the ISAF Council that robbed them of the highest level participation for their sport.... [more]
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London Olympics 2012 - Windsurfing's final Olympic performance
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
For fans of Olympic windsurfing, today is the last dance. Come the Summer Olympics 2016, kiteborders will replace the 'planks' as the go-fast, pyrotechnic class, making today the final chance for windsurfers to earn their coveted medals. Here at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy, situated in Portland, UK, these final hours have added an extra sense of urgency to the day's racing.... [more]
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420 Worlds - another title for Singapore
Singapore Sailing,
Going into the final day of racing yesterday, the Singapore team featured prominently in the Ladies standings, in second, third and fifth positions. Rachel Lee and Cecilia Low snatched victory from Chilean pair of Nadja Horwitz/Sofi. Middleton who had been leading the event throughout the week, by finishing ahead in the final race and securing victory by a single point!... [more]
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Book Review: Sailing: Catching the Drift of Why we Sail
Sail-World Cruising,
What drives someone to sail across the Atlantic or, single-handed, around the globe? Why do some sailors shun sailing races only to take to the water for days, or weeks or even months? What does it feel like to be a human, alone, in the middle of a huge ocean?... [more]
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Mauri Pro Sailing Point and Click - Part II
John Curnow,
In Part One of Point and Click with Mauri Pro Sailing, we saw how sailors all over the globe are turning to Juan Mauri and his team to assist them with anything and everything from a new furler to deck shoes.... [more]
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