Please select your home edition
Edition
GJW 2018 728x90

London Olympics 2012 - Medal day for the 470s

by Bob Fisher on 11 Aug 2012
Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell (GBR) roll tack on the third leg of the 470 Mens Medal race Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition: Was there any doubt that Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell would attack the Australian pairing of Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page? It was an all-too-obviously pre-planned strategy by the British crew, one that had the influence of Ben Ainslie stamped all over it. But it was something they had to do, the Brits needed to create a situation that put another crew between them and the Aussies - a big ask against the super-fast fleet leaders.

Sure enough, their match racing put them near the back of the ten boats as the starting gun fired, but critically the Brits were ahead and to windward as they headed out to the right hand side of the course. Patience and Bithell were the first to tack on to starboard, picking up a touch more breeze as they did so. It was then that it became more apparent that there were spikes in the breeze, spikes with two knots more wind and that these were going to have a major effect on the outcome.

It was, however, all going swimmingly for the British pair, the Croatians, Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic were sailing one of their best races of the series and providing the essential blocker for ultimate British success. Would that the race had finished at the first mark, where the order was Britain, Croatia and then Australia. We Poms were cheering our team on while the Okkers were telling everyone how fast Belcher and Page would be downwind.

Dammit, they got that right. Travelling noticeably deeper and faster they passed the Brits, as did the Croatians, and at the half-way stage were leading. The shifts on the upwind leg favoured the Croatians and once ahead they were never in danger. The Brits rounded fourth and started to charge. The umpires had other ideas and penalised Patience and Bithell for illegal propulsion. They took their penalty turn without hesitation and without losing a place, but the damage was done. It needed a reversal of places for a British triumph but the racecourse was running out. Dammit again. The Gold was Australia's and well deserved (It sometimes hurts to write the truth) and the Silver went to the Brits.


So, we said to ourselves, it has to be balanced by Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, the reigning world champions of the Women's 470s - they were level on points with the Kiwi duo, Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie. It was bound to be a match race and doubtless Ben had been to give the champs a few tips. So it looked too, but when the gun fired the principal protagonists were heading in different directions - the Kiwis to the right and the Brits, trapped under the Australians, to the left.

As luck would have it, Mr. Sod had his say in this race. The right side paid dividends big time and as the Kiwis trotted around the windward mark with a goodly lead, the Brits were dead last, a minute and a quarter in arrears. One felt for Hannah and Saskia - all that effort dissipated in a ten minute beat - and they were to lose another minute downwind. The only compensation that the Brits had was that they could not lose the silver medal and they did get past the Yanks (but there was little consolation in the latter fact). The Kiwis deserved their victory (ouch again!)

The 470 sailors know that they will have their chances again in 2016, unless there is another rush of bad blood to the heads of the ISAF Councillors. It is a boat with which the majority can identify and is universally established, one can never be certain, given the mood swings that occur at the Annual Meetings, or even in the truth of what actually took place when voting takes place.

It would appear that the Spanish delegate, entrusted with the voting on the Boards versus Kites matter, Gerardo Seeliger, did exactly as he was bid and voted (under orders) for kiteboards; it was only the President of the National Authority, FNEV, that decided he would curry favour with the rank-and-file and say that he had made a mistake and did so because he didn't understand. Senor Pombo, I would respectfully suggest that it is time for you to resign.

Marine Resources BOTTOMVaikobi 2019 - Footer 1RS Sailing BOTTOM

Related Articles

M32 European Series: GAC Pindar edges ahead
M32 newbie Inga Racing Team claims first bullet The nimble M32s came into their own on the first day of the San Remo warm-up event for the 2019 M32 European Series, when the featherweight one design catamarans were able to pick themselves up and provide fair
Posted on 22 Mar
Four dinghies put through their paces in Valencia
D-Zero, Laser, Melges 14 and RS Aero at Sea Trials From 11-15 March 2019, the D-Zero, Laser, Melges 14 and RS Aero were put through their paces at Sea Trials for the Men's and Women's One Person Dinghy Equipment for the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition.
Posted on 22 Mar
12 Metre World Championship preview
Event will harken back to America's Cup days in Newport When the 12 Metre World Championship comes to Newport, R.I. this summer (July 8-13), the significance of the venue will not be lost on sailing buffs, or for that matter, on sports historians in general.
Posted on 22 Mar
Ancasta storage offer
List your boat before the 30th April and pay nothing until it has sold List your boat for sale before the 30th April and pay nothing until your boat has sold. After the popularity of the storage offer we ran in the Autumn, we have decided to launch it again between now and the end of April.
Posted on 22 Mar
11th Hour Racing: 2nd Annual Urban Water Challenge
11th Hour Racing and Bluewater promote human ingenuity to tackle urban water threats In honor of World Water Day and the 2019 theme, 'leaving no one behind', 11th Hour Racing and Bluewater Group announced the second annual Urban Water Challenge, a global innovation competition that empowers entrepreneurs to deploy water technologies.
Posted on 22 Mar
Mirabaud Sailing Video Award 2019
The 2019 dates are confirmed The annual Mirabaud Sailing Video Award celebrates the best sailing videos produced each year across the world and their authors. Building on the lessons learned from the first two editions, the competition continues to evolve and refine its rules.
Posted on 22 Mar
GJW Direct Topper National Series 2 at WPNSA
150 helms for the Winter Championships After a five month break the GJW Direct Topper National Series got back underway with the NS2 Winter Championships at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy over the weekend of 23/24 February.
Posted on 22 Mar
Your Personal Best
Mens and womens bestsellers You liked it. We noticed. Chosen for their impeccable performance and outstanding quality, these bestsellers have been chosen by you.
Posted on 22 Mar
Next stage in multi-million pounds funding bid
For Artemis Technologies led project A Belfast-based bid led by Artemis Technologies has received funding from a major seedcorn programme that could see tens of millions of pounds pumped into its plans to decarbonise maritime transportation.
Posted on 22 Mar
Busy season planned for Solent Sunbeam class
Starting on Saturday 30th March on Chichester Harbour The 96-year-old Solent Sunbeam classic keelboat fleet has a busy racing and social schedule lined up for the coming sailing season, starting on Saturday 30th March 2019 an afternoon race around Chichester Harbour.
Posted on 22 Mar