The Rio 2016 Blog - Final Day

Final Day of the Olympic Regatta

 

7.30pm

 

Brazil clinches 49erFX gold by just two seconds

The Olympic Sailing competition rose to a dramatic crescendo, with the home nation winning a gold medal in the Women’s Skiff by the most ridiculously small margin, just two seconds. Silver would have been great, but gold for Brazil has set off a party that will last for days. In the Men’s 470, Croatia won its first ever gold medal in Olympic sailing.

After no wind the previous afternoon, the final day delivered perfect 14-knot breezes for the finale. The four Medal Races kept the crowds on Flamengo Beach entertained all afternoon. It started with an ever-shifting battle for silver and bronze in the Women’s 470....

 

 

GBR wins 470 Women’s gold, New Zealand silver, France bronze in tight Medal Race

With Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) having already won the Women’s 470 gold medal, the battle for silver and bronze came down to a six-way fight between New Zealand, USA, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Slovenia. Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) took up the early running and led for the first lap, putting them in silver medal position ahead of the 2012 Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL).

The shifting wind produced some new race leaders on the final lap, with Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) streaking away to win the Medal Race. Meanwhile the battleground for the medals was changing by the moment. The Americans were given a penalty turn for fouling the Japanese crew which put them to the back and out of the medals. This left the way clear for New Zealand to take a jubilant silver medal with reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA) making a late charge from the back of the fleet to finish sixth, sufficient to give France the bronze by a single point from the Netherlands crew, Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED). It was tears of joy for the three Medal winning crews but the Americans were distraught after having controlled the race early on, only to come away with nothing.

On winning gold at her third Olympic Games and her second with Mills, Clark commented, “It’s our second Games together and to actually have a gold medal after seeing our team mates do it in the past and this week as well, for us it’s just so exciting.”

Mills said, “We’re totally overwhelmed right now. Obviously we knew we’d kind of clinched it but I did so many boat checks this morning because we still had to finish the race. That felt like such a lot of pressure to finish one 20-minute race. We were desperate to race yesterday but we are actually quite glad we didn’t as it was a cracking sailing day for our medal race with sunshine, wind and waves. It all overwhelms you at once - especially when you see your family and friends who have come all this way to support you and have been with you every step of the way and to be able to share this special moment with them was very overwhelming.”

Aleh had no regrets at not being able to defend the gold medal from London 2012. Silver was still great. “I don’t have any what-ifs. Sometimes in sport it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t. We’re just proud of the fact we’ve been able to fight all week and come out with a silver. It means more to us than a gold because we’ve had to fight for everything. Nothing went the way we wanted it to really. We just battled and to contemplate a silver from where we were half way through the event seemed like an impossibility, so we’re really happy.”

Lecointre was relieved to come away with bronze. “The competition level was close, there were six boats or even more who could have won a medal here so we are so happy we managed to come back into bronze medal position on the final lap of the last race.”

 


 

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 


Croatia wins first ever sailing gold in Men’s 470, Australia silver, Greece bronze

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have won Croatia’s first ever gold medal in Olympic sailing. The Croatians sailed a controlled race, making sure they stayed ahead of their rivals Australia and Greece. However Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) were much concerned about protecting the silver medal and engaged Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) in a match race before the start.

With the race underway, the Swiss team streaked off into the lead, but the three medal contenders were much more interested in covering each other’s moves at the back of the fleet. With the Aussies and Greeks caught up in their own duel, Croatia’s job of defending gold became straightforward.

Meanwhile, Belcher mostly had the best of Mantis until the top of the final windward leg when Ryan lost his footing and briefly fell overboard but still pulled himself back on board with this trapeze handle. The Greeks seized the moment and moved into the lead, but the Australians attacked again on the final run to the finish. They pressured the Greek boat into making a small mistake on a gybe, and the 2012 Olympic Champion steered the Aussie boat for the finish, crossing the line just six seconds before their rivals to secure silver for Australia. Despite missing out to the Australians, the Greek crew was still very happy with bronze after a tough series at Rio 2016. It’s amazing to be on the podium at the Olympic Games,” said Mantis. “It’s what I have always dreamed of. As the race started today it was a game for all of the medallists but as it continued it was a fight between us and the Australians until the end. We had a great last day of racing. The other medal winners sailed perfectly and they deserve it.”

Fantela and Marenic’s victory crowns a stunning week for Croatia, the 470 Men’s gold going alongside Tonci Stipanovic’s Laser Men’s silver just two days ago. Croatia had never won an Olympic medal in sailing, now it has two. “It was a good morning,” said Fantela. “I feel really happy, calm, no stress, no pressure. Like the first day of the rest of my life, I really feel good.”

From the outside, it seemed the Croatians made easy work of Rio, but Fantela commented, “This was one of the toughest weeks for me in my whole career, nine days of racing, a bent mast in the storm, a broken mainsail and lots of waiting on the shore. So I was taking every day as a challenge, as there was always something new. I knew if I stayed calm and focused all the time, I knew we could win the medal.”

 

Belcher had no regrets with his Ryan’s performance, not even the moment when Ryan half slipped out of the boat. “This is part of sport, we were in a really tight battle and mistakes happen. But for Will to be able to come back and refocus shows the level of our team’s ability. It’s been a difficult week for us. We’ve had to overcome a lot of things but I couldn’t be more proud of what our team have done and to come away with silver is a fantastic achievement. We wanted gold, but hats off to the Croatians because they truly deserve it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Men's Skiff - 49er 

 

New Zealand win 49er Gold, Australia silver, Germany bronze

For Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL), the Medal Race was a victory lap, the Kiwis having won the 49er Men’s gold medal with two races to spare after dominating the 20-boat fleet at Rio 2016 over the past week. The unstoppable Kiwis stamped their authority on today’s Medal Race just as they have throughout the past four years, the four-time World Champions undefeated since taking the Olympic silver medal in London 2012.

Tuke said, “We’ve been working hard on always getting better throughout the four-year cycle since London 2012 and this week I think is the best we’ve ever sailed.” Burling added, “We’ve always had this goal for the last eight years, and we’re super proud to do this for our country. Blair and myself wanted to go out and try and dominate early and come to this event with people chasing us. We enjoy the pressure of being the favourite and the challenge of trying to rise to that level of expectation.”

Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) began the day in silver medal position, but started the race very badly after a poor manoeuvre just 20 seconds before the start. This put the Germans on the back foot and opened the door for Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) to seize the advantage. The 2012 Olympic Champions did enough to stay ahead of their rivals and won silver for Australia, Germany taking bronze.

Outteridge might not have managed to defend the Olympic title but the Aussies were pleased to have upgraded their position on the podium. “We did as well as we could today, coming in we were bronze and the most we could get was silver and we managed do it so I am very happy.” Outteridge and Jensen have barely had a week off between professional sailing commitments. “We’re going to relax for a few weeks then head back to Bermuda and on to the America’s Cup.”

For Outteridge, the Olympic dream has been an obsession. “I remember watching the Sydney Olympics when I was a kid and remembered thinking that the sport I was doing was actually in the Games. I hadn’t really realised it before that stage so, from that point onwards it was always a passion and a dream to get to the Olympics. This is my third Olympics now and winning a gold and a silver out of three is a pretty good track record. I am proud of the achievements that Iain and I have made together.”

Ploessel said the final race could have gone better. “The Medal Race was really tough for us, especially with Nathan and Iain chasing us. We put ourselves under a little too much pressure and it was hard for us to have a good race. We will analyse our mistakes and come back stronger. Heil said, “We came here with the goal of finishing somewhere between second and sixth and if we sailed well maybe we could get a medal. So to achieve what we did, we are very happy.”

 

 

Women's Skiff – 49erFX 

 

Brazil wins 49erFX gold by 2 seconds from New Zealand

 

The crowd on Flamengo Beach went wild as Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) won gold by just two seconds from Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) in a nailbiting final run to the finish. New Zealand took silver and bronze went to Denmark’s Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN). The team to miss out on a medal from the four-way battle was the Spanish crew of Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP).

 

With the wind blowing 12 to 15 knots, New Zealand launched off the left-hand end of the start line, Brazil got away cleanly from the middle while Denmark and Spain made messy starts on the right. Maloney and Meech got into a good lead on the first lap but led Brazil by just 13 seconds at the halfway stage of the three-lap race. At the bottom gate, the Kiwis chose the right-hand side and Brazil broke off to the left in search of something different. When they came back together again at the top of the course, Brazil’s alternative tactics had given them a ten-second lead.

 

Down the run to the finish the Kiwis attacked hard and made up ground on the Brazilians but somehow Grael and Kunze held on to get across the line just two seconds ahead.

 

After five-time Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt just missed out on a sixth medal in the Laser, finishing an agonising fourth, it was critical that the Brazilian 49erFX team came away with something from the final race of Rio 2016. To come away with gold has sent their home nation into ecstasy. When Grael and Kunze won gold at the Olympic Test Event a year ago, the Brazilian media went wild. But one can only imagine how big this will go now that they have become Olympic Champions.

 

Grael’s victory continues a great family tradition, her father Torben having won five Olympic medals for Brazil. Torben was watching from a coach boat and was one of the first to congratulate his daughter. Martine said, “To receive the medals here in Rio with all our friends and family is indescribable. But I didn’t think about the fact the Brazilian sailing team had no medals. I was just focused on the race, nothing else.”

 

Kunze said, “Before starting the Medal Race we hugged each other and said, ‘Let’s give our best and no matter what the result it’s going to be fine.’ We were already happy to be among the first four teams, that was already an excellent result. And it’s incredible to compete at home with these amazing fans. We hope to influence more girls to compete in sailing and to make our sport grow.”

 

Maloney and Meech so nearly made it a Kiwi double in the Skiff classes after Pete Burling and Blair Tuke had won gold in the Men’s 49er. But any disappointment at missing 49erFX gold was swiftly cast aside as the Kiwi girls celebrated taking the silver. “It’s an amazing evening for the Brazilian girls,” said Maloney. “I think the next couple of weeks will be pretty special for them.”

 

With her brother Sam winning bronze two days earlier in the Laser Men’s division, it’s a double celebration for her family. “I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s been an amazing week,” said Molly. “We’ve sailed really well and were really happy with the way things have gone this week. The Olympics has been an amazing experience. It’s awesome to have all the support back home and everyone getting up early to watch us race, it’s really cool. The whole of the New Zealand sailing team has been working really hard for the last four years and I think that it’s all paid off for everyone. It’s amazing to be part of the team.”

 

Hansen and Salskov-Iversen beat the Spanish in the battle for bronze. The 49erFX was expected to deliver some of the most exciting and unpredictable racing at Rio 2016, but no one could have imagined that the gold would come down to the last two seconds.

 

 

1130am

Andy Rice previews the excitement of a four-way 49erFX Medal Race with Irish FX sailor Saskia Tidey....

 

1030am

Four Gold day set for four-way climax in 49erFX

Tuesday was a pretty amazing day, but today promises plenty of drama with four Medal Races on the cards. First up are the 470 Women at 1300 hours, quickly followed by 470 Men, 49er Men and reaching a climax with the 49erFX as four teams go into battle on an equal footing. It’s the perfect scenario and a perfect way to round off the sailing competition at Rio 2016.

The temperature’s going to about 23 degrees Celsius and the wind is set to blow about 10 to 11 knots from the south.


Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) have already won the Women’s 470 gold medal with the Medal Race to spare, but behind the British it’s shaping up to be an intriguing battle for silver and bronze.

A few protests at the end of the qualifying series have shaken up the running order. A disqualification from race eight has relegated Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) from the bronze medal position down to seventh overall and with a much slighter chance of a medal. A disqualification from race 9 has dropped the double World Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) out of medal contention altogether.

The team that have endured some brutal moments in an otherwise stellar week are the 2012 Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL). Despite counting a disqualification in their scores, some excellent results including four race wins see the Kiwis in silver medal position on the leaderboard. However, so close are the points that they go into the double-points Medal Race tied with Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) and reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA).

Just two points back are Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) and Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED) are still well within striking distance.

 

 

 

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

The 470 Men’s medals have been wrapped up by the top three teams in the standings. It’s just a matter of who wins what between Croatia, Greece and Australia.

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) have been the class act of this four-year-cycle up until the start of this year. But in Olympic year, Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have since become the ones to beat after winning a number of major regattas including the 2016 World Championships. Most people still had the Aussies pegged as favourites going into these Games, but the Croatians have been exceptional in Rio, a sixth place being the worst score they have carried through from the ten-race qualifying series. After seeing their fellow countryman Tonci Stipanovic win Croatia’s first ever medal in sailing yesterday, these childhood friends are looking to see if they can improve on Laser silver with a historic 470 gold.

Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) have come on strong towards the end of the week and sit 11 points off the lead. Just two points behind them are the Australians so it’s a case of who beats who to determine which of these crews gets the silver medal.

 

 

 

 

Men's Skiff - 49er 

For Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL), the Medal Race is a victory lap, the Kiwis having won the 49er Men’s gold medal with two races to spare after dominating the 20-boat fleet at Rio 2016 over the past week. However they always go all out to win, so don’t be surprised to see New Zealand winning the race today.

Behind them the battle rages on for the other medals, with Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) holding second place just three points in front of the Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS). This means the 2012 Olympic Champions need to get at least one boat between them and the Germans to secure silver.

However, the Germans and Aussies can’t afford to engage in a pure match race because waiting to ruin the party are Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) who lie ten points behind Australia.


 

Women's Skiff – 49erFX 

Four into three, doesn’t go. We know that from watching the Laser Radial Women’s race at London 2012 four years ago. For the 49erFX Women’s Medal Race we are looking at an identical scenario, with four crews going into Thursday’s finale on an equal footing. They are: Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP), Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL).

The fact that that the fourth-placed New Zealanders sit a point behind the top three tied on 76 points is academic, because the Medal Race is a double-pointer. The order that they cross the line will determine what colour of medal they win. Or if they will be the unfortunate ones to win nothing at all.

Three of the four teams have won a 49erFX World Championship, the odd ones out being the Danes who have a European title. But any of these teams would happily trade those titles for an Olympic gold at Rio 2016. Only one of these eight sailors, Spain’s Echegoyen, knows what it feels like to be Olympic Champion after winning gold in the Women’s Match Racing four years ago.

If Brazil wins, the celebrations will be long and loud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 10 Olympic Regatta

 

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark

© World Sailing/ Sailing Energy: Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark have won gold 

 

5pm

470s sweat it out on windless Guanabara Bay

After all the thrills of the previous day, perhaps it was inevitable the Olympic sailing competition would be a bit of a comedown today. Unfortunately the wind failed to materialise and the 470 Men and Women will have to hold off another 24 hours. Which will set up another bumper day of Medal Races, with four back-to-back finals of 470 and 49er/49erFX skiff racing.

There were a few 470 Women’s teams out on the water readying themselves for a medal battle, including Ai Kondo & Miho Yoshioka (JPN). “We have strong emotions coming from inside and we want a medal today,” said Kondo. “We are aware that the points are narrow but all we can do is our best and hope we have a fantastic race.”

Hannah Mills & Saskia Clark (GBR) on the other hand could relax and enjoy the sunbathing on Guanabara Bay in their gold-medal-winning boat. “It was a really quiet night and we just went for dinner with our boyfriends and our physio,” said Mills. “We crawled into bed around 10pm as we were absolutely exhausted. I actually then stayed awake for another three hours as I was wired yet knackered and my eyes were burning but I couldn’t sleep.”

Mills would have liked to have got the Medal Race completed, but the wait for that gold medal goes on. “You just want to stand on the podium with the medal around your neck so no one can take it away from you. There’s little things in competition that can add points to your score and we want it to be done.” Clark added: “None of us were expecting [to win with the Medal Race to go] in a venue like this as it’s so hard. It’s been seven long days of competition and three races yesterday. It was hard to keep emotional control.”

The 470 Men finalists never made it to the water, and they will also have to wait until Thursday when the forecast looks better. Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (USA) are in fourth overall. “We’re always excited for Medal Racing,” said Hughes. “It’s a wonderful part of our sport. Ten boats of high calibre battling against each other always makes for wonderful racing. It’s mathematically impossible for us to go above fourth but our goal is to race our best race and leave the Olympics with good feelings.”

There is a lot more at stake for Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS), carrying the weight of expectation of a gold medal to match the one that Belcher won four years ago. “It’s been a really challenging week for us,” said Belcher. “We said very early on that we wanted to be in a position to fight for gold and we’re in that position and looking forward to the challenge.”

Ryan is at his first Games. “It’s amazing [to fight for a medal]. I’ve been sailing the 470 almost for nine years now with the goal to come to the Olympics and to fight for a gold medal on the last day. I couldn’t ask for more than that and when you look back at it it’s been an amazing experience. It’s been a rollercoaster journey this week but that’s part of the game. We’re in a great position to go out and give it everything and we’ll see how it plays out.”

 

Belcher was philosophical about their situation on the leaderboard, lying in third place and 13 points behind the Croatian team, Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO). “The Games are about setting your top performance,” said Belcher. “They [Croatia] came here having won the world championships at the beginning of the year and obviously they’re ranked world #1 and we’re world #2. We knew they were going to come out firing. We are really proud of our performance this week. That’s all we can really control and we expect it to be a battle. You don’t get given it, you’ve got to earn it and the challenges that we’ve had this week we’ve overcome a lot of things and we’re proud to be in this position.”

 

 

11.30am

Andy Rice talks with Laser Olympic Champion Tom Burton on the day 10 morning show....

 

10.30am

 

470 Medals hanging in the balance

Everyone is still buzzing from an extraordinary Tuesday that produced so much drama. The action on the 470 race courses was pretty significant too, but it barely made the headlines against all the other excitement going on in the Medal Races. However, today is the day for the 470 Men and Women to shine as they contest their Medal Races on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course.

Trouble is, it’s not a great looking forecast. The temperature’s going to about 29 degrees Celsius and the wind is looking very light and patchy for this afternoon. Yesterday’s wind came in better than expected, and we’ve got fingers crossed for the same to happen later today.

 

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) have already won the Women’s 470 gold medal with the Medal Race to spare, but behind the British it’s shaping up to be an intriguing battle for silver and bronze.

A few protests last night have shaken up the running order. A disqualification from race eight has relegated Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) from the bronze medal position down to seventh overall and with a much slighter chance of a medal. A disqualification from race 9 has dropped the double World Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) out of medal contention altogether.

The team that have endured some brutal moments in an otherwise stellar week are the 2012 Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL). Despite counting a disqualification in their scores, some excellent results including four race wins see the Kiwis in silver medal position on the leaderboard. However, so close are the points that they go into the double-points Medal Race tied with Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) and reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA).

Just two points back are Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) and Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED) are still well within striking distance.

 

 

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

If Stu McNay and David Hughes (USA) can win the Medal Race and the Australians finish last, the Americans will just sneak the bronze medal. Apart from that unlikely but not impossible scenario, the 470 Men’s medals are wrapped up by the top three teams in the standings. It’s just a matter of who wins what between Croatia, Greece and Australia.

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) have been the class act of this four-year-cycle up until the start of this year. But in Olympic year, Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have since become the ones to beat after winning a number of major regattas including the 2016 World Championships. Most people still had the Aussies pegged as favourites going into these Games, but the Croatians have been exceptional in Rio, a sixth place being the worst score they have carried through from the ten-race qualifying series. After seeing their fellow countryman Tonci Stipanovic win Croatia’s first ever medal in sailing yesterday, these childhood friends are looking to see if they can improve on Laser silver with a historic 470 gold.

Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) have come on strong towards the end of the week and sit 11 points off the lead. Just two points behind them are the Australians so a case of who beats who to determine which of these crews gets the nicer medal.

 

 


 

Day 9 Olympic Regatta

 

7.30pm

 

Emotional Nacra gold for Argentina, first ever sailing medal for Croatia

 

After a shaky weather forecast and a fear of lack of wind, the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course delivered some excellent conditions for four nailbiting Medal Races. The oldest man in the competition, recently recovered from cancer, won a gold medal. Croatia won its first ever Olympic medal in sailing. And that’s just the start of it.


 

Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17 

Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) have won gold after a heart-stopping Medal Race in the Nacra 17 Mixed Multihull. Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) took silver and bronze goes to Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT).

The Argentineans made hard work of the Medal Race, picking up a penalty early on to round the first mark at the back. But they fought back to third by the top of the final lap, only to incur another penalty for sailing too close to the Austrians. After dropping the gennaker and taking their 360 penalty turn, Lange and Saroli rallied to cross the finish in sixth place, just seven seconds ahead of the Italians.

It was a crucial seven seconds that gave gold to Argentina by a single point from Australia. The young Aussies crossed the finish behind the New Zealand team of Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL), but more importantly finished 10 seconds ahead of the Austrians who crossed for third place. Australia and Austria were tied on points, but silver goes to Waterhouse and Darmanin for their superior finish in the Medal Race.

Looking back at that extraordinary race, Lange commented, “We started the Medal Race with an unfair penalty because the British didn’t give us room to dodge the Australians. It was hard but we have sailed here many times since November when we came to live here. The wind was unstable, I saw it and I was quite sure how to do things, others were wrong. We sailed an incredible race.”

It has been an extraordinary Games for Lange, at 54 the oldest competitor in the sailing at Rio 2016. He has had the pleasure of watching his sons, Yago and Klaus, represent the nation in the 49er skiff, and he has survived cancer in the past year.

Lange says the rigours of his sport helped to save his life and return to competition after he lost half a lung to cancer just a year ago. His hectic schedule led to diagnosis of the disease, he said, while the experience of five Olympic campaigns, winning two medals along the way, was key in keeping him positive through his ordeal and returning for a sixth challenge.

Lange, with crewmate Carlos Espinola, won bronzes for Argentina at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 in the now discontinued two-person Tornado class event before combining with Saroli (ARG) in 2014 in the Nacra 17 mixed class, a new addition to the Olympic sailing schedule at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Plans were suddenly placed on hold in 2015 when Lange was diagnosed with cancer and eventually had half his left lung removed. "The six months I was dealing with that, I was so positive," Lange said. "Now when I look back it was a good experience, difficult but I learned a lot. I was operated on in Barcelona and after five days I was cycling, in a month I was back sailing.”

Lange was reluctant to dwell too much on his cancer episode. “This may help to give strength to many people who are going through what I've been through. But I prefer to focus on what we did athletically. The disease has nothing to do with it, it was a stone in the road. I became obsessed with getting to Rio very well prepared and we did.”

He was also reluctant to focus on his age. “I am a firm believer that you carry your age in your heart and in the desire to do things, not in the numbers. I do not look at the number of your age, only the desire I have for my goals and to achieve them.”


 

Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser 

Tom Burton (AUS) has won Olympic gold in the Men's One Person Dinghy after a tense pre-start battle with Tonci Stipanović (CRO). Even if Stipanović let gold slip from his grasp, he has still won Croatia’s first ever medal in Olympic sailing. Sam Meech (NZL) took bronze.

With the Australian being the only sailor who could threaten Croatian gold, Stipanović engaged Burton in an aggressive duel before the start. However the match racing tactic backfired as the Australian turned the tables on his rival, with Stipanović given a 360 degree penalty by the jury for failing to keep clear of Burton.

“I wasn’t really going to engage especially with four minutes to go,” said Burton. “There wasn’t much point but he wanted to have a little bit of a go so I was just seeing what I could do. You just needed something to come off late so if it happens with two minutes to go it’s not really effective so you do your penalty and it’s over. We had a lot of talks the last two days about catch and release. Get a penalty and make it back for the start and it couldn’t have come off any better. It was perfection nearly.”

Stipanović was a long way last off the start line and had to play catch-up during the race. Burton was near the back too, and Meech was looking to capitalise on the situation with the New Zealander threatening Australia for the silver. However, Burton moved through the fleet to finish third across the line while Stipanović never recovered from his bad start.

Robert Scheidt (BRA) may not have succeeded in his quest for a record sixth Olympic sailing medal in front his adoring home crowd, but the 43-year-old still gave the spectators on Flamengo Beach something to cheer about as the Brazilian legend sailed across the finish in first place. He had finished fourth overall, four points off a medal.

The new Olympic Champion Burton concluded: “A few days into the regatta I thought I was out of it. I had a bit of a bad day and some tough situations but the amount of hours I put into it, the things I sacrificed like my sister’s wedding, I didn’t go to the Opening Ceremony and it’s all worth it now.”

 

 

 

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial 

Marit Bouwmeester (NED) has won the Laser Radial gold medal that eluded her four years ago. Silver went to Annalise Murphy (IRL), a sweet reward after finishing an agonising fourth place at London 2012. Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) took bronze.

It was a tense Medal Race in light and fluky airs on the Pão de Açucar course in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain. Bouwmeester looked to be in a good position during the early stages, but a big split developed in the fleet after the top of the final lap, and the Dutch and Danish contenders were dropped to the back. They could only watch as Murphy and the other front runners sailed away and across the finish line more than a hundred metres ahead.

It was so close between the front five boats on the final run, there was a chance the Irish sailor could steal gold from the Netherlands. But Murphy crossed the line in fifth, yielding the Olympic title to Bouwmeester. With Rindom back in eighth, Murphy had done enough to take silver. All three sailors celebrated and every one of them looked delighted to have emerged with a medal from perhaps the toughest sailing venue ever seen at an Olympic Games.

Bouwmeester now has the gold to go with the silver she took in London 2012. It was a tense moment for the Dutch sailor wondering if she’d done enough for gold. “I didn’t know who finished first when I crossed the line and Annalise looked so happy celebrating and I was like, ‘Do I have it? Do I have it? Do I not have it? I think I have it but I’m not sure.’ I didn’t know - but now it feels so unreal and I am very happy.”

Murphy said, “I don’t know what to feel, I’m really happy, a bit shocked and I don’t think it’s going to sink in for a while. Marit’s been sailing so well for the last eight years, she deserves the gold. It’s an incredible feeling and I’m just so happy that I’m able to turn my fourth in London into a second here.”

Rindom admitted, “I have a little bit of mixed feelings because it was not my best race but in total I’m very satisfied with my results. This was the goal from the beginning and now I made it. So of course I’m happy.”

 

 

 

Heavyweight Men's One Person Dinghy - Finn 

Giles Scott (GBR) had already wrapped up the Finn gold medal before contesting the Medal Race today, but Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) secured silver, the third Olympic medal of his career, while Caleb Paine (USA) sailed a great race to clinch bronze on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course.

All ten competitors had a shot at winning a medal of some colour, so close were the points going into today’s finale. The exception was four-time and reigning World Champion Scott whose 24-point buffer made him unassailable for the gold medal. Ivan Gaspic (CRO) started the day in bronze medal position but the American Paine  went better in the moderate winds to finish first across the line, which gave the ecstatic American the medal by a comfortable margin.

Scott said, “It was great to be able to go out and enjoy that race today. The 17th place on day one on the Sugarloaf course was not the way I wanted to start the regatta and it wasn’t until day three or four that I started to believe that the gold was in my grasp. Winning four World Championships is great, but this is one that everyone wants and everyone remembers, so now to have an Olympic gold is a great feeling.”

 

Zbogar commented, “I feel relieved. I feel relieved that it’s over. It just went well. I was only dreaming of it one week ago. I feel very happy because it’s in a different class. The first two were in a Laser, this is in Finn. I am by far the oldest sailor in the Finn and this result is even more meaningful. My body is a bit old and I was struggling over the last few years and I continue pushing all the time. Fortunately, my mind is still 20 years old and I pushed every race as much as I could. I managed to survive the week and I just wanted to be in with a challenge of a medal. I had nothing to gain in the race, I had everything to lose, as Giles had gold. There was a small chance I could lose it. I knew I couldn’t push too much but I did anyway. Second place for me is something unbelievable.”

After USA left London 2012 with no medals, Paine has brought an end to the medal drought for this great sailing nation. “It’s pretty awesome, it’s been a pretty tough regatta and to be able to come away with a medal at the end is a great feeling. It was a tough push and a hard Medal Race but fortunately enough it makes it easier when you hit the right shifts off the bat and I just had to make sure I didn’t mess it up. I was fortunate to establish a lead right ahead of time and let everyone else make mistakes and I sailed the best race I could.”

 

 

 

 

There has been plenty of drama going on across Guanabara Bay besides the four Medal Races at Rio 2016’s Olympic sailing competition. Two gold medals have been decided with a day to spare, and the 49erFX Medal Race is set to be a humdinger.


 

Men's Skiff - 49er 

Burling and Tuke wrap up Kiwi 49er gold with two races to spare

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) have won the 49er Men’s gold medal with two races to spare after dominating the 20-boat fleet at Rio 2016 over the past week. The New Zealanders have gone undefeated in major competition in the 49er fleet since taking the silver medal at London 2012. They have won all four of the last World Championships and were expected to deliver gold for New Zealand this week. Even Burling and Tuke might be surprised at the ease with which they’ve managed their extraordinary feat, however.

Behind them the battle rages on for the other medals, with Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) holding second place in front of the 2012 Olympic Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS).


 

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) have won the Women’s 470 gold medal with the Medal Race to spare. The British team, who took silver four years ago at London 2012, sailed a very solid day with scores of 3,2,3 to carry an unassailable 20 point advantage into tomorrow’s Medal Race. The only thing that stands in the Brits’ way is if they receive a technical two-point penalty for failing to follow pre-Medal Race procedures. But they’re unlikely to jeopardise their gold with any such oversight. Their arch-rivals, the defending Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) have sailed an incredible comeback series after clocking up two expensive disqualifications earlier in the competition. The Kiwis’ scores of 1,1,4 today have lifted them back to the silver medal position, with the double-points Medal Race poised for a fierce battle for silver and bronze as six teams are separated by just 11 points. They are Slovenia, USA, France, Japan and the Netherlands. Austria’s double World Champions have had a disappointing week by their high standards, but Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) still have an outside shot at silver or bronze.

 


Women's Skiff – 49erFX 

Four into three, doesn’t go. We know that from watching the Laser Radial Women’s race at London 2012 four years ago. For the 49erFX Women’s Medal Race we are looking at an identical scenario, with four crews going into Thursday’s finale on an equal footing. They are: Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP), Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL).

The fact that that the fourth-placed New Zealanders sit a point behind the top three tied on 76 points is academic, because the Medal Race is a double-pointer. The order that they cross the line will determine what colour of medal they win. Or if they will be the unfortunate ones to win nothing at all.

Three of the four teams have won a 49erFX World Championship, the odd ones out being the Danes who have a European title. But any of these teams would happily trade those titles for an Olympic gold at Rio 2016. Only one of these eight sailors, Spain’s Echegoyen, knows what it feels like to be Olympic Champion after winning gold in the Women’s Match Racing four years ago.

 


 

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

Earlier in the day, Laser sailor Tonci Stipanović made history to become the first sailor to win an Olympic medal for Croatia. But Laser silver could be eclipsed less than 24 hours later by 470 Men’s gold. Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have sailed a stellar week in tough conditions, and the reward is an 11-point gap over the nearest opposition. That opposition, you might have thought would be Australia. But no, it’s the Greeks, Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE), who now sit in silver medal position after notching up three second places on Tuesday afternoon. Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) have a lot to do if they’re to keep the gold medal for Australia, a nation which has all but owned this event since it won its first of many 470 golds back in Sydney 2000. The Aussies sit just two points the Greeks, so silver is well within their grasp. Gold is more of a stretch. Such is the lead of the top three, no other team can attack the podium. The best of the rest is the American crew, Stu McNay and David Hughes (USA).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

1130am

Andy Rice previews the day of Medal Races with Nacra 17 sailor from Germany, Carolina Werner....

 

10am

 

Four Medal Races set for Sugarloaf

It’s another warm day with 26 degrees Celsius set for race time. With very light airs forecast from somewhere in the south, the prospect of getting today’s racing away on time at 1300 hours looks a bit touch and go.

After yesterday’s day of long waiting with no wind on the inner courses, followed by yesterday afternoon’s storm that put a dramatic end to proceedings, there’s a lot to catch up on. If the wind comes good then we’ve got four back-to-back Medal Races on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course. It starts at 1300 hours with the Women’s Laser Radial, closely followed by the Men’s Laser at 1345, the Finns at 1430 and concluding with the Nacra 17 Mixed Multihulls at 1515. The Medal ceremonies are set to take place from 1630.

It’s a big day for the 470s with three races scheduled on the Niterói course, and the Men’s and Women’s Skiff fleets each contest three races on the inner courses.

 

 

Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser 

Tonci Stipanović (CRO) has already secured Croatia’s first ever medal in Olympic sailing, with the silver guaranteed. With a ten-point buffer on Tom Burton (AUS), the only sailor that can threaten Croatian gold, will Stipanović look for a match race with the Australian? Burton meanwhile has the dilemma of going all out for gold, or doing his best to defend silver from Sam Meech (NZL) who is ten points behind his fellow Antipodean. Then again Meech has a similar worry, with three hungry athletes desperate to get on that podium. Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) is the closest threat to the Kiwi, nine points back, and a point further back are the reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) and Robert Scheidt (BRA). The legendary Brazilian has a massive task on his hands to win bronze, but if anyone is man enough for the job, it’s the five-time Olympic medallist.

 

 

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial 

The fight for gold in the Women’s Laser Radial will be a three-way battle between Marit Bouwmeester (NED), Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) and Annalise Murphy (IRL). For the Dutch and Irish sailors, this is familiar territory as there are similarities with the showdown four years ago at London 2012. Bouwmeester is looking to improve on London silver, Murphy would just like to stay on the podium after tearfully missing out last time.

The difference from London is that Bouwmeester has eight points on Rindom and ten on Murphy. Also looking to attack for the silver and bronze medals are the competitors in fourth and fifth, 2012 bronze medallist Evi van Acker (BEL) and Tuula Tenkanen (FIN).

 

 

Heavyweight Men's One Person Dinghy - Finn 

Giles Scott (GBR) has already said how happy he is to have wrapped up the Finn gold medal before contesting the Medal Race on the notoriously fickle Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course. With a 24-point lead over second place, the four-time World Champion will sail Tuesday’s Medal Race as a formality. Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) holds a 13 point lead over Ivan Gaspic (CRO), which sets up the Slovenian nicely for the silver medal, while the Croatian will have to be mindful of the fourth and fifth placed sailors, Caleb Paine (USA) and Max Salminen (SWE) in the fight for the remaining medals. If Zbogar were to finish last and either of the American or the Swede were to finish first, they could just take the silver provided the Croatian is worse than third. Sounds like a tall order, but Salminen won an ‘impossible’ gold medal at London 2012 sailing with Freddie Loof in the Star. Strange things can happen in Medal Races, especially on this race course.

 

 

Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17 

Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) go into the Medal Race with a five point lead over Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA). There are seven teams with a shot at gold, the others being Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT), Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS), Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL), Matías Bühler and Natalie Brugger (SUI), and Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA).  The French team couldn’t follow up with the quite the stellar performance of the previous day, yet the four-time World Champions do have the slimmest of mathematical opportunities to come away with the Olympic title. That would be quite a turnaround after the week Besson has endured with his painful and debilitating back injury. Judging by the wacky racing that the Nacra 17 fleet endured on the Sugarloaf course at the start of the regatta, this really could be anyone’s day.

 

 

 

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have extended their lead over arch-rivals Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS). Once again, whatever the wildly variable conditions in Rio can throw at the Croatians. With an 11-point gap between them, Belcher will really need to turn it on for the final three qualifying races if he’s to retain his Olympic crown. Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) are in third. Three races are scheduled on Niterói out on the ocean.


 

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) hold the lead, although the team now closest to them are the Americans four points back, Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA). Third place is held by Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO), although just a point behind are reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA) and a point further behind the French are Ai Kondo and Miho Yoshioka (JPN). With three races scheduled on Niterói course, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) have to put in a sensational day to get back in medal contention after picking up two disqualifications in their series.

 

 

 

Women's Skiff – 49erFX 

Today the 49erFX fleet lines up on Aeroporto course for the conclusion of its qualifying series. Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) fired in two bullets from the previous day’s three races on the Niterói course, moving the reigning World Champions to the top of the scoreboard. Behind them are two former World Champion crews, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) who are four points behind the Spanish in second, and Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) just one point behind the Kiwis in third overall. Although previous leaders Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) have slipped to fourth overall, the Danes are only nine points off the lead.


 

Men's Skiff - 49er 

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) have opened up an 18 point lead over Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER). Even if the gold is beginning to get away from the Germans, they do at least have a healthy 15 point lead over the reigning Olympic Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen. After scoring two firsts and a third place out on the ocean yesterday, it will be interesting to see if Julien d’Ortoli and Noe Delpech (FRA) can carry that momentum on to the flatter water of Escola Naval today, and attack for the podium. Lukasz Przbytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) are the best of the rest and could still move into the top three, as could Ireland, Great Britain, Denmark and Argentina.

 


 

 

 

Day 8 Olympic Regatta

 

Lasers in Rio 2016 

 6pm

 

Too little wind, then a demolition derby to round off the day

 

It was the most frustrating day so far of the Olympic sailing competition, with the wind refusing to play fair on Guanabara Bay. After sitting around for most of the day in next to no wind, the ten finalists for the Women’s Laser Radial Medal Race were released from the shore just before 4pm. At the time, the idea of wind arriving seemed optimistic, but just ten minutes later the breeze had risen to a very pleasant 15 knots. Just five minutes after that, the wind was gusting in at over 30 knots and the waves were building up quickly. The race committee made the reluctant call to postpone the Medal Race until Tuesday.

 

The Men’s Laser Medal Race will also be pushed back to Tuesday, which will make for a very busy afternoon’s entertainment, as the Finns and Nacra 17s are also set to decide their medals.

 

The 470 Men’s and Women’s fleets didn’t manage any racing in the Bay as they waited for wind, but when the big 4pm buster arrived, boats were capsizing everywhere. Sails shredded, and it will be a long evening for some crews making sure their boats are repaired and ready for the next day.

 

Out on the ocean courses the 49er Men and 49erFX Women enjoyed some stunning conditions but for the Men’s fleet it was a race to get back to the Marina da Gloria as the worst of the late afternoon gusts struck just as the last boats were crossing the finish line.

 

Of the abandoned Radial Medal Race, second placed Anne Marie Rindom (DEN) commented, “It was okay, no problems. Sailors are used to this. Sometimes we have days and days where we wait. It was no different today. Of course it was an important race that we had to sail today but it’s okay. I think it was not a good decision to be sent out because we knew that the storm was coming and it was a good decision we didn’t start.

 

“The wind was not only a little bit too much but it was also a bit shifty and we wouldn’t have found the right winner today. They have all day tomorrow to do a race in 20 minutes so it’s the right decision.”

 

 

 

Women's Skiff – 49erFX 

 

Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) fired two bullets from today’s three races on the Niterói course, moving the reigning World Champions to the top of the scoreboard. Behind them are two former World Champion crews, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) who are four points behind the Spanish in second, and Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) just one point behind the Kiwis in third overall.

 

Although previous overnight leaders Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) scored a second in the last race of the day, their earlier scores of 9,16 have hurt the Danish team who are now fourth overall. However the Danes are only nine points off the lead and there are still three more qualifying races scheduled for Tuesday before Thursday’s Medal Race.

 

Echegoyen, the London 2012 Olympic Champion in match racing, commented, “We are very happy, we have sailed very well today. It was very important to be very open minded, to be able to adapt ourselves to what was happening. We were well prepared for today’s three races, both in terms of understanding the conditions with our meteorologist and also regarding the tactics.

 

“In the two first races it was clear where to go, but the third one was really crazy and we just sailed with the wind shifts. It has been a good day, but also quite difficult, we have had to work a lot. These results give us the confidence to keep on going in this way. Now we are leading but we are all very close on points. Still three races and the Medal Race ahead, so we have to go step by step and keep on going.”

 

 

 

 

Men's Skiff - 49er 

 

Perhaps inspired by French gold and bronze in the Windsurfing the previous day, Julien d’Ortoli and Noe Delpech fired their way up the rankings into fourth place after mastering the Copacabana course with two firsts and a third place. This puts the French just two points the third-placed Australians, reigning Olympic Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen.

 

Meanwhile it’s business as usual for the ever dominant Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) whose scores of 2,3,1 have opened up an 18 point lead over Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER). Even if the gold is beginning to get away from the Germans, they do at least have a healthy 15 point lead over the Aussies, with just three qualifying races remaining before the Medal Race.

 

Burling said, “We’re pleased with three low scores, the boat was going really fast. We had some beautiful conditions for racing but got hit by a massive squall on the way in. It was maybe 45 or 50 knots.” Tuke added, “A south-west front came in and it went from 11 knots to more than 40 knots in the space of 10 minutes.” Even the four-time World Champions capsized in the storm-force conditions. “We struggled to stay upright just with the mast up. Some massive waves out there, just happy to be back on shore,” said Burling, shivering and itching to get back to checking over the boat for any damage.

 

The Germans seemed to enjoy the mad ride in through the storm a little more than the Kiwis. “We ragged it quite fast on the way in,” said Heil. “But what lucky timing. Just after the last guy came across the finish line, the breeze came in 130 degrees from the other side, and with massive force. Even with just the mast up and no sails, we still needed to get on the trapeze to stop the boat tipping over. We have some boat work to do, we have damaged the sails, we have to check the mast.”

 

Noe Delpech was barely thinking about what a good day he’d had after getting ashore - just happy to be in one piece. “We had three good starts and are very happy with our speed and strategy today. But then there was the wind that arrived straight afterwards. We capsized many times. The mainsail went flying through the air and it fell in the water but our coach managed to save it before we lost it. We had a bad last hour on the water. The sails are not in great condition but I think we are OK mostly.”

 

Delpech was pleased to have closed in on the podium but like all Olympic sailors never likes to get ahead of himself. “We are two points behind the bronze medal position, so yes, for sure we can start thinking about the options to get a medal, but we have still three important races to do tomorrow. We just go race by race.”

 

 

 

 

 

11am

 

Andy Rice chats this morning with Croatian Radial competitor Tina Mihelic.....

 

 

 

10am

Croatia chasing its first sailing gold

 

With just 7 knots breeze forecast from the north, the prospect of getting today’s racing away on time at 1300 hours looks shaky. It’s going to be the hottest day for a while, with 28 degrees Celsius set for race time. The crowd on Flamengo Beach will be cheering on the Men’s Laser and Women’s Laser Radial fleets as they watch the battle for the medals on Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course.

It’s a big day for the 470s with three races scheduled, and the Skiff fleets go out to sea for three races on the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

 


Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser 

 

Tonci Stipanović (CRO) has already secured Croatia’s first ever medal in Olympic sailing, with the silver guaranteed. With a ten-point buffer on Tom Burton (AUS), the only sailor that can threaten Croatian gold, will Stipanović look for a match race with the Australian? Burton meanwhile has the dilemma of going all out for gold, or doing his best to defend silver from Sam Meech (NZL) who is ten points behind his fellow Antipodean. Then again Meech has a similar worry, with three hungry athletes desperate to get on that podium. Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) is the closest threat to the Kiwi, nine points back, and a point further back are the reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) and Robert Scheidt (BRA). No surprises for guessing who the crowd on Flamengo Beach will be cheering for. The legendary Brazilian has a massive task on his hands to win bronze today, but if anyone is man enough for the job, it’s the five-time Olympic medallist.

 

 

 

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial 

The fight for gold in the Women’s Laser Radial will be a three-way battle between Marit Bouwmeester (NED), Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) and Annalise Murphy (IRL). For the Dutch and Irish sailors, this is familiar territory as there are similarities with the showdown four years ago at London 2012. Bouwmeester is looking to improve on London silver, Murphy would just like to stay on the podium after tearfully missing out last time.

The difference from London is that Bouwmeester has eight points on Rindom and ten on Murphy. Also looking to attack for the silver and bronze medals are the competitors in fourth and fifth, 2012 bronze medallist Evi van Acker (BEL) and Tuula Tenkanen (FIN).

 

 

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have extended their lead over arch-rivals Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS). Once again, whatever the wildly variable conditions in Rio can throw at the Croatians, they seem to have an answer and today the result was 3,4 for Croatia, 8,10 for Australia. With an 11-point gap between them, Belcher will really need to turn it on for the final three qualifying races if he’s to retain his Olympic crown. Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) are in third. Three races are scheduled on Escola Naval.


 

 

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) hold the lead, although the team now closest to them are the Americans four points back, Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA). Third place is held by Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO), although just a point behind are reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA) and a point further behind the French are Ai Kondo and Miho Yoshioka (JPN). With three races on the cards out on Escola Naval course, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) have to put in a sensational day to get back in medal contention after picking up a UFD start-line disqualification yesterday.


 

 

Men's Skiff - 49er 

Copacabana course will present a new challenge for the Men’s 49er fleet, and the big waves could make for a fun three races for those who don’t struggle with sea sickness. No surprise that Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) are leading, but only by two points from Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) who are pushing the Kiwis hard. Then it’s more than 15 points back to third placed Lukasz Przbytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) who have a big bunch of teams breathing down their necks and all within a couple of points of each other: Ireland, Japan, Australia, Spain and Denmark.



Women's Skiff – 49erFX 

If the wind comes in the 49erFX racing on Niterói we’ll see some of the most spectacular sailing yet in the Olympic competition. Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) are just ahead of Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), although the Brazilians sail in these waters more than anyone so that could be a factor today.  On equal points with Brazil are Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL), and just five points further back are reigning World Champions Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP).


 

 

 

 

Day 7 Olympic Regatta

 

 

11am

Andy Rice chats with seven-time Olympian João Rodrigues from Portugal, in advance of today's RS:X Windsurfer Medal Races. João just missed out on the Men's Medal Race by a single place, not bad for a 44-year old....

 

 

 

10am

 

Seven-way fight for gold in RS:X Women

 

The sun is shining and the weather is going to be a little warmer than recent days with a temperature of about 24 degrees Celsius expected. More importantly, a light to moderate south-south-easterly of about 9 to 10 knots is expected to kick in around midday, not dissimilar to yesterday.

 

With gold and silver already taken in the Men’s RS:X, the focus of their Medal Race will be on who will win bronze. It’s much more wide open in the Women’s RS:X, with seven of the ten competitors still in the hunt for gold.

 

It’s a rest day for the Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy fleets before their Medal Races tomorrow, and a rest day for the 49er and 49erFX fleets too, currently at the halfway stage of their qualifying series.

 

RS:X Women in Rio 2016

 

 

Men’s Windsurfer - RS:X 

 

With Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) and Nick Dempsey (GBR) already wrapping up gold and silver before today’s Medal Race, all the focus will be on a three-way fight for the bronze medal.

Although reigning World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL) goes into the contest with a 2-point lead over Pierre Le Coq (FRA), the double-points format of the Medal Race means effectively that the Pole and Frenchman go in tied, while Vyron Kokkalanis (GRE) still has a chance six points back.

 

 

Women’s Windsurfer - RS:X 

 

Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) and Stefaniya Elfutina (RUS) are tied for the lead with a five-point advantage over the next three RS:X Women who are all tied on 60 points:

Peina Chen (CHN), Charline Picon (FRA) and Maayan Davidovich (ISR). And on 61 points is the reigning Olympic Champion Marina Alabau (ESP), while seventh-placed Lillian de Geus (NED) also has a mathematical shot at gold on 68 points. The stars would need to align for the Dutch sailor to become champion, but for the other six it’s a very realistic prospect.

 

Has there ever been a closer Medal Race in Olympic competition? The Women’s Laser Radial contest of London 2012 was an incredible four-way fight, but today’s battle on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course could set a new standard for nail-biting finales.

 

 

 

 

 

Heavyweight Men's One Person Dinghy - Finn 

 

Giles Scott (GBR) has pulled out a 17-point lead after scoring 1,3 in races seven and eight of the qualifying series in the Finn fleet. Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) has consolidated his position in second overall while Jake Lilley’s (AUS) good day on Ponte course has lifted the Australian to third overall. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) and Ivan Gaspic (CRO) are clawing their way into medal contention and sit on equal points.

 

With two races scheduled out on the ocean, on the Niterói course, Scott will be keen to stretch his lead to 21 points and wrap up the gold today rather than leave it to the vagaries of the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course where the four-time World Champion could only manage 17th place at the start of his otherwise stellar campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

 

Just six points separate the top six in the Women’s 470 standings. Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) hold a three-point lead over early series leaders Ai Kondo and Miho Yoshioka (JPN), who are tied on points with the reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA).

 

Anne Haeger and Brian Provancha (USA), Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) and defending Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) are all well placed to jump into the top three if they can score two good results on the Copacabana course this afternoon.

 

 

 

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

 

This was the battle we always expected in the Men’s 470, a duel between the reigning World Champions from Croatia and the reigning Olympic Champions from Australia. Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have barely put a trapeze boot wrong so far in Rio and hold a two-point advantage over Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS). Which of these two will make the best of the wavy conditions expected for their two races on Copacabana?

 

London 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience (GBR) is showing the determination to win another medal with his crew, Olympic first-time Chris Grube, the British duo sitting ten points off the lead but only a point in front of Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE), with France and Sweden not far behind.

 

 

 

 

Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17 

 

French fans will be keeping their fingers crossed for the pre-event favourites, Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA), to continue their remarkable recovery from a slow start to the competition. Besson defied a severe back injury yesterday to put in scores of 2,1,1. This places the French in seventh overall and, at 16 points off the lead, they still have a lot to do today on Escola Naval race course for the final three races of the Mixed Multihull qualifying series.

 

Holding a three-point lead at the top of the table is the young crew of Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS), ahead of two teams tied for second, Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) and Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR). New Zealand, Austria and Italy are not far away and could move into podium position if they perform well in today’s predicted moderate winds.

 

 

 

 

Day 6 Olympic Regatta

 

7pm

 

Stipanović secures first ever sailing medal for Croatia

 

Croatia is assured of at least a silver medal, with a strong chance of gold in the Men’s Laser. Australia is certain of a medal too. In the Women’s Laser, the Netherlands has secured a medal.

 

Moved around by wheelchair on shore, Billy Besson has barely been able to walk the past few days, let alone steer a Nacra 17 multihull. After a horrible start for Besson and his crew mate Marie Riou, the French have shot back up the scoreboard after an amazing day on the ocean.

 

 

 

Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser 

 

Tonci Stipanović (CRO) has secured Croatia’s first ever medal in Olympic sailing, with the silver guaranteed. The only sailor who can threaten Croatian gold in Monday’s Medal Race is Tom Burton (AUS) who sits 10 points behind Stipanović and is assured of a medal.

 

It was a tense day on the water for the Men’s Laser fleet, with one race on the Niterói course and the last qualifying race on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course. Stipanović kept his nerve to score 7,3 and Burton also sailed consistently for a 11,4. Sam Meech’s (NZL) victory in the last race has lifted the New Zealander to third overall, but it was not a good outing for Robert Scheidt (BRA) who tumbled from second overall to fifth after failing to get to grips with the day, his scores 26,11.

 

The reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) started well with a sixth but tailed off with a 22nd and sits on equal points with the Brazilian. Meanwhile Jean Baptiste Bernaz has elevated himself to fourth overall and a point in front of Brazil and Britain. The best any of these three can hope for is to attack Meech for the bronze medal.

 

Stipanović was understandably emotional at what he had achieved for his proud nation. “A nice feeling. It was a long journey from the first day. I don’t want to celebrate totally, but I know I have sailed a really good series, and it feels really good. It’s huge, this result is really huge. I think that I don’t fully understand what I have achieved yet, but it will sink in. There are a lot of people at home watching this day, I think it will be crazy when I come back home.”

 

Scheidt was disappointed with his day but not dejected. “I think I’m going to wait till tomorrow to think how to attack the Medal Race. I think it’s a race where you have to be more aggressive, because there are a lot of points in the game and there are some guys who have the same points as me, and so the same perspective. I think it’s going to be quite an interesting race, because a few guys behind have nothing to lose, while the top two guys are fighting for the gold. It will be interesting.”

 

 

 

 

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial 

 

Marit Bouwmeester (NED) has moved back to the top of the leaderboard in the Laser Radial fleet and holds a useful eight-point buffer on second placed Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) for Monday’s Medal Race. The London 2012 silver medallist is assured of another medal and is strongly positioned to win the gold that was so nearly hers four years ago.

 

The Laser Radials contested one race on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course and one on Niterói, and Bouwmeester proved very adaptable to the different conditions, scoring 5,2. Annalise Murphy (IRL) also sailed superbly to score a sixth and seventh which puts her just two points behind Rindom. However best performer of the day was Evi Van Acker (BEL) whose first and fifth has brought her back into medal contention after a shaky start to the regatta, compounded by the effects of an intestinal infection. She and fifth-placed Tuula Tenkanen will have to sail a very good Medal Race to have a chance at silver or bronze, but it’s possible.

 

For Bouwmeester the Olympic Medal Race is familiar territory, after taking silver in the tightest of contests four years ago in London. “I think this time the difference is I have a few points on second and I’m certain of a medal, but the similarity is I still have to do a good Medal Race on Monday. We like the Medal Race course, it’s challenging, but I’m quite confident there even though you never quite know what’s going to happen on that course.”

 

Evi van Acker was looking forward to another period of rest before Monday’s showdown. “I still need to rest, after today I’m pretty tired. I had my best day so far, and I’m so happy with the way I recovered after the bad three days at the beginning. For me the 36 hours of treatment and rest in the middle of the week was very important, to have more energy and keep fighting. I made sure I had a lot of rest, a lot of food and a lot of smiling.”

 

The bronze medallist from 2012 will have to fight hard and sail well to be assured of another medal in Rio. “It feels like London all over again, pretty much the same people and same situation except this this time I’m a bit behind. So I’ll have to sail well in the Medal Race. But I’ll be ready to go.”

 

 

 

 

Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17 

 

Before today’s three races on the Copacabana course, the prospect of a medal looked very distant for the pre-event favourites, Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA). But scores of 2,1,1 have shot the French out of the teens and into seventh overall. What is also playing into their favour is how no one else has managed to find much consistency across the series. Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) hold on to the lead but only by three points from the next two teams tied on equal points, Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) and Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR). Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank have made some good moves up the table to fifth overall after a solid set of scores on Copacabana.

 

Back ashore, Besson found it hard to walk and remain standing while talking to the media, and he was soon back in his wheel chair. “It has been a good day, but we go step by step. Today has been a good day, but tomorrow will be another different day. Physically it’s quite tough. It feels like someone’s sticking daggers in you.”

 

Riou didn’t want to talk about Besson’s injury but commented about their performance on the water. “Today we found the good feelings with the boat and the speed. The first two days have been quite difficult for us, so it’s been good find again the joy and the good feeling on board. We had 8-12 knots of wind and we were able to make the boat go fast, to do good starts, to enjoy it, and to get three good results. Sometimes you get days like this, when the sun is shining in the sky. We are trying and we are going to keep on trying. The adventure continues.”

 

Lange, aged 57, is the oldest athlete in the Olympic sailing competition and has won two Olympic medals in his long career. That experience is serving him well this week. “We have to be very calm, because the fleet is very competitive and the race course so difficult. There are still three races and the Medal Race ahead. We are very happy because we are in the fight, we came here to fight for a medal and we are doing it.

 

“The gold is always an option, we are confident on our preparation, but we are also aware that all is very open. I think that the one who is 10th in the overall results today can still win the gold. We have to be very calm and race well tomorrow.

 

“Billy Besson had an excellent day today, and that changes the overall results completely. We never counted him out of the fight [because of the injury]. He is the only one that can do what he is doing, he is a very good athlete and has a very good crew in Marie.”

 

Jason Waterhouse looked a little incredulous when he said, “We are still on top. It’s a strange day, it’s a surprise that we are still leading.” Lisa Darmanin was pleased to see the French back at full speed. “It’s really great to see Billy performing well, he’s the best out there and we want him to race the Olympics.”

 

 

 

 

Men's Skiff - 49er 

 

Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) were flying in the medium winds on the Aeroporto course, on a day that demanded four tiring races from the Men’s 49er crews. A race win at the start of the day combined with some other top five scores has brought the Germans to just three points off the lead, still held by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL). Heil and Ploessel have a 15-point lead over the chasing pack who are tightly bunched on points, with the best of the rest being third-placed Danish team Jonas Warrer and Christian Peter Lübeck (DEN) who won the third race of the day. Defending Olympic Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) started the day well with a second place but are still struggling to fire on all cylinders and sit in sixth overall at the halfway point of the qualifying series.

 

Burling commented: “We didn’t feel like we sailed that well but to come away with four low scores was good. You only had one shot to get it right today and if you didn’t, it was hard to fight back through.” Tuke added, “It’s already the halfway stage of the fleet racing and with four races today it was a big chunk of the fleet racing. The results aren’t as pretty as yesterday but we’re really happy with things.”

 

Heil was happy to be in second place but did not consider the 15-point gap to third to be significant, not in Rio. “These are the most difficult conditions in the world. We saw in the Laser class they had 25 knots with three-metre waves, and then shifty races in light wind on the Sugarloaf course. It can’t be more difficult than here in Rio, but we love the challenge.”

 

 

 

Women's Skiff – 49erFX 

 

It was an inauspicious start to the Danish campaign for a medal in the Women’s Skiff in the first race on the previous day, when Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) were UFD disqualified for breaking the start line too soon. However they have since made amends with four second places and a fourth, catapulting the Danes to the top of the 49erFX tree. Tied in second overall are two former World Champion teams, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL). Meech will be buoyed by having seen her brother move into third place overall before the Laser Men’s Medal Race in two days’ time. The 2016 and 2015 World Champions, representing Spain and Italy respectively, hold fourth and fifth overall at the halfway stage of the 49erFX qualifying series.

 

Grael commented, “It has been a very good day. The Danish also sailed very well, really consistent. We are happy to be in the fight. We know that we have a good speed and we can recover when we don’t start well. Now we are looking forward to a rest day and we’re looking forward to racing outside with the wind and the waves.”

 

 

 

Heavyweight Men's One Person Dinghy - Finn 

 

Giles Scott (GBR) has pulled out a 16-point lead after scoring 1,3 in races seven and eight of the qualifying series in the Finn fleet. Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) has consolidated his position in second overall while Jake Lilley’s (AUS) good day on Ponte course has lifted the Australian to third overall. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) and Ivan Gaspic (CRO) are clawing their way into medal contention and sit on equal points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1030am

 

Scheidt in a position to attack for the lead

 

After seeing the Men’s Windsurfer gold and silver medals wrapped up with a day to spare, there will be sailors in the Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghies with similar aspirations today.

Rio awoke to blue skies this morning, a pleasant change from the drizzly rain of recent mornings. It’s a bit warmer and, while there’s not much wind at the moment, a light south-easterly is predicted to build from about midday onwards, starting at around 8 knots and building to 12 knots later in the afternoon.

It’s a rest day for the Windsurfers before tomorrow’s Medal Races, and a rest day for the Men’s and Women’s 470 fleets.

 

 

 

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial 

 

The Laser Radials are scheduled for one race on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course and one on Niterói, so it will take all-round skills to make the best of this critical day. Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) hasn’t revealed any weaknesses yet, the Dane putting in a very consistent series to hold a ten-point lead. But she is currently discarding a disqualification from race three so she can’t afford any slip-ups. Marit Bouwmeester (NED) sits four points in front of Annalise Murphy (IRL) with Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) not far behind.

 

 

 

 

Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser 

 

Tonci Stipanović (CRO) gave away a lot of his lead in the Men’s Laser after struggling to get to grips with yesterday’s unusual conditions out on the big ocean swell. Today will see the fleet do a bit more ocean racing on the Niterói course for race nine, and then contest their tenth and final qualifying race on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course. Robert Scheidt (BRA) seems to be getting stronger each day and is now just three points off the lead. Tom Burton (AUS) is two points behind Scheidt in third overall, and reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) is seven points outside the podium.

 

 

 

 

 

Heavyweight Men's One Person Dinghy - Finn 

 

Giles Scott (GBR) has pulled out an eleven point lead after six of the ten qualifying races in the Finn fleet. The four-time World Champion doesn’t have any weak points, but now the Finns are off the ocean and back on one of the inner courses, Ponte, it might be the best opportunity for Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) to attack for the lead. The Slovenian double Olympic medallist is strong in the lighter conditions and so Zsombor Berecz (HUN) who is enjoying the regatta of his life, sitting in third just two points behind Sbogar. A few points behind the Hungarian are a whole gaggle of boats all virtually tied for fourth overall and looking to fight their way on to the podium.

 

 

 

 

Men's Skiff - 49er 


If anyone is going to beat New Zealand for the gold medal in the Men’s Skiff, they had better get their skates on today. Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) justified their billing as one of the hot favourites for gold yesterday, winning both races and taking up their customary position at the front of the fleet. Do Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) still believe they have what it takes to defend their 2012 Olympic title from the Kiwis? It was a shaky start for the Aussies who sit in 13th overall in the early stages, so today’s performance is critical. Jorge Lima and José Costa (POR) are second, one point ahead of Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER). With four races scheduled on Aeroporto, it’s a day for making big moves on the scoreboard.

 

 

 

 

 

Women's Skiff – 49erFX 

 

Erin Rafuse and Dannie Boyd (CAN) are the surprise leaders of the new Olympic event, the Women’s Skiff. Less surprising is to see 2014 World Champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) well placed in second and just a point off the lead. The scores are very tight between the next few, with FRA, ITA, IRL and NZL all within a point of each other. The 20-boat fleet is down for four races on Escola Naval.

 

 

 

 

Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17 

 

The Nacra 17 fleet is at the halfway point of the competition, with three heats scheduled on Copacabana today. This will be the first time the frisky, semi-foiling multihulls will take to the big waves of the ocean courses and it could be a fun day for hanging on and avoiding the big pitchpole. Currently two teams sit tied at the top on equal points. The Australian crew’s two race wins put Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) in first place ahead of Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR), while in third place and nine points behind the leaders is the Italian crew of Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA). New Zealand, Argentina and Austria are also well positioned to attack the top three.

 

 

 

Day 5 Olympic Regatta

 

7pm

 

Netherlands and Great Britain wrap up gold and silver in Men’s Windsurfer

 

It was a light and frustrating day for many in the Olympic sailing competition, but not for the London 2012 gold and silver medallists in the Men’s Windsurfer, with the Dutch and the British wrapping up Rio 2016 gold and silver before the Medal Race on Sunday. Meanwhile it was the start of competition for the Men’s and Women’s Skiff fleets, with an expected leader in the 49er Men, but a surprise leader in the 49erFX Women.

 

 

Men’s Windsurfer - RS:X 

 

 

Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) has won the gold medal in the Men’s Windsurfer and Nick Dempsey (GBR) has won the silver, both without having to contest the Medal Race on Sunday. It’s a carbon copy repeat of London 2012 when the Dutchman took gold ahead of the Briton four years ago. The result is subject to protest, and both sailors will still have to sail the Medal Race, but van Rijsselberghe and Dempsey were already congratulating each other after crossing the finish line of the 12th race of their series. These two athletes have dominated the Olympic competition, with van Rijsselberghe winning seven of the 12 races and Dempsey winning three. Sunday’s battle for bronze will still be close fought between reigning World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL), Pierre Le Coq (FRA) and Vyron Kokkalanis (GRE).

Looking back to the start of the RS:X competition, van Rijsselberghe commented, “I was very fortunate that Nick went off like a cannon in the first couple of races because it really showed me like, ‘okay, it’s not going to be easy.’ We never thought it was going to be easy but he really showed me that if I wanted this, I had to work for it. I tried, worked for it and I got it. It’s great when you’re sailing against guys that are really pushing you and challenging you. If you don’t have that, it would be very boring.”

Even though the Dutchman dominated four years ago to win his first Olympic title, he was still taken aback at his performance this time. “It’s unreal. I did it in London and I never expected it to happen again. Now that it’s happened again, it’s unreal. It’s never easy, if it was easy everybody would be doing it. It was an amazing week and having the guys push me really helped a lot. Coming out with a score like this is pretty special.”

van Rijsselberghe paid tribute to the people that helped him to his second Olympic title. “The majority of it will be from Aaron, my coach. He keeps pushing me and of course my training partner Kiran Badloe and the others that have helped me bust my balls and blaze along.” He also thanked his wife for allowing him to shave his head specially for the Games, just as he had done when he won four years ago in London.

Dempsey almost had a tear in his eye as he sealed his third Olympic windsurfing medal, the first sailor ever to have done so. “I was consistent but not quite consistently good enough today. I just had to really try and stay in touch with Dorian and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had an eye on the two people behind me. Dorian was too good today. He won it today rather than me losing it and I feel very happy to have won a silver medal.”

 

The Briton has won three medals from five Games, so he knows what it’s like to miss out and he wasn’t taking his silver for granted. It has been a life of sacrifice dating back to his first Games in Sydney 2000. This evening he was enjoying his first beer in five months. “A year ago, I didn’t know where I’d finish. At the Olympic Test event last year I wasn’t anywhere near the podium so I had a lot of work to do. The last 12 months have gone really well and I’ve worked bloody hard, so it’s nice to come here and have a chance of winning. To have the silver medal is pretty awesome.”

 

On his strategy, Dempsey was happy to have taken a conservative approach. “I didn’t want to be too aggressive. I wanted to stay pretty safe as it was pretty unstable out there. The last thing I wanted to do was have a day like the Polish guy. He had some horrendous scores, and then all of a sudden you’re out of the medals and fighting to just get a medal. I had to be quite careful. I was pretty close to Dorian but he was slightly ahead of me. Unfortunately, he was ahead all of the time but when somebody is out winning there is not a lot you can do apart from limit the damage. He was too good today. It’s been an amazing week with great racing.”

 

Dempsey will celebrate his 36th birthday tomorrow with a rest day before Sunday’s Medal Race, and he wants to go out on a high. “Sunday is my last race ever so I want to do well and win.”

 

 

 

Women’s Windsurfer - RS:X 

 

Star performer of the day was Peina Chen (CHN) who won the last three races of the qualifying series. Just five points separate the top six sailors going into Sunday’s Women’s Windsurfer Medal Race this Sunday. Bearing in mind the final race is worth double points, Stefaniya Elfutina’s (RUS) one point lead over Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) effectively puts them tied for first. Breathing down their necks are reigning Olympic Champion Marina Alabau (ESP), Peina Chen (CHN), Charline Picon (FRA) and Maayan Davidovich (ISR). A few points further back but still with an outside shot at the podium is Lillian de Geus (NED).

 

Alabau is going to have fight hard to keep her Olympic title, but she’s relishing the challenge. “It hasn’t been a bad day for me but I really think that I could have done it a bit better. It has been a difficult day, with difficult conditions, very changing winds in direction and intensity. Some girls have done it quite bad, not me, but I haven’t shone neither. Now I have a protest with the Israeli and let’s see how it finishes.” As to the grand finale on Sunday, “It’s going to be the most interesting Medal Race in history. We are seven women to win three medals. Crazy.”

 

Tartaglini led earlier in the week and was a little envious at the ease with which the gold and silver medals have been won in the Men’s Windsurfer. “I would have liked to do it as Dorian or Nick, but we are going to keep the suspense until the end. Women are so pig-headed, so we have to suffer till the end. It’s a nonsense to work out the points. I have to do my own race, and I hope to win a medal.”

 

 

 

 

Men's Skiff - 49er 

 

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) made the perfect start to their competition, winning both opening heats in the Men’s 49er. After a long wait for the wind to settle on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) race course, it was Jonas Warrer and Christian Peter Lubeck (DEN) who found themselves duelling with the New Zealanders at the front of the fleet. Warrer, the 2008 Olympic Champion, looked to have got the better of the Kiwis on the final lap and was leading down to the finish when he belatedly realised he had missed out the gate mark. The Danes reluctantly but hurriedly dropped their gennaker to resail the course correctly, leaving the way clear for an easy opening victory for Burling and Tuke. Warrer crossed in eighth, an expensive mistake that could cost him further down the line.

 

In the next race the Kiwis rounded the first mark in fourth and patiently worked their way to the front ahead of the Irish pair Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern (IRL). At the end of a day that saw some spectacular racing in moderate breezes and beautiful winter sunshine, New Zealand holds the lead, Portugal is second and Germany is third. “We’re just happy to walk away from day one with two low scores,” said Burling, the four-time World Champion. While the Kiwi boatspeed was good, most of their winning came from picking their way through the gusts and the lulls on the tricky course. “We made our gain in that first race when we gybe-set on that first run. It felt like we found some good breeze and that helped us get out of the pack and up to the front.”

 

Their opening day wasn’t the way that Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) would have liked to open the defence of their Olympic title. Scores of 13,8 put the Australians in 11th overall. “We haven’t lost the event, but we haven’t set the world on fire,” Outteridge admitted, acknowledging they just weren’t quite fast enough out of the blocks. “A lot of it is trying to get on the first tack and getting yourself up the ladder ahead of everyone else. Both times we just missed that first opportunity.”

 

 

 

 

Women's Skiff – 49erFX 

 

There is no stand-out favourite for gold in the brand new Women’s Skiff fleet, and after day one of competition things aren’t much clearer. Of all the teams that might have been expected to be topping the leaderboard, few would have picked the Canadians. Yet Erin Rafuse and Dannie Boyd (CAN) scored a 5,4 to hold a one-point lead over one of the acknowledged favourites, local sailors Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), who won the second race of the day just as the sun was setting over their home town.

 

Winners of the first race were Sarah Steyaert and Aude Compan (FRA) who are in third overall, on equal points with last year’s World Champions from Italy, Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA).

 

The Canadians were delighted with their first day of Olympic competition. “We don’t like to get caught up in the numbers but this is definitely our best start to a regatta,” said Rafuse. “We picked the right regatta.” Boyd enjoyed the tricky racing in shifty winds. “These conditions are right in our wheelhouse,” she said. “We know we can throw the boat wherever we want to. We had good starts and were able to get on the first shift of the day and it makes the rest of the race a lot easier.”

 

 

 

 

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

 

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) won the only race of the day for the 470 Women on the Escola Naval course, moving them to the top of the leaderboard. Two earlier leaders in the series had disappointing days. Ai Kondo and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) finished in last place today although when that score is discarded from their results the Japanese are still second overall, three points off the lead. Sharing the same points as the Japanese are the reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA).

 

With the defending Olympic Champions already having used up their discard in the first race of the series after a disqualification, a 12th place finish has proven expensive for Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) who have dropped from first to sixth in the standings.

 

On the British race win, Mills commented, “It’s always nice when there’s only going to be one race, to go out and smash it. We executed on our plan and we’re very happy. It’s such a hard venue and the fleet is all vying for that top spot. We just need to make sure we have a shot at winning, come the Medal Race.”

 

 

 

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

 

It was a frustrating wait for the 470 Men who were struggling to get in their races on the Escola Naval course. In the single race that was completed before sunset, Luke Patience and Chris Grube (GBR)’s victory has lifted the British to third overall. The duel for supremacy continues between the reigning World Champions from Croatia and the reigning Olympic Champions from Australia, with Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) moving to within two points of the lead after finishing second in the day’s race, a place in front of Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO). Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) sit a point behind the British in fourth overall.

 

Fantela commented, “Another good day in our pocket, it was tricky inside the bay. Lots of waiting but we are used to it and finally the wind filled in around 3.30pm and we made a good climb from about 7th at the beginning to the front of the pack. We had a good fight with Australia, the British, the Americans. It was fun.”

 

 

 

 

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial 

 

With just two of the ten-race qualifying series remaining for the Women’s Radial fleet, Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) has pulled out a useful ten-point advantage after a very solid day’s sailing in very tricky conditions, the light airs and big waves making for a seasick-inducing day on the water. Still within striking distance of the lead is Marit Bouwmeester (NED) who holds second place, four points in front of Annalise Murphy (IRL) who fell off the top of the leaderboard after struggling with the difficult conditions on the Copacabana course. “I would like it to have been better today but it wasn’t a complete disaster,” Murphy shrugged. “Huge swell, big shifts, a lot going on, and not getting it quite right. I caught up a lot in the first race but I’m not happy. I’m looking forward to Sugarloaf tomorrow: lots of gusts, shifts, really tricky which is how I like it.”

 

 

 

 

 

Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser 

 

Tonci Stipanović (CRO) gave away a lot of his lead in the Men’s Laser after struggling to get to grips with the unusual conditions out on the big rolling ocean. The Croatian could only manage 28,9 while Robert Scheidt (BRA) went on the attack with a 4,5 that has taken him to just three points of the lead. Tom Burton (AUS) is two points behind Scheidt in third overall.

 

Stipanović made no secret of his dislike of today’s conditions. “For me these conditions are strange and really hard. Light wind, big swell, I didn’t know what to do. You need a lot of practice in this and I have probably only sailed in this kind of conditions four times in my life. Because of that it didn’t go so well today.”

 

Scheidt also acknowledged the difficulty of the weird combination of big waves and very little breeze. “Two metre swell out there, very difficult to sail the boat, pressure at the top of the wave, no pressure at the bottom of the wave.”

 

The 43-year-old is more motivated than ever to become the first sailor to win six Olympic medals. “I think that the key to this week was to never give up. I made some mistakes on day one and two, but I believed I could come back and today was a massive day for my confidence. It’s another crucial day tomorrow.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10am

 

 

49erFX Women to debut alongside the 49er Men

 

We’ve already seen the debut of one new Olympic event, the Mixed Multihull - Nacra 17. Today it’s the turn of the Women’s Skiff to burst on to the Olympic stage. Since Sydney 2000 the Men’s Skiff has lit up the track and now the girls get their turn too on the 49erFX. It’s the same equipment as the men use, except the mast is a little shorter and the sail area a little smaller, although the 49erFX is not significantly slower than the full-size rig used by the men.

Meanwhile it’s back to business in all the other events, with the exception of the Mixed Multihull and the Finn fleet, with the Heavyweight Men getting a well-earned day’s rest after two physically exhausting day’s racing out on the big ocean swell courses.

The forecast suggests a lighter day of wind, with 10 knots from the south-west offering a gentle start for the Skiff fleets. It’s been cloudy and a bit drizzly this morning but that is set to clear by the time competition starts at 1300 hours.

 

 

Men's Skiff - 49er 

Now we get to see if Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) can fulfil their immense promise in the 49er skiff, a fleet the Kiwi friends have dominated since taking the silver medal at London 2012. Over the past four years the New Zealanders have gone undefeated in any major competition, winning four world titles on the trot. The only thing missing from the cabinet is an Olympic gold medal, and they’re out to take the title from their former training partners, the London 2012 champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS). The Australians did manage to beat the Kiwis at the South American Championships a few weeks ago, and Outteridge is drawing great strength from that small victory, along with some important time away from sailing “to reset the mind and the body”, he says.

So, with the fight for gold be a two-horse race? Let’s not forget the 49ers are about to contest their first three heats of 12 qualifying races on the notoriously fickle Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) race course, before the top ten compete for the medals on the very same race course next Thursday 18 August. Among a number of others with a realistic shot at the podium are the 2008 Olympic Champion Jonas Warrer (DEN) now sailing with Christian Peter Lubeck. Spain's rising stars Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra (ESP) are ones to watch, along with one of the oldest teams who came agonisingly close to a bronze medal four years ago at London 2012, Nico Delle Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) who will be making their fourth Olympic appearance for Austria.


Women's Skiff – 49erFX 

In complete contrast to the Men’s 49er, there is no stand-out favourite for gold in the brand new Women’s Skiff fleet. The past 49erFX World Championships have been won by New Zealand (2013), Brazil (2014), Italy (2015) and Spain (2016). All four of the teams that won these world titles are competing at Rio 2016, and all remain world-class contenders for the podium. Home waters advantage will be with Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) who have perhaps been the most consistent performers across the past four years. Grael is also daughter of Olympic legend and five-time medallist Torben, and living across Guanabara Bay in Niterói will make the team feel very at home on these tricky waters.

The London 2012 Olympic Champion in women’s match racing, Spanish helm Tamara Echegoyen clearly has the temperament for the big occasion and with powerful crew Berta Betanzos they looked unstoppable in the strong winds of the 2016 World Championship in Florida earlier this year. They’ve been working hard on their light-airs speed, but the Italian World Champions of 2015 Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) are perhaps a stronger all-round package.

Although they haven’t won a world title, Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) are current European champions and had to fight hard for Danish selection. They could be ones to watch, as could the British and Argentinean crews. The 49erFX fleet gets racing today on the Aeroporto race course.


 

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

The 470 Women contest two heats on Escola Naval course today. The racing should prove quite a contrast from the previous day’s high winds and massive waves, with shiftier, flat water racing on the cards today.

The defending Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) lead the way ahead of Ai Kondo and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) just two points behind New Zealand. Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) will be looking to make amends for yesterday’s capsize while leading a race, and the Brits sit in third on equal points with the reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA).

The 2014 and 2015 World Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) need to have a good day if they’re to fight back from their current position of eighth overall.

 

 

 

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) are proving to be the masters of all conditions that Rio can throw at them, whether it’s the fluky stuff of day one or the apocalyptic storm of day two. The reigning World Champions appear to have the measure of the Australians who have dominated the Men’s 470 for the past seven years. That said, the reigning Olympic Champion Mat Belcher and Olympic rookie Will Ryan (AUS) are only three points off the lead. Breathing down their necks are Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE). The 470 Men contest two heats on Escola Naval course today.


 

Men’s Windsurfer - RS:X 

Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) holds an eight point lead over Nick Dempsey (GBR). This looks set to be a rematch of London 2012, with the Olympic Champion holding the edge over the 2012 silver medallist. But the reigning World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL) sits in third overall and will be looking to spoil the Dutch and Brit party.  These top three have broken away from the rest of the pack, with fourth-placed Vyron Kokkalanis (GRE) now 16 points off the podium. The Men’s Windsurfers will be looking forward to a bit of wave action out on the Niterói course, where they’re down for three races.

 

 

Women’s Windsurfer - RS:X 

Can reigning Olympic Champion Marina Alabau (ESP) continue her momentum from a great day on Thursday? The Spanish veteran sits just outside the podium in fourth place but the points gap is small. Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) survived an overnight protest to hold the lead by a single point from Charline Picon (FRA) and Stefaniya Elfutina (RUS) who sit on equal points. This is the first time the RS:X women will be competing on one of the ocean courses, with three heats scheduled on Niterói.

 

 

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial 

Annalise Murphy (IRL) holds the overall lead, although she’s mindful of having been here before as the Irish sailor led for much of London 2012 only to end up in fourth overall. So Murphy is taking nothing for granted, and looks good in all conditions. Today the racing takes place on Copacabana, with the potential for big waves which should suit Murphy. Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) sits just a point off the lead, and just two points off the top is the London 2012 silver medallist, Marit Bouwmeester (NED). Early series leader was the reigning Olympic Champion Xu Lijia (CHN), who didn’t fare so well in the big waves two days ago. But it’s set to be a bit lighter today so the Chinese sailor could be dangerous.

 

Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser 

Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) holds the lead in the Men’s Laser and has sailed solidly throughout the series so far. The reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) had a shaky start to the event but used the big breeze day to charge up the rankings to second overall, sitting two points in front of Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED). Robert Scheidt (BRA) is just four points off the podium, the Brazilian within striking distance of winning a record sixth Olympic medal.

 

 

 

Day 4 Olympic Regatta

 

 

Andy Rice looks back at an 'epic' day four with Sarah Gosling, double Olympic Champion...

 

 

‘Brutal conditions’ in a test of survival

 

Day four of the Olympic sailing competition again produced the extremes of flat water and shifty conditions on the inshore courses with the giant wind and size-of-a-house waves out on the seaward courses. Previous word of the day was ‘tricky’. Word of the day for those that went out to sea was ’survival’. This regatta is testing every extreme of a sailor’s ability, which some argue is exactly what the Olympic competition should be.

 

 

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

The defending Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) sailed an excellent day and met their simple goal for some of the toughest conditions they have ever experienced. “It was just keep the mast pointing upwards,” said Aleh. “It was pure survival out there, keep Polly on the side of the boat because crews were getting washed off the side all the time. The wind was big, the waves were big. It couldn’t have been more of a contrast to all the fluky stuff from yesterday, but this regatta is getting to be fun.”

 

The Kiwis have replaced the Japanese at the top of the scoreboard, with Ai Kondo and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) just two points behind New Zealand. Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) could have dominated the day with two wins, except that in the second race they capsized whilst in the lead and did well to hold on to a sixth place. A missed opportunity that could come back to haunt the British crew later in the competition, but for the moment they sit in third place, just five points off the lead. On equal points with GBR are the reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA). “We don’t normally like those conditions very much so we’re pleased to have come out of the day better than we expected,” said Lecointre.

 

The 2014 and 2015 World Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar would be hoping to do better than their current eighth overall. “In three years of training we’ve never seen any of the conditions that we saw yesterday or today,” said Vadlau. “The first day was fluky and you needed some luck to do well, and today was about surviving. I tried to enjoy it but when you see people capsizing in front of you, you try to keep calm and keep on doing what you normally do. You can’t get scared, because if you get scared you will capsize too.”

 

 

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) had the best day in the survival conditions, the Croatians’ 4,1 scores lifting them to three points clear of their Aussie rivals and reigning Olympic Champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS). But it’s all very tight, with Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) just a couple of points behind in third. Others are ready to pounce on any mistakes, with Sweden and France not far off the podium. The London 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience (GBR) was grinning from ear to ear after coming ashore from the biggest waves he’d ever seen. “They were three or four metres, as big as houses. You could see the front door, two windows, a kitchen and the bedrooms upstairs. When you were in the trough you couldn’t see the boat next to you.”


Giles Scott leads windy day 4 

Heavyweight Men's One Person Dinghy - Finn 

Giles Scott (GBR) didn’t manage to capitalise on the survival conditions quite like the previous day of big wind and waves, finishing 11th in the first race but making amends by winning the next. He now holds a 12 point lead over second placed Vasilij Zbogar (SLO). “It’s good to put a bit more of a point gap on today but at the moment I ‘m just very frustrated with how I sailed in that first race,” said Scott, the four-time World Champion and self-critical as ever. “There was a huge gain on the right-hand side of the course all day today and I was pretty slow to realise that on that first leg and let the fleet get to the right of me. It just put me on the back foot but I managed to come back to 11th which I suppose was damage limitation. But then to come out and win the next race that is all I could ask for.”

Zsombor Berecz (HUN) is having the regatta of his life, sitting in third just two points behind Sbogar while Caleb Paine (USA) is just two points away from the Hungarian. Local hero Jorge Zarif (BRA) started well with a second but then followed up with a 19th, putting him in tenth overall. “When it’s this windy we don’t go sailing in Brazil,” he said. “Those were brutal conditions. Anyone who through Rio was going to be a light wind regatta and prepared just for that is going to be struggling after today.”

 

 

Men’s Windsurfer - RS:X 

Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) turned the tables on Nick Dempsey (GBR) by finding a level of consistency in tricky, variable conditions that no one else could match. The defending Olympic Champion’s scores, 4,1,1, have lifted him eight points clear of the London 2012 silver medallist who still had a good day to hold second overall, now five points in front of the reigning World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL).

These three have broken away from the rest of the pack, with fourth-placed Vyron Kokkalanis (GRE) now 16 points off the podium.

 

 

Women’s Windsurfer - RS:X 

The reigning Olympic Champion Marina Alabau (ESP) had the best day from the Women’s Windsurfer fleet’s three races, and she moves to within striking distance of the podium. “It’s been a very hard and complicated day, because of the gusty winds,” said Alabau. “I nearly had a heart attack. But I’m super happy, it’s been my best day. For me this was a very important day. If I wanted to fight for the medals this was the day to do it well, otherwise I would have been out of the fight.” Her coach, Nico Beudou, added, “At last today I’ve seen the Marina I know.”

Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) holds the lead by a single point from Charline Picon (FRA) and Stefaniya Elfutina (RUS) who sit on equal points, although a protest against the Italian by Demita Vega (MEX) could see a change of leader overnight.

 

 

 

Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17 

After four brutal three-lap races for the Nacra 17 fleet, two teams sit tied at the top on equal points. The Australian crew’s two race wins put Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) in first place ahead of Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR), while in third place and nine points behind the leaders is the Italian crew of Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA). “There were moments with very hard winds and others with just 10-12 knots,” said Sicouri. “So it’s been very important to have the skills to perform and always keep the balance on board. I’m happy to have a rest day tomorrow, because after four races with three laps each we are tired. There’s still half the championship ahead and we will fight until the end.”

Overnight leaders Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI) struggled to get to grips with the stronger conditions on the Ponte course and have fallen to seventh overall. The four-time World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) finished the day where they started, in 15th place. Besson’s back injury couldn’t have flared up at a worse time, and one of the hot favourites for gold have seen their dreams shattered after two gruelling days for the injured sailor.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 Olympic Regatta

 

 

7pm

Luke Patience and Chris Grube after whacky day 1 of 470s in Rio 2016. Well worth a listen. These boys are always entertaining....

 

6.45pm

 

Swiss win opening day in the Nacras

Day 3 of the Olympic Sailing competition was a game of two halves, with the inshore courses forcing the sailors to make the best of a light-wind lottery. Out to sea it couldn’t have been more different, with the Niterói and Copacabana courses offering up high winds and mountainous waves. The Sugarloaf course made for a wildly unpredictable but entertaining debut for the new Mixed Multihull event.

 

 

Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17 

Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI) emerged top of the rankings after two whacky opening races for the Nacra 17 on the notoriously tricky Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) race course. The Swiss are on equal points with Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR), with Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) holding third overall.

With the fleet starting in 10 knots of breeze, the Mixed Multihull fleet shot up the track. But the breeze was all over the place and no lead was ever safe. The Swiss emerged at the front at one point, only to be swallowed up by the pack at the halfway stage. But then Buhler and Brugger found their way through to the front once more, only to see their 200 metre lead disappear in the dying moments of the final leg. The fleet was closing fast and the top six boats all crossed the finish line within five seconds of each other. The Swiss beat Singapore by a whisker.

A really tricky day,” said Brugger. “Difficult with very shifty and gusty winds, so we had to improvise and keep the eyes open. We had some hard moments back in the fleet but we were always fighting and had a really good team spirit.”

Justin Liu (SIN) didn’t even know how well he’d done until he came ashore. “That photo finish, we’ve no idea how we did, where did we finish?” he asked the press, delighted to discover he and crew Denise Lim had finished second. “The wind was everywhere, super crazy, we were near the back at one point, but we fought our way back.” Even with a 16th in the next race, the Singaporeans lie in 8th overall.

The British were consistent with scores of 3,5. Saxton was smiling but still not that sure about the secret to success other than, “Give it a go, do your best and hopefully by the end of six legs it will be good enough.”

The four-time World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) had a worrying first day and sit in 17th place in the 20-boat fleet. Besson is carrying a severe long-term back injury and is struggling even to walk any distance, so one can only imagine the pain he is suffering to compete on board the athletic Nacra 17.

 

 

 

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

Through all the crazy unpredictability of the courses closer to shore, such as on the Escola Naval (Navy School) course, somehow the reigning World Champions from Croatia picked their way through the melée. Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have notched up 1,2 for their opening scores, and are living up to their billing as the main threat to Australia’s defence of the Olympic title from London 2012.

That said, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) had a very respectable day, bouncing back from some bad starts to record 8,1 putting the Aussies in second overall. “This is what the Games are meant to be,” said Belcher. “It’s supposed to be challenging, to really test yourself. Today saw that. We were back in a lot of cases, got back up the front and posted two good races.”

Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (NZL) lie in third overall. Snow-Hansen commented, “Just like all big regattas, we’re getting conditions you don’t normally expect. But we’re happy to roll with it and enjoy the snakes and ladders out there.”

 

 

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

Ai Kondo and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) put together a very good first day on the very fluky Escola Naval (Navy School) course, the Japanese holding a two point lead over the defending Olympic Champions, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL). Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) hold third place ahead of the Brazilians.

Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) were pleased with their opening day, the Americans in fifth overall. “It was a really tricky day,” said Provancha, “Super cool to be racing out there. The goal of day one is to be consistent and not lose the regatta. We did our job today. It was about looking for the dark water and going for your hunches.”

The London 2012 silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) would have hoped for a better first day, but are still in sixth overall after fighting their way back from bad starts in both races. “Not much of an excuse for our poor first decisions off the start line in both races,” admitted Clark. “From then on we were playing catch up and we did a reasonable job. Today might look like a good day at the end of this week.”

 

 

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial 

Annalise Murphy (IRL) has always loved the strong breeze and big waves and the Irish sailor took full advantage with some good scores to move into the overall lead. However Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) had an even better day with scores of 3,1 to move to within a point of Murphy. Just a point behind the Dane is the London 2012 silver medallist, Marit Bouwmeester (NED).

It wasn’t such a good outing for the reigning Olympic Champion Xu Lijia (CHN), whose scores of 8,12 have dropped the Chinese sailor down to fifth overall. An even bigger casualty was Evi van Acker (BEL), whose scores of 16,15 have dropped the 2012 bronze medallist to tenth overall. With just four races before the Medal Race, time is running out for van Acker to get back in contention.

 

 

 

Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser 

Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) is back in charge of the leaderboard after Julio Alsogaray (ARG) tumbled down the order with a 24th followed by a UFD disqualification for crossing the start line too early. The big winner of the day was reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) who charged up the rankings with a 2,1 and now sits in second overall, two points in front of another star performer of the day, Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED). Robert Scheidt (BRA) is just four points off the podium, the Brazilian within striking distance of winning a record sixth Olympic medal.

 

 

Heavyweight Men's One Person Dinghy - Finn 

Giles Scott (GBR) seized the day, revelling in the high winds and mighty waves on the Niterói course. The four-time and reigning World Champion leapt up from tenth overall to the top of the leaderboard after a second place followed by victory in the next. “It’s important not to panic,” said Scott of his shaky start to the regatta the previous day. “You have to think going into the week that the difficult course would be Sugarloaf. It was nice to get into today and have different conditions to get to grips with.”

Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) also mastered the conditions and scores of 3,2 rocketed the Greek to fourth in the overall rankings, behind Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) and Alican Kaynar (TUR) in second and third respectively. Jonathan Lobert’s (FRA) win in the first race of the day keeps the London 2012 bronze medallist in the hunt, lying in 5th place just a point ahead of the 2012 silver medallist Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN). “We had 25 to 30 knots and massive waves, epic conditions, a little gnarly at the end,” said the great Dane. “Unfortunately I ripped my sail apart and had to retire from the last race. That’s never happened to me before. It’s a missed opportunity because it could have been two good scores today.”

 

 

 

 

1130am

Malcolm and Andy preview the upcoming drama in the Nacra 17s and the 470s. Big breeze expected so let's see how that shakes things up...

 

 

 

11am

Interview with Mat Belcher in advance of his 470 Men's Olympic title defence....

 

1030am

 

Big Breeze for the Mixed Multihull debut

 

Big breeze up to 20 knots is set to greet the Olympic debut of the Mixed Multihulls - Nacra 17 and the start of competition for the Men’s and Women’s Two Person Dinghies - 470. While most of the 470 sailors will say ‘bring it on’ to the breeze, the Nacra 17 boys and girls will be heading out with a little more trepidation. If the wind really kicks in on the Pão de Açucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) course, there is the possibility of pitchpoling and capsizing.

It’s a day of rest for the Men’s and Women’s Windsurfer fleets, but it’s a continuation of business for all three One Person Dinghy fleets. The Finns are racing on Niterói and the Laser and Laser Radials test out the Copacabana course.

This morning the weather has been overcast but the typical pattern has been for the clouds to clear and the sunshine to break through by the start of play at 1300 hours.

 

Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17 

There are few mandatory mixed events across the whole Olympic Games, so it will be great to see the men and women competing side by side on these frisky 17-foot catamarans. The fleet will be competing in three 30-minute races on their first day, building up to a total of 12 races before the top ten go through to the Medal Race on Tuesday 16 August.

The French team have won all four World Championships in the brief history of this brand new Olympic event. But Billy Besson (FRA) is nursing a long-term back injury and with crew mate Marie Riou has only managed an hour’s training per day during the build-up to the start of competition.

With that question mark over the French, the field looks wide open, with Australia, Spain, Italy and many others holding realistic hopes of a first-ever medal in this exciting new event. If previous experience at a Games counts, then Fernando Echávarri’s (ESP) gold medal in the Tornado multihull at Beijing 2008 will prove invaluable as he competes with Tara Pacheco, a former 470 World and European Champion.

 

 

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

The Women's Two Person Dinghy event has been taking place in the tried and tested 470 dinghy since the Seoul Games in 1988. Like the One Person Dinghy events, the 470 Women are competing in a series of ten races with a 50-minute target time before the final Medal Race on Wednesday 17 August. Day 1 of competition starts with two races on the Escola Naval (Navy School) course.

The gold and silver medallists from London 2012 are expected to be in the medal hunt again, respectively Jo Aleh/ Polly Powrie (NZL) and Hannah Mills/ Saskia Clark (GBR). However the Brazilian bronze medallist from Beijing 2008, Fernanda Oliveira, is competing on home waters and that could prove to be a critical advantage. This will be Oliveira’s fifth Games and her crew Ana Luiza Barbachan’s second. At London 2012 Lara Vadlau (AUT) was the youngest female sailor but since then with Jolanta Ogar she has gained experience and won the 2014 and 2015 World Championships, making the Austrians a hot medal prospect.

 

 

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 

The Men’s Two Person Dinghy event has been taking place in the 470 dinghy since 1976. The fleet is competing in a series of ten races with a 50-minute target time before the final Medal Race on Wednesday 17 August. Day 1 of competition starts with two races on the Escola Naval (Navy School) course.

A year ago, the reigning Olympic Champion Mat Belcher (AUS) would have been the nailed on favourite with his crew Will Ryan, whose dominance in the 470 has been going on for many years. However this season the 2009 World Champions Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have been running hot, winning the 2016 World Championship in Argentina and beating the Aussies in a number of major regattas. As we’ve seen already though, in Rio no one is safe and there plenty of other teams who rightly feel they have what it takes, including the London 2012 bronze medallists from Argentina and the experienced team from the USA.

 


Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser 

Aged 36, Julio Alsogaray (ARG) is no spring chicken but now competing at his third Games, the Argentinean’s experience has stood him in good stead to withstand the pressures and unpredictabilities of Rio after the first two days of competition. Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) and Sam Meech (NZL) are also well placed in second and third overall, but it will be interesting to see if sixth placed Juan Ignacio Maegli (GUA) can build on the momentum from day two after the Guatemalan had the best scores from a difficult day that caused problems for other more experienced sailors. Among those are Robert Scheidt (BRA) in eighth overall and the reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) back in 12th. It’s a new race course, Copacabana, so maybe it will bring a change of fortune and mix up the pack again.

 


Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial 

Xu Lijia (CHN) is setting the pace in the Women's One Person Dinghy, the defending Olympic Champion once again showing she has the spirit for the big occasion. Annalise Murphy (IRL) has shown over the first two days that she’s a real all-rounder, but the winner of the first four heats of a windy London 2012 four years ago will surely relish the forecast of stronger breeze and bigger waves for day three. Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) has no bad scores so far, the only sailor to finish all four races in the top ten, and the London 2012 silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester (NED) will be looking forward to stretching her legs if the wind does indeed blow across the Copacabana course.


 

Heavyweight Men's One Person Dinghy - Finn 

Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) leads the Finns after day one, although the Slovenian double Olympic medallist fears the stronger wind forecast for day 2, speculating that the younger and heavier sailors will come to the fore in their two races on the Niterói course. That will come as music to the ears of Giles Scott (GBR), the four-time World Champion who languishes in 10th place after a difficult day in the shadow of Sugar Loaf Mountain. Local hero Jorge Zarif (BRA) and London 2012 silver medallist Jonas Hogh Christensen (DEN) had solid if unremarkable openings to their campaigns. The surprise performers of day one, Alican Kaynar (TUR) and Facundo Olezza Bazan (ARG), will set out on the water to prove that yesterday was no flash in the pan, but that they have the temperament for the big stage.

 

 

Day 2 Olympic Regatta

 

6.45pm

Sarah Gosling, another double Olympic Champion to replace Malcolm Page, steps in and offers her wisdom and observations on the Olympic Sailing Competition....

 

 

 6.30pm

 

 

Zbogar makes sense of the Sugar Loaf lottery

 

Day 2 of the Olympic Sailing competition produced lighter winds more expected at this time of year in Rio, and the south-easterly breezes were mostly around 5 to 7 knots with only occasional moments in double figures. This made for a challenging opening day for the Finn sailors competing in the Heavyweight Men's One Person Dinghy, who raced two heats on the notoriously fickle Pão de Açucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) race course.

 

 

Men’s Windsurfer - RS:X 

 

Nick Dempsey (GBR) continues to lead the Men’s Windsurfer competition after another good day on the water, marred only by a 14th place in Race 6. Currently the London 2012 silver medallist leads by a point from the reigning Olympic Champion, Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED), who has the added benefit of a 5th place as his discard, to Dempsey’s 14th. That could be a critical difference later on in the regatta.

 

“Good day today, with a four and two firsts,” said van Rijsselberghe. “I’ve been lucky! Sometimes lucky and sometimes good. Everything is going well, we have done six races so we are not at the halfway point yet. But I’m feeling good, I’m happy about today and just need to try to keep going like this.” With the wind dropping throughout the afternoon, it was physical day of pumping the sail to keep the board moving. “The last race was almost unraceable. But it is what it is.”

 

The reigning World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL) moves up 3rd place ahead of Vyron Kokkalanis (GRE).

 

 

Women’s Windsurfer - RS:X 

 

It was Flavia Tartaglini’s (ITA) turn to rip up the race course in the Women’s Windsurfer on day two of competition, the Italian running away with a 1,1,4 scoreline and deposing yesterday’s winner, Charline Picon (FRA), from the top of the leaderboard. The French sailor still had a very respectable day in difficult conditions to sit just a point behind the leader.

 

Tartaglini commented, “I was not expecting these good results, to tell you the truth. I was feeling ready, but in others regattas I have also felt ready and then things have not gone so well. I’m trying to go day by day and race by race. We have still more than the half of the races to finish the Olympics, but least this evening I’m going back home very happy.”

 

As to her growing rivalry with the French sailor, Tartaglini observed, “Charline was leading yesterday and today she was behind me in all three races. But that means just that today I have had a good day. She’s one of the strong contenders, so maybe I’m also one of them. Today was my best day, I hope I will continue in this way. I have the speed and I have the training, and we are all there in the fight.”

 

Stefaniya Elfutina (RUS) sits just 5 points back in 3rd overall, and is having the regatta of her young life. “I’m young, yes, I’m 19 years old,” said the Russian. But I think that’s not a problem to be able to fight for the medals together with the most experienced women. Nobody expects anything from me, so I just do what I love, and sometimes I can do it well and be in the fight.”

 

Maybe the challenging nature of the Rio race courses are playing to Elfutina’s strengths. “Today the racing conditions were very complicated, with the currents and the wind, but it was hard for everybody. In the last race the wind dropped and we had to pump a lot. I feel tired, that’s for sure. We had three hard races today, so it’s nice to have a rest day tomorrow to charge some new energy.”

 

 

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial 

 

Last night Xu Lijia (CHN) was disqualified from Race 2 after a successful protest by Paige Railey (USA). But the reigning Olympic Champion bounced back even stronger on day two of competition, scoring 3,1 to retake the overall lead. The Chinese sailor is currently able to discard her disqualification from her scores, but it still means she has to be careful for the rest of the competition. “I was very sad last night,” said Xu. “But when I saw the TV footage I accepted that I could have taken my penalty turn sooner. Today though I am very happy with how things have gone. With injuries I have not spent as much time sailing as I would have liked, so now I am so happy to be back together, me and my boat.”

 

Annalise Murphy (IRL) was by far the strongest sailor in strong winds four years ago at London 2012, but her Achilles’ heel was her light airs performance. Not any more, if the Irish sailor’s results are anything to go by. Scores of 4,7 combined with her victory in the opening race yesterday put Murphy in 2nd overall, just 5 points behind Xu. Even more consistent than the two sailors ahead of her, however, is Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN), who is the only sailor to have kept all of her scores inside the top 10. That level of consistency could play into the Danish sailor’s hands further down the track. Rindom sits just a point behind Murphy and just a point in front of Marit Bouwmeester (NED), the London 2012 silver medallist who is having a quiet but steady regatta.

 

 

  

Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser 

 

Victory for Julio Alsogaray (ARG) in Race 4 has lifted the Argentinean to the top of the leaderboard in the Men’s Singlehander, displacing Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) who now sits in 2nd overall. Sam Meech (NZL) had a very solid day with scores of 5,6 to rise to 3rd overall, just a point behind the Croatian. Best performer of Day 2, however, was Juan Ignacio Maegli (GUA), whose scores of 3,7 lift the Guatemalan to 6th overall.

 

Robert Scheidt (BRA) is giving his Brazilian fans something to worry about with inconsistent scores of 27,4 to put the five-time Olympic medallist in 8th overall, yet the 43-year-old veteran seems unperturbed and continues to believe he can get on to the podium. With just four of the ten races completed before the Medal Race, there’s little reason to doubt his optimism. “The first day’s racing was much harder today,” said Scheidt. “Today was more straightforward. Still tricky, but I think what we have seen over the first two days is very typical for Rio.”

 

 

Heavyweight Men's One Person Dinghy - Finn 

 

Vasilij Zbogar overcame the fluky conditions on the Pão de Açucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) race course to lead the Finn fleet after their opening day of competition. The double Olympic medallist scored 3,1 to lead Alican Kaynar (TUR) by 3 points. “I was fast today,” said Zbogar. “Those were my conditions and even if it was unpredictable, my speed was helping me get to the right place. I need to do well in these conditions because the next two days are going to be stronger winds. I am 10kg too light and ten years too old,” smiled the 41-year-old.

 

Few would have expected the Turkish sailor to be doing so well amongst such elite company, yet Kaynar is closely followed by another surprise in 3rd place overall, Facundo Olezza Bazan (ARG) who won the opening race and followed up with a 9th in the next. The Argentinean might have been forgiven for celebrating a victory in his first ever Olympic race, but not for the 21-year-old. “As soon as I crossed the finish, there was no celebration, only focus on the next race. And tonight there will be nothing special. I am just taking it day by day, race by race.”

 

Jorge Zarif (BRA) also put down some good scores in the top six to sit in 4th overall, while four-time World Champion Giles Scott (GBR) struggled with the unpredictable light airs to find himself in 10th place after opening scores of 17,3.

 

 

 

11.30am

My morning chat with Malcolm Page, previewing the Finns.....

 

 

11am

 

FINNS READY FOR THE FIGHT

Today’s winds are set to be a little lighter than Day 1, with a forecast of around 10 knots from the south. Once again Christ the Redeemer and the mountain tops around Rio are covered in low-lying cloud but we’re still expecting some sunshine later in the day, ready for the start at 1300 hours.

It’s the first day of action in the Finn class, with the heavyweights of the sailing world about to square up to each other. Like the other singlehanded fleets that started yesterday, the Finns will be competing in a 10-race series, with the top 10 qualifying for the final Medal Race.

 

Finn: Men’s One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight)

The Finn Medal Race of London 2012 produced one of the biggest dramas of the Games, and many of the main contenders are back again to see if they can get their hands on that gold medal slipped away to Ben Ainslie (GBR) in the dying seconds of the race.

Amongst the old hands are the 2012 silver medallist Jonas Hoegh Christensen (DEN) and Jonathan Lobert (FRA) who clinched bronze. Pieter Jan Postma (NED) put it all on the line for gold four years ago but ended up fourth, so no one wants it more badly than the Dutchman.

Brazilian hopes will be riding with Jorge Zarif who was Finn World Champion in 2013. However, standing in everyone’s way is Giles Scott (GBR) who has gone almost undefeated in the past four years and whose four world titles make him one of the all-time greats in the Finn. For all those world titles, this is still Scott’s first time at the Olympics.

Will the Briton be able to take the pressure that goes with being the favourite? We’ll find out at 1pm, when the Finns compete in two races, each with a target time of 50 minutes. They’ll be racing on the Pão de Açucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) course.

 

The Windsurfers

On day one, the Escola Naval (Naval School) course through a few curveballs at the singlehanded fleets. Today it’s the turn of the Men’s Windsurfer and Women’s Windsurfer fleets to take on this tricky course, as they line for races 4,5 and 6 in their 12-race series before the Medal Race. Will the men be able to stop the charge of Nick Dempsey (GBR) who streaked into the lead yesterday with an incredible scoreline of 1,1,2? Will the women be able to get a grip on Charline Picon (FRA), who matched Dempsey’s performance with a 1,2,1?

Reigning Olympic Champion in the men’s fleet, Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) still had a great day to lie in 2nd place ahead of Vyron Kokkalanis (GRE). The names behind Picon in the women’s fleet are less expected, with the young Stefaniya Elfutina (RUS) in 2nd place ahead of Flavia Tartaglini (ITA). The 2012 Olympic Champion Marina Alabau (ESP) had a solid day to lie in 5th overall but Bryony Shaw (GBR) sits in 10th and the reigning World Champion Malgorzata Bialecka (POL) is back in 15th.

 

The Singlehanders

The Men’s and Women’s Singlehanders move North to compete on the Ponte course for the first time, up at the top of Guanabara Bay. Both fleets are set to compete in two 50-minute races.

The big news overnight is that yesterday’s winner in the Women’s Laser Radial fleet, Xu Lijia (CHN), was disqualified after Paige Railey (USA) successfully brought a protest against the reigning Olympic Champion after arguing that the Chinese sailor had failed to execute her penalty turn in time. This drops Xu down the rankings to 23rd, elevating the London 2012 silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester (NED) to the top of the scoreboard. Gintare Scheidt (LTU) almost had a great day yesterday, but even her victory in race 2 was not enough to cheer her up after the Lithuanian discovered she’d been disqualified for starting too soon in race 1, when the 2008 silver medallist crossed the finish line in 2nd place only to discover her expensive start-line error.

Meanwhile in the Men’s Singlehanders, Gintare’s husband Robert Scheidt (BRA) had experienced a very similar day, bombing out with a 23rd in race 1 but emulating his wife by winning race 2. The five-time Olympic medallist still sits in a respectable 7th place, with a number of his main rivals further behind him in the rankings. Tom Burton (AUS) and reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) lie in 10th and 11th respectively, while the London 2012 silver medallist Pavlos Kontides (CYP) has a lot to do back in 19th. Setting the early pace are Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) and Julio Alsogaray (ARG) who sit at the top of the board with 6 points apiece. Lying in 3rd is Sergei Komissarov (RUS).

 

 

8.30am

This is who we saw working out in the park by the beach, on our way to the Olympic venue....

Jonas Hoegh Christensen

 

 

 

Day 1 Olympic Regatta

 

6.45pm

My evening chat with Malcolm Page, looking back at a fascinating day of contrasts on Guanabara Bay.....

 

 

 

 

6pm

 

Runaway Leaders in the Windsurfers but a mixed bag in the Singlehanders

 

Guanabara Bay delivered some great sailing conditions to launch the Olympic Sailing Competition today, but it was still very, very tricky out there. The sunny skies and 10 to 14 knot winds from the south-east were just what competitors wanted to begin their Olympic campaigns, and some of the favourites romped away to a dominant start while others faltered badly. Some clear leaders have already emerged in the two Windsurfer events, but the results have been shared much more equally around the Men’s and Women’s Singlehander fleets.

 

  

Men’s Windsurfer

 

Nick Dempsey (GBR) could scarcely believe the fairy tale start to his fifth Olympic Regatta. Just days away from his 36th birthday, the British veteran managed to pick up scores of 1,1,2. The defending Olympic Champion Dorian van Rijsselberghe couldn’t quite match that level of excellence, but his freshly shaved head wasn’t hurting the Dutchman too much either as he finished the day with ever-improving scores of 5,3,1. Asked why he had shaved his head as he had done four years earlier at London 2012, he said, “The Olympics are a good excuse to shave my head. Otherwise my wife wouldn’t let me do it.”

Dempsey was rightly pleased with his day. “A perfect start. I was pretty nervous this morning, really nervous. Training has been going really well, sailing fast. I was just nervous about something not going right, but it went so well. In the last race, the breeze dropped a few bombs on the course. It caught a few people out, a few people did well out of it, and I managed to hold on to 2nd, which was probably the best bit of the day.”

 The issue of debris in the water has been a big talking point in the build-up to these Games, but Dempsey said, “Today was the best it’s ever been. When you’re winning a race and going fast, the only thing you worry about is another factor, like hitting something in the water, breaking a fin. But it didn’t, the water was fine and it’s a good result for Rio.” 

Vyron Kokkalanis also sailed very solidly to notch up scores of 2,2,6, and puts him in 3rd overall on equal points with Rijsselberghe.

 

 

 

 

  

Women’s Windsurfer

  

Charline Picon (FRA) had a stunning start to her regatta, scoring 1,2,1 from the opening three races. Next best was Stefaniya Elfutina (RUS) who lies in 2nd place ahead of Flavia Tartaglini (ITA). The defending Olympic Champion Marina Alabau (ESP) had a solid day to lie in 5th overall but one of the other pre-event favourites, Bryony Shaw (GBR) struggled and sits in 10th at the moment.

 

Picon was breathing a sigh of relief after coming ashore. “I had a lot of pressure and to begin like that? Well I couldn’t have imagined that yesterday because I was a little bit stressed. I’m happy but I need to stay focussed.”

 

Local sailor Patricia Freitas (BRA) revelled in the stronger breezes to lie in 6th overall. “We had a very good day, sunshine and strong winds, unexpected for this time of year. The Brazilian spirit is everywhere, it’s very special for us to have people watching us racing because that doesn’t happen very often in sailing. Thanks to the Bay we can set up a good place for the people to watch, and when we were rounding the mark near the beach I could even recognise a few friends. It was a great spirit and great to be part of.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Singlehander

  

The gold and silver medallists from London 2012 lie in 1st and 2nd overall respectively after two races in the Laser Radial. Xu Lijia (CHN) could have been even further ahead in the rankings if she had held on to her lead in the second race, but even with scores of 3,4 the defending Olympic Champion holds a four point lead over her arch rival, Marit Bouwmeester (NED). However Paige Railey (USA) has a protest in against the Chinese sailor for an incident between the two, so we’ll have to wait and see if Xu can retain her lead after tonight’s hearing. “I’m very happy to be leading because it was very difficult out on the course,” said Xu. “It has been a short campaign building up to Rio but I am really enjoying being back in the boat. My whole approach is different this time. I’m more aware of avoiding injury and keeping the body fit for competition.”

 

It could have been a stellar day for Gintare Scheidt LTU). She finished in 2nd place in the first race and won the next race. However the Lithuanian sailor later discovered that she had fallen foul of a U Flag disqualification in race 1 for crossing the start line too soon. The Olympic silver medallist from 2008 commented: “I was very happy after the first race, because I didn’t know until later that I was over the line. I sailed the second race really well, but I still have a really bad feeling about the day. My goal was to get two top 10s, and even finishing first in the second race doesn’t satisfy me. Now we have to be more safe, because there’s only one discard which in this venue is really difficult.”

 

Other hotly fancied sailors also struggled to be consistent, including Annalise Murphy (IRL) who charged through the fleet to win the first race but could only manage 14th in the next. Even so, the fourth-placed finisher from London 2012 currently lies in 4th overall just a single point behind Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN). “There was a lot to think about out there,” said Murphy. “Strong tide, big pressure differences up and down the race course. I was happy enough with the second race. It’s going to be swings and roundabouts here, people are going to have good and bad races.”

 

 

 

  

 

Men’s Singlehander

 

 

Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) won the first race in the Men’s Singlehander fleet and with a 5th in the second race, the Croatian lies in 1st overall. Sitting on equal points but in 2nd place is Julio Alsogaray (ARG) with scores of 4,2. “There were plenty of places to fall down the rankings today,” said Stipanovic, “so I am very happy with the day I’ve just had. Speed was good and conditions were difficult but what we expected for Rio.”

 

Sergei Komissarov (RUS) sailed a good first day to lie in 3rd overall, while a number of the favourites made harder work of the conditions. Robert Scheidt (BRA) made a bad start to his campaign to win a record sixth Olympic medal in sailing, finishing 23rd in the opening race. But the Brazilian bounced back to take a clear lead and the winner’s gun in race 2.

  

Scheidt enjoyed the difficulty of the day. “They were good, technical races because there was a rounding mark set very close to the coast and that influenced the wind, and it was changing the second part of the race course a lot. But this is part of the game. I already knew conditions in the Bay were going to be very variable.

 

 

“In the second race I managed to do the start better and go with the main contenders, play the game step by step,” said the 43-year-old. “I had a bit of an advantage at the first mark, and from there I managed to dominate the race. I’m pleased how I came back from the first race. There are still a lot of races ahead and a lot of points to fight for, and in the second race I showed that my age is not going to be a problem for me.”

 

 

Tom Burton (AUS) and reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) lie in 10th and 11th respectively with equal points, while the London 2012 silver medallist Pavlos Kontides (CYP) is back in 19th.

 

 

 

 

 

11.30am Preview of the Day

 

Rio de Janeiro looks set to deliver a great start to the Olympic Sailing Competition today, with moderate breezes forecast this afternoon from the south-east. While this morning Christ the Redeemer has been enshrouded in low-hanging cloud over the city, the skies are expected to clear and the breeze predicted to build to 14 or 15 knots in time for the 1pm start of racing.

Competition in the Men’s Windsurfer and Women’s Windsurfer begins on the Pão de Açucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) course at 1300 hours. Meanwhile on the Escola Naval (Naval School) course slightly to the North of the windsurfers, the Men’s One Person Dinghy and Women’s One Person Dinghy contests also begin. The RS:X windsurfers are scheduled to complete three races today, each with a target time of 20-25 minutes. The Laser and Laser Radial dinghies are down for two races, but they have a longer target time of 50 minutes per race.

 

My Day 1 preview on Facebook with Malcolm Page.... 

 

 

 






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