Afternoon Tea, 2012 Olympics, Day 5
Day 5 of the 2012 Olympic Regatta dawned cloudy and rainy and while the sun came out, it didn't shine on the U.S. team.
Though close soon after the start of today's second race, the U.S. and British 49er teams had drastically different fortunes. The GBR team of Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes won both races and are now in second. The U.S. team of Erik Storck and Trevor Moore finished 20th and 18th and dropped from seventh to 13th and are currently not in medal contention.
For American Finn sailor Zach Railey, the defending silver medalist, the writing has been on the wall since he started the regatta with four straight double-digit scores. Now, however, it’s in permanent ink. With two races to go and standing in 12th place, 34 points off the bronze medal, Railey must now fight simply to have a ringside seat for the battle royale that is unfolding between Jonas Högh-Christensen and triple Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie and will likely come down to Sunday’s medal race. Railey is 5 points out of 10th and will need to pick up a few points in tomorrow’s final two full-fleet races to earn the right to sail in Sunday’s medal showdown.
For Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih, the U.S. representatives in the Star class, the news is a little better, but not much. They’re sixth, but after a fifth and a 10th today, they’re 23 points off bronze and silver and it would take a remarkable set of circumstances for them to pull into contention over the next two races. Mendelblatt and Fatih have sailed well, but have seemed to spend the entire regatta grinding back through a very dense and talented fleet. They haven’t been able to break out of the pack.
The lone bright sport for the U.S. team on Day 5 came in the women’s match racing where Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, and Debbie Capozzi snunk past the Dutch team led by Renée Groeneveld on the final run and took a crucial win. The win gives the U.S. trio a record of 6-3 and leaves them one point clear of a three-way logjam in third place. Winning their next two match would assure the U.S. team at least of facing a lower-seeded team in the quarterfinals.
The U.S 49er team of Erik Storck and Trevor Moore had a heartbreaking day in the 49er. In the first race, they had a good start, hit the left corner, which should’ve paid well, and rounded the first mark in second-to-last. Over the next two legs they ground themselves back into contention, and were set to go through the leeward mark for the last time just outside the top 10. But a bobble during the douse forced them to round up, sail over top of the leeward mark, and then on the way back they capsized. By the time they righted the boat there was nothing left but to sail around the course and hope someone else met a similar fate, which no one did.
On the second race, the losses came on the first downwind, as they went from 11th to 19th and dropped nearly a minute behind the leaders. The finished 18th.
The two scores leave them in 13th overall, 30 points out of the bronze medal. There’s still eight races remaining, plenty of time to make up ground, but the duo no longer has any margin for error. One more big score will have them fighting simply to qualify for the medal race.
Today was Day 1 of racing for the Men’s 470. It didn’t go as planned for the U.S. team of Stu McNay and Graham Biehl. They got bounced around a bit in the first race, missing a few shifts, then fouled the Spanish boat off the line in the second. A 17-22 leaves them in 21st. There’s plenty of racing left in this class, but they have put themselves in a hole.
In the RS:X classes, Farrah Hall had an 18th and 20th and is 20th overall. Bob Willis was too eager in his first race—which finally came after two general recalls— and was caught over the line during a black flag start. His second race was a 28th and he’s now 18th overall.