Morning Toast, 2012 Olympics, Day 10
Women's Match Racing gets into the elimination rounds, the final Olympic race for the RS:X (maybe) and the 470s get down to the nitty gritty.
What’s On Tap For Today
RS:X Men: Medal race on the Nothe Course at 1300
RS:X Women: Medal race on the Nothe Course at 1400
Women’s Match Racing: Quarterfinal racing on the Nothe Course, starting no earlier than 1500
Men’s 470: Races 9 and 10 on the Portland Harbour Course, starting at noon
Women’s 470: Races 7 and 8 on the Portland Harbour Course, starting at 1210
The 49ers are off today, with their medal racing coming on Wednesday
The Finns, Stars, Lasers, and Laser Radials have finished their regatta.
Weather: Perfect breeze, low double figures from 230. Perfectly miserable weather. Drizzly and getting worse.
What to Watch For:
Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberge has put together the regatta of his life in ths Men’s RS:X. Through nine races he hadn’t finished worse than third. So he took the 10th race off and still only has to show up and put in a good effort in the medal race to secure the gold—sailors are not allowed to skip the medal race even if they are more than 22 points ahead of the next position. Nick Dempsey (GBR) is currently second, 11 points ahead of third and 17 points ahead of fourth. Since van Rijsselberge has no motivation to do anything other than finish last Dempsey has all but secured a medal. With the battle for bronze somewhat close, Toni Wilhelm of Germany is 6 points ahead of Poland’s Przemyslaw Miarczynski, that’s likely where the action will be.
In the Women’s RS:X medal race, it’s much more interesting. Spain’s Marina Alabau is winning, with a 14-point lead over first. She’ll be left alone during this race because the race for silver and bronze is between six sailors with 11 points between them. Israel’s Lee-El Korzits is nominally in the silver position, with 38 points, but she’s effectively tied with Tuuli Petäjä of Finland (38 points) and Moana Delle of Germany (39 points). Trailing close behind are Zofia Noceti-Klepacka of Poland (41 points), Olga Masilvets of the Ukraine (44 points), Great Britain’s Byrony Shaw (49 points).
Shaw and Masilvets both need a top finish to keep their chances alive. Expect them to charge off the line and go for broke. The other four sailors may be more cautious, playing the first leg more conservatively to see how things shake out.
The windsurfers are not the best boat for shifty conditions since tacking comes with such a loss of boatspeed. It will be interesting to see how the sailors handle the shifty Nothe Course. Do they bang a corner and pray it’s the right one? Or will they attempt to work the shifts?
Neither American sailor made the medal race for the RS:X classes.
In the Men’s 470, the gold and silver are all but decided with three races remaining. Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page of Australia and Luke Patience and Stu Bithell of Great Britain have built a huge lead over the rest of the fleet, they 30 and 29 points ahead of third, respectively. And neither has finished worse than ninth in any single race. The match racing will between these two will start today, especially if both have good first races. Patience and Bithell currently have the better throwout, a sixth to Belcher and Page’s ninth. If that holds into Race 10, look for the British team to do what they can to force Belcher and Page into a bad race. The three points they will pick up should both teams have a very poor result could make a huge different in the medal race. The bronze medal is wide open, with teams from Italy, Argentina, New Zealand, France, Portugal, Austria, and Croatia still alive. The teams from Sweden and Israel could also entry the fray if they have a great day. The American team of Stu McNay and Graham Biehl are currently 17th, with a realistic chance of moving up three or four spots with a great day.
In the Women’s 470, the American team of Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan need to rebound strongly from a tough day on the water on Sunday. They’re currently eighth, with 20 points between them and the bronze, and only four races, plus the medal race, remaining. They’ve been as fast as anyone in the fleet at times, but have also struggled to turn top-three positions around the course into top-three finishes. They’ll need to average a fifth, and probably better than that, the rest of the way to get into medal contention. Shiftier conditions on the Harbour Course should shake up the standings a bit, but it will also make the bad race more difficult to avoid.
Finally the women’s match racing start the elimination portion of their event. In the quarterfinals, scheduled for today and tomrrow, the U.S. team of Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, and Debbie Capozzi will face the Finnish team led by Silja Lehtinen. While Lehtinen won the world title a few months ago, Tunnicliffe’s team will enter this match as the favorite. A win in the best of five series will ensure the U.S. team of a chance to race for a medal on Saturday. A loss will guarantee them of going home empty handed. A lot is on the line for the match racers today and tomorrow.