Afternoon Tea, 2012 Olympics, Day 8

A banner day for the British and for fans of sailing. But a tough one for the U.S. Sailing Team.

August 5, 2012
Sailing World


A pack house at the Nothe watched two very exciting medal races, with the British medals in both coming down to the last few meters. They were rewarded with a silver in the Star and a gold in Finn, the latter confirming Ben Ainslie as the most successful Olympic sailor in history. Stuart Streuli

I kept telling the Brits that there is only one Super Sunday, and it occurs in February and involves about as far from a sailing regatta as a sporting event can get. But you try getting a word in when national heroes Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy are going for gold.

For the Brits it was a huge day and probably just how the organizers of the Weymouth Olympic Regatta drew it up many years ago, with two of their most well-known sailors fighting for Olympic gold on a beautiful summer Sunday on the south coast.

And even for a cycnical American journalist who was more than a little bitter about having nothing significant to root for it was a pretty special day. Super? Maybe not, but definitely special and not in that Dana Carvey way.


For the U.S. Sailing Team, however, it was basically a day to forget. For highlights you’ll have to chose between Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih scoring a sixth in the Star medal race—a result that dropped them to seventh in the overall standings one point behind Germany and New Zealand—or Farrah Hall recording a pair of 16ths—her best finishes of the regatta—in the final two full-fleet races in the Women’s RS:X class.

In the other classes, it was tough sledding for the U.S. Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. The Women’s 470 had a brutal day, a 19th and 20th (in a 20 boat fleet). To be fair, a number of top teams had at least one bad race. It won’t knock Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan out of medal contention, but it will make their job a lot more difficult over the final four races. They are currently 8th, 20 points out of bronze with four full-fleet races and the medal race remaining.

In the 49er, the news was equally as frustrating for American sailing fans. A 20th and a 17th leaves Erik Storck and Trevor Moore in 15th overall, and with only a slim chance of even making the medal race. They 49ers have two more full-fleet races tomorrow, before the medal race on Wednesday.


Bob Willis had one more good result, a 11th, in the Men’s RS:X, but closed out his regatta on a down note, a 30th. With Willis finishing 22nd and Hall finishing 20th, you can bet US Sailing won’t be among the National Governing Bodies in ISAF pushing to overturn the decision to switch to kiteboarding.

Fortunately the match racing starts again tomorrow, with the quarter finals. Unless things turn around for Clark and Lihan (which is possible since many of the competitors ahead of them in the standings are currently carrying rather high discards and the points could add up in a hurry), the trio of Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, and Debbie Capozzi will be the lone medal hope for a U.S. team in danger of being skunked at the Olympic sailing regatta for the first time since the 1936 Olympic Regatta in Kiel, Germany.


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