Morning Toast, 2012 Olympics, Day 11

Is this the last gasp for the U.S. medal hopes in the 2012 Olympics Regatta?

What’s On Tap For Today:

49ers: Medal race, starting at 1300, on the Nothe Course

Women's 470: Races 9 and 10 on the Portland Harbour course, starting at noon.

Women's Match Racing: Second day of the quarterfinals, on the Nothe Course, starting no earlier than 1400

Men's 470 have the day off before their medal race on Thursday

The RS:X, Laser, Laser Radial, Finn, and Star classes have all finished their regattas.

Weather: WSW winds at 8 knots, backing to southwest at 10 knots by 1400. Cloudy and rainy in the morning, with a chance of clearing later in the day.

What To Watch For:

While most eyes will be focused on the 49er medal race, the U.S. Sailing Team enters Day 11 of the Olympic regatta with its back to the water. Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, and Debbie Capozzi are down 0-2 in their Women's Match Racing quarterfinal bout against Finland. The U.S. trio needs to win three straight matches today to keep their medal hopes (and basically the U.S. Sailing Team's medal hopes) alive. Match racers are prone to streaks, so three straight wins is hardly out of range for Tunnicliffe's team. But it will not be easy and the streaky, puffy, shifty Nothe course will only make it more difficult.

The medal favorite French team is also in a 0-2 hole in their match with Spain. The Russia-Great Britain and Australia-Netherlands matches are tied at 1-1.

The 49er Medal Race will showcase both the best and worst of the medal race. The Australians and New Zealanders have locked up the gold and silver medals, respectively. The rules require them to start, but nothing can force them to try hard. Dutch windsurfer Dorian van Rijsselberge was in a similar position in yesterday’s Men’s RS:X medal race. He went out and won the race, going away. I’m guessing that the Antipodean skiff teams have spend the last two days celebrating their win and probably will be giving the medal race the old college try, but not a lot more. That’s the worst: when people pay good money to see the final race of the regatta and the top two teams don’t have to try.

The race for bronze, however, which involves the British team, should more than make up for the potential apathy at the top of the fleet. Six teams are mathematically alive for the medal. Denmark (108 points) and Finland (109) are effectively tied for bronze going into the race. With Great Britain (114), France (115), and Austria (116) six to eight points behind (remember the medal race is scored double, and counts as the tiebreaker, so making up eight points requires beating a team by four spots). Portugal (120) has a very outside chance of winning the medal, but they can’t be discounted.

To win the bronze, the British team needs to beat France and Austria across the line, finish no worse than two spots behind Portugal and three spots ahead of both the Danes and the Finns.

Finally in the women's 470, the U.S. needs two stellar races and a really bad day for one or more of the top three teams(New Zealand, Great Britain, and the Netherlands) if they hope to move into real contention for a medal before the medal race. It's a tall task, and not likely. But stranger things have happened.