Today is Day 4 of the Olympic Regatta and after a frenetic day yesterday, with eight of 10 classes racing, things slow down a bit today. The Stars and Finns have their rest day and the 470s have yet to start. The weather today is the big wild card, the forecast is calling for some unsettled weather, rain with the chance of lots of breeze. Generally, the windier things are, the better it is for the favorites. But at some point the danger of breakdowns, capsizes, and other mishaps comes into play.
For a recap of yesterday’s action, from an American point of view, click here
What’s On Tap For Today
RS:X Men: Races 3 and 4 on the Nothe Course, starting at noon
RS:X Women: Races 3 and 4 on the Portland Harbour Course, starting at approximately 1400
Women’s Match Racing: Round robin racing on the Nothe Course, starting no earlier than 1330
49er: Races 3 and 4 on the Portland Harbour Course, starting at noon
Laser: Races 5 and 6 on the Weymouth Bay West Course, starting at 1210
Radial: Races 5 and 6 on the Weymouth Bay West Course, starting at noon
470 Men: Practice race on the Weymouth Bay South Course, starting at noon
What to Watch For:
Today is a big day for the 49er class. With one more race, they’ll get their drop, which always shakes up the standings a bit. Plus in 20 knots or more these boats are a handful. We saw two of the top teams, Great Britain and Australia take spills yesterday and that was in fairly moderate conditions. If the wind does come in as forecast we could see even more carnage today. While Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, the reigning world champs and gold medal favorites, have got a 9-point lead on the pack, it’s very congested behind them, 9 points separating ninth from silver. I expect to day to be something of a selection day. Some teams will come through unscatched, or less so than others, and the pack of medal contenders will shrink a bit.
Paige Railey needs to make a move in the Radial. Another day like yesterday and she’ll be on the outside looking in when it comes to the medals. She’s proven she can motor through the fleet after a bad start, but today is the time to start beating some of the favorites and scoring at least one top-three score. Meanwhile, if the breeze is on, like for the twin towers, Ireland’s Annalise Murphy and Great Britain’s Allison Young (both of whom are over 6 feet) to power away from the fleet. Murphy, in particular, was very impressive yesterday.
Great Britain’s Paul Goodison, the defending gold medalist in the Laser is reportedly dealing with some pretty significant back issues. A windy day on one of the outer courses is not going to help those at all. And these are the conditions with Australia’s Tom Slingsby has shown he can motor away from the fleet. Goodison’s chances to defending his gold medal will depend on him have a solid day today and Slingsby putting a foot wrong at some point.
More wind will play to Bob Willis’ strengths. The Chicago RS:X sailor is sitting in seventh, which is significantly higher than most people expected him to be. If the wind stays up for a few more races, Willis could position himself in contention to make the medal race. But he’ll need to take advantage of this wind while it’s here. More solid races are necessary.
For the U.S. Women’s Match Racing, first up is Stephanie Hazard’s team from New Zealand, then Ekaterina Skudina and her team from Russia, who are currently tied for second with 5 wins in 6 races. Two wins will put the American trio in no worse than third, and with 6 points, assure them of a winning round-robin record and a spot in the quarterfinals.