**On Tap For Today (Thursday, Aug. 2) **
Finns: Races 7 and 8 on the Weymouth Bay South Course, starting at noon
Stars: Races 7 and 8 on the Weymouth Bay South Course, starting at 1210
Men’s 470: Race 1 on the Nothe Course, starting at noon, Race 2 on Weymouth Bay West Course, starting at 1330
49er: Races 7 and 8 on the Portland Harbour Course, starting at noon
Men’s RS:X: Races 5 and 6 on the Portland Harbour Course, starting at 1400
Women’s RS:X: Races 5 and 6 on the Portland Harbour Course, starting at 1530
Match Racing: Round Robin racing on the Nothe Course, starting no earlier than 1330.
Women’s 470: Practice racing on the Weymouth Bay West Course, starting at approximately 1340
Lasers and Laser Radials have the day off
Weather: It’s raining right now, but the forecast is more partly cloudy skies and a lot of breeze. The showers could bring some significant gusts with the potential for some brief spells of survival sailing. Yesterday Nathan Outteridge, the leader in the 49er class, said that the speedy skiff is fine up to around 22 knots. We could easily see more than that today and for those that remember the medal race in Bejing, all bets are off in that class once it gets to 25 knots, though a large part of the problem in Bejing was the waves.
What to Watch For:
Most eyes will be on the Finn. Can Ben Ainslie start to chip away at Jonas Hogh-Christensen’s 10-point lead. The British demigod needs to beat the Great Dane by at least two spots, on average, over the final four full-fleet races to put himself within striking distance for the medal race. Otherwise, Ainslie may find himself in the uncomfortably position of having to defend silver as opposed to going for gold.
And when those eyes are not trained on the Finn, they’ll be watching the Star to watch the heavyweight showdown between Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson and Robert Scheidt and Brune Prada. Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih of the United States are in a position to medal, but need some top 3 finishes to solidify their position.
The business end of the women’s match racing round robin is here. It’s been hard to get too worked up about the match racing, with two-thirds of the fleet moving forward and no real carryover. But for the bottom half of the standings, today and tomorrow are crucial. The round robin is likely to wrap up tomorrow and every team, save for the winless Swedes who can do no better than ninth, can mathematically still qualify for the quarterfinals. Any team with 4 points or less has to be concerned about going 0-3 on these final two days and finding themselves on the wrong side of a tiebreaker and out of the quarterfinals. Anna Tunnicliffe and her team have just one match today, against the Dutch team that is 3-5. It’s a match the U.S. team should win, but there are no gimmies in this group.
The Men’s 470 gets going today and if the other classes are any indication, a good start can go a long way toward setting up a strong regatta. Will any of the favorites (AUS, GBR, CRO, NED, NZL) slip up? Will one or more of the dark horses, including the American pair of Stu McNay and Graham Biehl, pull out a career day and give themselves a confidence boost that can carry forward.