The Finns and Stars are off today, which means for a few hours at least, if not the whole day, the sailing world won’t be talking about Finn sailors Ben Ainslie and Jonas Hoegh-Christensen. Their duel for gold comes Sunday.
Until then, there’s plenty of other sailing action to keep everyone occupied.
What’s On Tap For Today:
RS:X Women: Races 7 and 8 on the Nothe Course, starting at noon
RS:X Men: Races 7 and 8 on the Portland Harbour Course, starting at 1400
Women’s Match Racing: The final three flights of the Round Robin, on the Nothe Course, starting no earlier than 1400
Laser: Races 9 and 10 on the Weymouth Bay West Course, starting at noon
Laser Radial: Races 9 and 10 on the Weymouth Bay West Course, starting at 1210
470 Men: Races 5 and 6 on the Weymouth Bay South Course, starting at 1400
470 Women: Races 3 and 4 on the Weymouth Bay South Course, starting at 1410
49ers, Finns, and Stars are off
Weather: Mid teens for the wind, from SSW, and then decreasing late in the day. Partly cloudy with showers. Is this the last of the wind? Let’s hope not.
What to Watch For:
For the middle half of the women’s match racing draw—Sweden are Portugal are mathematically eliminated—it’s win or go home day. Only eight of the 12 teams will advance to the quarterfinals. A handful of teams, including the Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, and Debbie Capozzi, of the United States, have already done enough to make it through. The rest will have their fate decided today, on the Nothe Course. There’s a remote possibility there could be four teams tied on five points, with only three advancing. Or three teams tied on four points, with only one advancing.
For the United States team there is still something at stake in their two matches. While there is little difference between the top teams, finishing the qualifying with a top-four placement will ensure a team of facing a lower-ranked team in the opening round. Plus, there’s also the chance to get a psychological edge. The Americans final match, in fact the last match of the round robin, is against the British team led by Lucy Macgregor. It’s very conceivable that no matter the outcome of that match, both teams will move on and could find themselves battling again in a best three out of five.
In a Facebook post last night, Paige Railey announced that after a tough day on the water, her medal hopes are gone. She is ninth, however, and making the medal race is something to achieve. She’ll need two solid races today to keep herself in the top 10. She has an 11-point cushion on 11th, but with a 21-point throwout, that margin can invert itself in one race. Railey’s best realistic finish in this fleet is sixth, currently 22 points ahead.
The U.S. 470s teams produced a four-pack of top-10 results yesterday. Go team! For the Stu McNay and Graham Biehl, the mission is straightforward: Top-10s the rest of the way, with a couple of top 5s thrown in for good measure, and they could well be in medal contention for the medal race. The drop race will come into play today, which should bump them up a bit, provided they continue to sail like they did yesterday (10-3), and not like they did on Thursday (22-17).
The women need to keep on keeping on. They were solid yesterday, despite missing the rig set up for the first race. In this fleet, right now, it’s a game of waiting to see which of the top teams crack and record a bottom-half score, or two. Solid, consistent sailing over the next few days by Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan will put them in very good shape for the stretch run.
Neither of the U.S. windsurfers was expected to contend for a medal. With four races remaining, neither is. For the final races, it’s about personal goals. It would be great to see Bob Willis score another top 10 or two. And for Farrah Hall, one top half result, or better, will give her one more amazing Olympic memory.