London Olympics 2012—Similar conditions, tougher competition

Stars and Finns London 2012 Olympic Games
Today’s rather animated press briefing here at the Sailing Media Center at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy, situated in Portland, UK, delivered news that sailors and spectators alike appreciated hearing, namely, an expected repeat performance of yesterday’s windy, lumpy racing conditions that tested sailor’s endurance levels almost as much as it pushed their on-the-water acumen. The low-pressure system that has been hanging over much of the southern UK is expected to move slightly east today. For the sailors, this translates to sunny skies and possible scattered showers ashore. Perfect!

The breeze is expected to blow from the south-southwest again at roughly 14 knots-with puffs to 18-before laying down a bit around noon. Sometime around 1300 hours, however, conditions are expected to freshen, with gusts as high as 20-25 knots. Much like yesterday, the spring tide is expected to stack-up against the prevailing breeze, delivering fairly big (for dinghy racing) seas, especially on the Weymouth Bay South course (the most exposed racetrack of the lot), with conditions peaking by mid-to-late afternoon.

Tom Slingsby (AUS) competing in the Men’s One Person Dinghy (Laser) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Seven classes are competing today as the racing schedule nudges ever closer to the regatta’s medal-race phase. A glance at the schedule reveals that the Finns and Stars will be the first two classes to compete for Gold on Sunday, August 5th, on the Nothe course, with the Men’s Laser and Women’s Laser Radial medal races slated for Monday, August 6th. Given the rapidly approaching dates of these important races, today’s racing takes on extra air of importance for these classes.

The Lasers and the Laser Radials are taking to the Portland Harbor course, starting at 1330 hours, with the ladies sailing two races on this course, while the men will sail a single race before then continuing on to the Nothe course for their second race. The lightning-quick 49er class will also rifle off three races on the Nothe course today, starting at 1330 hours.

The 470 Men’s and 470 Women’s classes will each contest two races on the Weymouth Bay West course, where seas are expected to one to two feet (half a meter).

Finns racing at the London 2012 Olympic Games

And on the Weymouth Bay South course—where the seas will be tall and steep—the Finns and the Stars will answer their last non-medal signals of this Olympiad. As with yesterday’s contest, the Stars will sail longer courses than the Finns, with the two-man keelboats starting ten minutes astern of the one-man Finns.

Please stay tuned to the website for results and in-depth reports, as they become known.