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London Olympics 2012: Sailing Olympics Newsletter - Day 3
The third day of the 2012 Olympic Sailing Regatta has concluded - sailed in fresh breezes, overcast skies - conditions that most cynics regard as being typical English weather.
Today was the start of the Windsurfing - another event set to exit the Olympic family come the conclusion of this regatta. Mens and Womens events got underway, with the Men starting on the Weymouth Bay course - in bleak conditions.
It was the current world champion Dorian van Rijsselberge, who proved more than up to the physical test, building a massive lead early in the race, and was never heads. He repeated the feat again in the second race, and oddly enough leads the competition.
July 31, 2012 Womens Windsurfer - Bryony Shaw GBR makes a prestart adjustment Richard Gladwell
The dominant sailor of this regatta is Annalise Murphy of Ireland, who has won all races she has sailed, and in fact has only not led around every mark in just two instances. But her performance has not really been the focus of attention of local fans, who seem consumed as to whether 'their Ben' will win his fourth Gold Medal.
Ainslie improved today to be second overall, but is still 10 points adrift of the overall leader.
July 31, 2012 Womens Windsurfer - Oiha Maslivets (UKR) heading for fourth position in race 2 Richard Gladwell
Can he do it? In their heart of hearts, few would bet against him. He's a hell of a competitor. But his fans will have to wait for another day at least - tomorrow is a lay day for the Finn and Star classes. The day off is expected to see a change in weather, with lighter breezes expected. Will that play into Ainslie's hands? We'll know in a few days.
Ainslie's compatriots, Iain Percy and Andrew 'Bart' Simpson (GBR), the reigning Olympic Champions, have put their stamp on the Star class, heading the points table, and looking very dominant on the water. Today was a daunting one for the Star fleet, with a nasty squall hitting the fleet as they neared the top mark at the end of the first beat, with an audible gasp from the gathered media and official boats as their massive rigs shook and trembled in the conditions. It is a death-defying experience watching the massive Star rigs in such conditions, as they look set to tear themselves apart in a tack or mark rounding.
Thankfully all survived.
July 31, 2012 Mens Two Handed Keelboat - melee at first rounding mark Richard Gladwell
Today saw the first use of the Portland course, enclosed by the seawall, which formed naval defences back in the days of the two World Wars.
Those new to Weymouth wondered just how the sailing would work in such an enclosed area, for an Olympic Regatta. But again it seems to be fine. Just another test of sailing skills. All the Medal races will be contested on this course, and the sight of the Stars sailing their final Olympic race on this course will be one of the memories that will be taken away from this regatta.
Tomorrow racing gets underway in the Mens Doublehander, the 470.
July 31, 2012 Security line is well equipped - Weymouth Olympic Regatta. Or is this the Jury boat (just kidding) Richard Gladwell
Quite when that will be remains to be seen, with a front expected to cross the Weymouth Bay between 11.00am and 1.00pm, bringing winds of up to 35kts, which are widely expected to delay the start of racing.
After the passage of the front, lighter conditions are expected for the rest of the week.
Whether they will offer Ben a Get out of Jail card, will be the key point of interest.
July 31, 2012 Pavlos Kontides (CYP) in fourth place in the Mens Singlehander Laser racing on the Portland course Richard Gladwell
In this edition of Sail-World's Olympic newsletter we have all the background and reports on the day's racing, along with some great images from some of the world's top photographers.