Practice racing for the Finn and Star got underway today in perfect conditions
Whether it be through superstition or through a desire to play cards close to the chest, top sailors are notoriously reluctant to finish a practice race and today was no different. So while conditions could not have been better for racing, most teams appeared to be using the day to settle into both the venue and their routines.
First up was the match racing that was being conducted in Portland Harbour. Shortly after this had got underway, the Finn class was lining up on the Nothe race course area.
The spectator area at the Nothe was not open to the public today but it was clear to see that in these conditions the excitement of the weather mark would be the focus of attention for those on the grassy hill.
For the sailors, today was yet another reminder as to how tricky this course can be, especially at the windward mark which was tucked in close to the sea wall and the Nothe.
Early indications of form provided little surprise as some of the familiar names in this fleet led the charge up the first beat with Kiwi sailor Dan Slater leading around the first mark, the Dane Jonas Hogh-Christensen second and Ainslie third. For the next 30 mins or so this trio extended on the fleet until racing petered out. No real surprises there.
On the Star course the racing was characteristically tight as the fleet squeezed off its short start line and then jostled around the first weather mark. First around the mark should have been the Canadian team, but having been over the line at the start they left the race course to allow Britain’s Percy and Simpson to round in the lead.
Once again, there was little that could be derived from the race in particular, other than that the British duo seemed to be taking the racing very seriously and that Brazilian sailors and favourites, Robert Schiedt and Bruno Prada, seemed equally keen to stay close to the Brits by ducking five boats on the beat.
At present conditions for tomorrow look very similar to today, albeit with the breeze a little further into the SW. This should help to stabilise the shifts on the Nothe course.
So, the sailing Olympics starts for real tomorrow with the following planned schedule.
1200 Finn – 1 race – Nothe
1200 49er – practice race – Portland Harbour
1200 Laser and Laser Radial – practice race – Weymouth Bay South
1330 Match Racing – Nothe
1330 Star – 2 races – Weymouth Bay West
1330 Finn – 1 race – Weymouth Bay West
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What when and where?
Download the race schedule showing which classes are sailing on which course areas as well as details of the courses themselves