Thinking about visiting the sailing Olympics in Weymouth, or wondering if it would be worth it? Read our answers here

We’ve had a number of emails from readers asking whether they should visit Weymouth for the sailing Olympics if they don’t have tickets, where the courses are, what there is to see and where’s best to catch the action.

We have been reporting on the spectating experience in our From the beach section online here but in case you’ve missed any of the information scattered around, here are some of the queries and info in one place.

Q. I don’t have a ticket for the sailing Olympics. Do you still think its worth visiting for the day?

A. Yes. Weather permitting, it’s a great day out. Road traffic and trains have been no problem so far. Here’s a detailed report on the situation here based on coming down daily myself.

Q. My mother-in-law in Weymouth claims that there is a huge white fence with hoarding all along the edge of the beach, stopping anyone in the town from seeing any sailing. She says residents have to pay to be allowed onto the beach and to get any view. Is any of this true? How far along the town does this fence go?

A. No, there’s not a huge white fence all round the beach. The Live screen area at the town end of the beach is showing TV coverage and commentary and is fenced off. It goes a few hundred metres along the beach from the Pavilion end.

To watch the screens you need to enter through turnstiles. This is for crowd control and security purposes (no problems with either to date), but it’s free to go in and out, and there’s lots of space inside. If you’re not interested in this, there’s miles of beach and access as normal.

Q. I am planning to enjoy a couple of days in Weymouth and am particularly interested in watching the men’s 470 racing, but can’t find out which courses will be used for which fleets on which days, apart from medal races.

A. Here’s the schedule of courses for the fleets.

Q. We are thinking of travelling a considerable way to watch the sailing. We don’t have a ticket but will we still be able to see the racing?

A. Yes. If you don’t have a ticket you have two options. The first is to watch the action on giant screens on the town beach with live commentary and animations. You can bring a picnic and soak up a friendly, family crowd atmosphere, but you won’t actually be able to see the boats or mark roundings from this spot.

Alternatively, you can walk to the stone pier or Newton’s Cove. From the latter there’s a great view of the Nothe (medal) course top mark, and it’s a fine space for picnicking and swimming but there are no screens or commentary, so bring your binoculars.

I’ve marked these spots on the map below, and I’ve written up a lot more information about visiting Weymouth here – click the link below. Importantly, see also the question below about following the racing withouth the live screen commentary.

I’ve found it fun to get both perspectives. It’s approximately a 15-minute walk between the two areas, so you can do both and that’s what I’d recommend.

I’ve written up lots more information here.

Q. We are planning to go on Sunday. Is this when Ben Ainslie is racing? If not, we’ll go the Saturday after.

A. Yes, it’s the Finn medal race on Sunday 5th August. That’s the final one for Ainslie and his rivals, plus the final for the Star class. Racing continues the following week, but most classes are concluding before the second weekend. See the schedule of races here.

Q. I have tickets for the sailing Olympics at the Nothe in Weymouth. I am unable to stand for more than a few minutes. I understand that I will not be able to take a portable seat in with me. Please can you tell me if there is adequate seating where I will be able to see the sailing/big screen?

A. I haven’t been in the Nothe ticketed area; as an unaccredited journalist I’m not allowed in. However, I can see from the TV pictures and from along the other vantage points that people are sitting on the grass and it’s a case of taking a ground sheet or picnic blanket. Think Henman Hill at Wimbledon.

Q. If you were to go to Newton’s Cove, the pier, cliffs etc with binoculars can you follow it ok without commentary?

A. Good question. If you’re thinking of following an entire race, the answer to this is no.

By going to the seafront you will be able to see the racing at the point that it is nearest to you, that is to say one mark rounding off the Nothe and as they head off on the next leg, but you will probably be unable to track the whole race or distinguish distances between boats right down to the next mark rounding as it will be a couple of miles away.

As above, the best place to watch the entire races you want to follow is on the live screens at the beach and perhaps go round to Newton’s Cove afterwards to have a taste of other fleet racing for real at a mark rounding. There is usually women’s match racing in the late afternoon, and that is on a short course, is close in and pretty self-explanatory to follow.

Alternatively, you can watch in real life and stream the TV coverage being streamed from the BBC Olympic website over 3G. The BBC online video site is here and an estimate to 3G data used is here

Q. Could you tell me please if there are any restrictions where you can watch with a dog? I am holidaying in the area and have my dog with me, so I want to make sure she can come with me before I head to Weymouth.

A. They don’t allow dogs in the live screen area, or a lot of the Weymouth beach. It’s all part of the normal summer time restrictions. That would make it very difficult for you to see the racing on screen – it’s fenced off and it’s not easy to look in from the outside. Otherwise there have been people with dogs everywhere including over at Newtons Cove.  

Q. What are your recommendations for viewing when the weather’s duff and you have to come in off the beach in the rain?

A. There is no sheltered place to watch the racing on screen and that includes at the Nothe ticketed area. If it rains, you’ll have to bring waterproofs or do what I do: go to the pub tea shop.

If you’ve got any more questions you’d like us to try to answer, email me at (Please don’t post up as a comment on the website as we won’t be able to check through these over the weekend 4/5th August).