Wysiwyg - (Not)

 What you see is not always what you get out here. The wind might be rattling the windows, the walk to the sailing arena unusually cool thanks to the stronger than normal breeze, but when it came to conditions that would prevail for the rest of the day, dust in your eyes was no guarantee that there would be a decent breeze on the race course, at least not for the entire day.

By this morning the forecasted northerly was indeed blowing, but as the sea breeze built the two cancelled each other out and caused chaos on several of the race courses. Worst affected was the Tornado class that found itself coping with a 180 degree wind shift during the second race. One spinnaker leg was followed directly by another.

The incident brought protests against the race committee from four competitors each claiming redress.

“We have worked hard over the last four years to compete and succeed in the Olympic Games,” said Argentinian crew member Carlos Espinola who is currently lying third overall. “The race committee should have waited for a better wind to come. I am not angry because I didn’t have a good result today. It’s not a matter of winning or having a bad result, I want to sail a good race.”

Herbert Dercksen, the Dutch crew was also concerned. “It’s terrible to race under these conditions,” he said.

Yet despite the shifty conditions, those that got ahead managed to stay ahead with the Australians taking the first race and the Russians taking the second while the American team of John Lovell and Charlie Ogeltree maintaining their overall lead, albeit by just one point.

On the Star course the breeze caused enough chaos to see just one of the two races sailed today. And while Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira continue to lead this class overall, a temporary blip down into 12th before recovering to second proved how difficult the conditions were.

The British duo of Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell found the day equally taxing and despite starting well for the first few legs, sailing up the middle of the last beat when the wind took a hard hike right cost them dearly and dropped them from 3rd to 8th before recovering to 6th by the finish.

On the third race course area the boards experienced their big wind shift between races leaving them relatively unscathed. With just one race to go, the Brazilian Ricardo Santos leads while Britain’s Nick Dempsey has to pick up 11 points in one race to get bronze. Not impossible but a big task nonetheless.

In the women’s boards there are two races left with Jian Yin of China leading the field and Alessandra Sensini of Italy a close second.

As the sun went down, the breeze continued to blow, from the shore at least it will have been difficult to imagine such a stressful day afloat.