An interesting day on the water with 2 medal races and 5 Olympic Medals being decided.
Why just 5? Well in the Men’s Laser Mat Wearn (AUS) was already in an unassailable position going into the race. Just for good measure, a second-place finish finished his regatta on a high. Stipanovic (CRO) reversed his position on Tomasgaard (NOR) to take the Silver Medal.
Over in the women’s Laser Radials it is Anne-Marie Rinsom’s Gold to lose. She was 5 Medal Race places ahead of reigning Olympic Champion from Rio, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) who must now be regretting her Day 1 performance. The Dutch woman should perhaps have been looking at her rival for medals as Josefin Olsson (SWE) took the Medal Race win while Bowmeester seemed rather preoccupied with Rinsom finishing just one place ahead of her and in doing so was leapfrogged by the Swede for the Silver Medal position.
Over in the Men’s 470s with 2 races to go we are not far from another Aussie Gold without the medal race as Class Legends Belcher & Ryan lead by 9 Medal Race places with Xammar & Garcia-Paz (ESP) currently in Silver and Patience & Grube (GBR) and Dahlberg & Bergstrom (SWE) on equal points with the Swedes ahead on countback.
In the Women’s event after 8 races the pairing of Mills & McIntyre (GBR) having just snuck ahead of Skrzypulec & Ogar (POL) on top spot with also, just 2 races to go – lookout for a Match Race in the Medal race there perhaps. Currently filling the podium are Lecointre & Retornaz (FRA)
In the 49er, almost as expected Burling & Tuke (NZL) have finally climbed into the Golf Medal position entering the medal race. This one could be interesting because if either Fletcher & Bithell (GBR or Botin Le Chever & Lopez Marra (ESP) can put one boat between the Kiwis and themselves then Gold could be theirs. A 3 boat match race almost. Watch out for from pre-start maneuvering. Maybe the ETNZ experience will have sharpened the Kiwi’s time on distance at the start but maybe not.
Over in the slightly smaller rigged 49erFX it is really tight. Bekkerling & Duetz (NED) and Grael & Kunze (BRA are tied on points with Lutz & Beucke (GER) 3 slots back. The two leaders need to be careful not to concentrate so much on each other as the current 3rd place Germans may lie in wait to steal their glory. The next two slots filled by ESP & GBR started the regatta well but have faded in the letter half and shouldn’t present a problem to the podium fight.
In the Nacra 17 Foiling Cat it is really Tita & Bani (ITA)’s regatta to lose. They are 7 medal race places ahead of Gimson & Burnet (GBR) and 9 places ahead of Kohlhoff & Stuhlemmer (GER) who although they remain a treat for the Silver, the Gold is outside their reach. The Italians have been sailing consistently and have been almost unassailable well over the past couple of days and if they maintain their performance the Gold should be theirs.
That just leaves the Finn which will be bowing out of the Olympics after this regatta leaving no equipment for the average sailor (over 86kg) – Political statement done.
The other tradition at stake is GBR’s dominance of the class with the last 6, yes 6 Olympic Golds going their way through Ian Percy, Ben Ainslie (he wasn’t a Sir until after his Golds ☺) and Giles Scott. It is Scott (GBR) who is defending his Rio title and if he maintains his form (he has won 6 races of 10 in this regatta) the Gold should be his. He is currently 5 Medal Race positions ahead of Zsonber Berecz (HUN) with Cardona Mendez (ESP) a further place back. Nothing is guaranteed but this is another Gold Medal which is the leaders to lose. All Scott needs to do is to sail as he has done virtually the whole regatta and he will successfully defend his Finn Gold Medal.
As we have seen mistakes at this regatta can be costly as we saw with Hansen (GBR) in the Laser was looking comfortable for a Medal Race place when a RET in Race 10 knocked him from 8th to 12th.
Some exciting racing ahead with some edgy sailors on the one hand and going for broke on the other.
And who said Olympic racing is boring.
Tomorrow is a lot quieter as the regatta moves towards its climax with 2 final races for Men and Women in the 470 along with the 49er Medal Races. PS Apologies if I got any of the Spanish surnames wrong, I can never quite decide where their forenames end and family names begin. – SS