Find out what’s on the agenda at the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition today and find out further information on how to follow the racing, watch the tracking, download imagery and follow World Sailing on social media.
Big breeze up to 20 knots is set to greet the Olympic debut of the Mixed Multihulls – Nacra 17 and the start of competition for the Men’s and Women’s Two Person Dinghies – 470. While most of the 470 sailors will say ‘bring it on’ to the breeze, the Nacra 17 boys and girls will be heading out with a little more trepidation. If the wind really kicks in on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course, there is the possibility of pitchpoling and capsizing.
It’s a day of rest for the Men’s and Women’s Windsurfer fleets, but it’s a continuation of business for all three One Person Dinghy fleets. The Finns are racing on Niterói and the Laser and Laser Radials test out the Copacabana course.
This morning the weather has been overcast but the typical pattern has been for the clouds to clear and the sunshine to break through by the start of play at 1300 hours.
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
There are few mandatory mixed events across the whole Olympic Games, so it will be great to see the men and women competing side by side on these frisky 17-foot catamarans. The fleet will be competing in three 30-minute races on their first day, building up to a total of 12 races before the top ten go through to the Medal Race onTuesday 16 August.
The French team have won all four World Championships in the brief history of this brand new Olympic event. But Billy Besson (FRA) is nursing a long-term back injury and with crew mate Marie Riou has only managed an hour’s training per day during the build-up to the start of competition.
With that question mark over the French, the field looks wide open, with Australia, Spain, Italy and many others holding realistic hopes of a first-ever medal in this exciting new event. If previous experience at a Games counts, then Fernando Echávarri’s (ESP) gold medal in the Tornado multihull at Beijing 2008 will prove invaluable as he competes with Tara Pacheco, a former 470 World and European Champion.
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
The Women’s Two Person Dinghy event has been taking place in the tried and tested 470 dinghy since the Seoul Games in 1988. Like the One Person Dinghy events, the 470 Women are competing in a series of ten races with a 50-minute target time before the final Medal Race on Wednesday 17 August. Day 1 of competition starts with two races on the Escola Naval (Navy School) course.
The gold and silver medallists from London 2012 are expected to be in the medal hunt again, respectively Jo Aleh/ Polly Powrie (NZL) and Hannah Mills/ Saskia Clark (GBR). However, the Brazilian bronze medallist from Beijing 2008, Fernanda Oliveira, is competing on home waters and that could prove to be a critical advantage. This will be Oliveira’s fifth Games and her crew Ana Luiza Barbachan’s second. At London 2012 Lara Vadlau (AUT) was the youngest female sailor but since then with Jolanta Ogar she has gained experience and won the 2014 and 2015 World Championships, making the Austrians a hot medal prospect.
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
The Men’s Two Person Dinghy event has been taking place in the 470 dinghy since 1976. The fleet is competing in a series of ten races with a 50-minute target time before the final Medal Race on Wednesday 17 August. Day 1 of competition starts with two races on the Escola Naval (Navy School) course.
A year ago, the reigning Olympic Champion Mat Belcher (AUS) would have been the nailed on favourite with his crew Will Ryan, whose dominance in the 470 has been going on for many years. However, this season the 2009 World Champions Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have been running hot, winning the 2016 World Championship in Argentina and beating the Aussies in a number of major regattas. As we’ve seen already though, in Rio no one is safe and there plenty of other teams who rightly feel they have what it takes, including the London 2012 bronze medallists from Argentina and the experienced team from the USA.
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
Aged 36, Julio Alsogaray (ARG) is no spring chicken but now competing at his third Games, the Argentinean’s experience has stood him in good stead to withstand the pressures and unpredictabilities of Rio after the first two days of competition. Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) and Sam Meech (NZL) are also well placed in second and third overall, but it will be interesting to see if sixth placed Juan Ignacio Maegli (GUA) can build on the momentum from day 2 after the Guatemalan had the best scores from a difficult day that caused problems for other more experienced sailors. Among those are Robert Scheidt (BRA) in eighth overall and the reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) back in 12th. It’s a new race course, Copacabana, so maybe it will bring a change of fortune and mix up the pack again.
Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
Lijia Xu (CHN) is setting the pace in the Women’s One Person Dinghy, the defending Olympic Champion once again showing she has the spirit for the big occasion. Annalise Murphy (IRL) has shown over the first two days that she’s a real all-rounder, but the winner of the first four heats of a windy London 2012 four years ago will surely relish the forecast of stronger breeze and bigger waves for day three. Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) has no bad scores so far, the only sailor to finish all four races in the top ten, and the London 2012 silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester (NED) will be looking forward to stretching her legs if the wind does indeed blow across the Copacabana course.
Heavyweight Men’s One Person Dinghy – Finn
Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) leads the Finns after day one, although the Slovenian double Olympic medallist fears the stronger wind forecast for day two, speculating that the younger and heavier sailors will come to the fore in their two races on the Niterói course. That will come as music to the ears of Giles Scott (GBR), the four-time World Champion who languishes in tenth place after a difficult day in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain. Local hero Jorge Zarif (BRA) and London 2012 silver medallist Jonas Hogh Christensen (DEN) had solid if unremarkable openings to their campaigns. The surprise performers of day one, Alican Kaynar (TUR) and Facundo Olezza Bazan (ARG), will set out on the water to prove that yesterday was no flash in the pan, but that they have the temperament for the big stage.