Monday, 18 August 2008

Two Golds for Britain; Kiwis Enjoy the Wind in Qingdao

Top: Britain's Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson surfed to victory in the medal race and Gold at the Qingdao Olympics in the Yngling.
Bottom: Ben Ainslie, Finn Gold medallist 2008, surfs to victory in the medal race in Qingdao.
Images copyright Juerg Kaufmann, Go4Image

SailRaceWin is grateful to Juerg Kaufmann and Go4Image for exclusive provision of images of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta.
by SailRaceWin

Wind, waves and rain greeted competitors on day nine of the 2008 Olympic Games sailing events in Qingdao. Three medal races were held: Finn, Yngling and 49er, for nine of the sailing medals.


Ben Ainslie gave an excellent demonstration of downwind Finn racing in a breeze to surf to victory in the class' medal race and Gold in the 2008 Olympic Games, to add to his 2004 Finn Gold, and 2000 and 1996 Gold and Silver medals in the Laser class.

World ranked number 1 Finn sailor, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen of Denmark, enjoys the breeze in the medal race, in which he finished second, giving him 6th place overall. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann, Go4Image

Visibility issues delayed racing and the Ynglings were the first to complete their medal race on Sunday, 17th August, on Fushan Bay, off Qingdao. After a delayed start, the 20 knot breeze meant that Ainslie sailed a very different race from the light airs tactics of the previous day. Ainslie kept only a very loose cover on American Zach Railey in today's race.

Hoegh-Christensen of Denmark, Trujillo of Spain and Florent (France) enjoyed the breezy conditions, and finished second, third and fourth behind Ainslie in the racing. Railey held on to sixth place to give him the Silver medal. However, Birgmark of Sweden moved up to seventh at the finish and tied on points with Florent, but the Frenchman won the Bronze medal by virtue of finishing ahead in the medal race.

Ainslie flies the British flag after winning Gold at the Olympics in 2008. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann, Go4Image

Most decorated Olympic Sailors

Ainslie is now joint second most decorated sailing Olympian of all time, having the same number of Gold (3) and Silver (1) medals as Germany's Jochen Schuemann, and Valentin Mankin from the Ukraine. Only Denmark's Paul Elvstrom has won more sailing Olympic Gold medals (4).

Schuemann's feat was over more than two decades of Olympic sailing, starting with a Gold in the Finn class in 1976 and finishing with Silver in the Soling in Sydney 2000, twice scoring just out of the medals (5th in the Finn in Moscow 1980 and 4th in the Soling in Barcelona 1992; Schuemann missed the 1984 Los Angeles Games due to the Warsaw Pact boycott, else would have competed there in the Finn).

Mankin won his Gold and Silver medals in the Finn (1968 - Gold), Tempest (1972 - Gold; 1976 - Silver) and Star (1980 - Gold) classes between 1968 and 1980.

However, Ainslie has won Gold consecutively in each of the last three Olympic Games (Laser in Sydney and Finn in Athens and Qingdao) and Silver at his first attempt in the Laser in the Atlanta Games. Like Elvstrom, Ainslie has just sailed single-handed boats in the Olympics.


Meanwhile, the first Gold medal of the day was won by Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson in the Yngling class, for Britiain. They overtook Germany's Uli Schuemann [no relation of Jochen Schuemann] on the final leg, and these two boats finished the medal race well ahead of the rest of the fleet. This gave the Germans fourth overall in class.

The Greek team of Sofia Bekatorou, Sofia Papadopoulou and Virginia Kravarioti finished third in the medal race, and took Bronze in the Yngling, behind the Silver medal winning Dutch team of Mandy Mulder, Annemieke Bes and Merel Witteveen, who were fourth in the medal race.

The Russians hit the French Yngling and holed it at the start of the medal race. Although the Russians took a penalty, the increasing amount of water onboard slowed the French boat and she was awarded redress, moving from 8th place to equal 5th in the medal race. In further drama, it emerged that the Australian crew did not weigh in before the medal race today. The Australian Yngling was disqualified from the medal race in consequence, dropping them to 10th position overall.

British Yngling Gold medallists in Qingdao: Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann, Go4Image


The 49er results are pending as the Danish team, leading the event, Jonas Warrer and Martin Ibsen, suffered a broken mast before the start of the medal race and borrowed the Croatian 49er boat for the medal race. They have provisionally won the Gold medal. However, the Danes have been protested by the Race Committee concerning their change of boat. The protest will be heard on 18th August.

In more 49er fleet drama, first the Italians, Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello, and then the Australian medal race leaders, Nathan Outteridge and Ben Austin, capsized on the final leg of the race. This affected the overall results, with the Spanish (Iker de Lizarduy/Xabier Gaztanaga) and Germans (Jan-Peter and Hannes Peckolt) finishing first and second in the medal race, giving them, provisionally, Silver and Bronze medals in class, respectively. Provisionally, the Italians and Australians have finished in fourth and fifth overall in the 49er class.

New Zealand report for 17th August (Day Nine)

from Jodie Bakewell-White

It’s been an action packed day at the Olympic Sailing venue, Qingdao, China, on day ten of the regatta. Strong winds and heavy rain, medals decided in three classes, delays and further postponements.

New Zealanders in action included windsurfers Tom Ashley and Barbara Kendall sailing two races each; Andrew Murdoch; Jo Aleh and Star crew Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams all sailing one race a piece. The day has had its ups and downs for the Kiwi team.

New Zealand’s Standings Summary

1st - Tom Ashley, Men’s RS:X (after 7 races)
3rd - Jo Aleh, Laser Radial (after 6 races)
5th - Barbara Kendall, Women’s RS:X (after 7 races)
6th - Hamish Pepper & Carl Williams, Star (after 4 races)
12th - Andrew Murdoch, Laser (after 6 races)

12th Dan Slater, Finn (Final result)
11th - Carl Evans & Peter Burling, Men’s 470 (Final result)

Tom Ashley has moved up into the lead spot in the Men’s RS:X fleet who have now sailed seven races. After a 5th and a 3rd in racing today the Kiwi has ousted Shahar Zubari of Israel from the top of the leader board, and now has a five point buffer over Julien Bontemps FRA in second place.

Barbara Kendall relished the blustery and choppy conditions and came away with two more solid results to add to her scorecard. After a 4th and a 3rd in races six and seven sailed today the veteran Olympian has moved up from 6th overall into 5th place four points back from 4th.

Jo Aleh slipped out of the lead in the Laser Radials after a 14th place in the one race sailed today. She now has 3rd place overall just one point behind Anna Tunnicliffe USA in second.

The Star class has now completed four races, adding just one today, conditions on course area E reportedly rugged. Kiwi crew Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams were 11th in today’s race which means they now sit in 6th place overall in the 16 boat fleet on equal points with USA in 5th.


Today’s wet and windy conditions provided an exciting prospect for Tom Ashley who often demonstrates the advantage of performing well regardless of the conditions. So while the Auckland based windsurfer, who is competing at his second Olympic Games, has been consistent in the extreme light of Qingdao so far, he can also produce results on windy days. And that’s what Qingdao provided today – 15-20 knots of south westerly winds with swelly, choppy sea conditions.

“The racing is extremely tight and everyone is sailing at a very high level,” said Ashley yesterday. “Events like this generally are won and lost on attrition as guys make mistakes and take themselves out of the running, so consistency will definitely be the key as the regatta goes on and we race in different conditions.”

Under way on schedule today the Men’s RS:X started first on course area B at around midday, organizers hoping to fit in three races to catch up on the programme. At mark one Ashley was buried in the fleet rounding in 17th place, dropping back to 27th at one point. But, as he did in race five, Ashley staged a comeback, up to 5th, and gaining another place on the final run to the line, finishing 4th.

In race seven which followed Ashley didn’t lose sight of the leaders, rounding each mark within the top five, and again passing sailors as the race progressed to record a 3rd place. As some of his counterparts fell by the wayside unable to bring home the results in the strong winds Ashley moved up the leader board to take the top spot after seven races.

Ashley will compete again tomorrow.

Men’s RS:X (provisional) top five results after 7 races

1st NZL Tom Ashley - 25 points
2nd FRA Julien Bontemps - 30 points
3rd ISR Shahar Zubari - 31 points
4th GBR Nick Dempsey 11 - 33 points
5th HKG King Yin Chan - 40 points


Barbara Kendall was strong in the breeze today as well, continuing her climb up the standings in the women’s RS:X improving from 6th to 5th overall after today’s racing. Kendall, like Ashley is showing consistent results finishing within the top four in her most recent four races, her worst result so far coming in her first race of the regatta.

Points are close around her. Kendall is four points adrift of Marina Alabau ESP in 4th and three points ahead of Bryony Shaw GBR. China’s Jian Lin of Qingdao is China’s biggest hope for a sailing medal continuing to lead the Women’s RS:X ahead of three time Olympic medalist Alessandra Sensini of Italy.

Both RS:X medal races are scheduled for Wednesday 20th so there is time in the schedule to complete the ten race series to decide the top ten. They will be back on the water again tomorrow.

Women’s RS:X top six results after races

1st CHN Jian Yin - 16 points
2nd ITA Alessandra Sensini - 23 points
3rd AUS Jessica Crisp - 26 points
4th ESP Marina Alabau - 28 points
5th NZL Barbara Kendall - 32 points


The Star fleet had a long day on the water, despite this they only managed to sail one race, and have now completed four. Set for an early start to racing at midday the sailors on course area E (Star and Tornado) found their racing held up while the Committee boat recovered from a potential sinking.

Finally underway at 3:40pm in the afternoon, Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams returned their poorest race yet, coming home in 11th and slipping back to 6th place overall in a day which saw much shuffling of positions on the leader board.

Points remain tight at the top and the Kiwis are only five points behind the Polish pair who have taken the lead today. The last class to get underway at the Games regatta, the Stars will see plenty more water under the bridge before the medal race next Thursday.

Read Carl Williams' blog for his view of the day's racing.

Star top six (provisional) after 4 races

1st POL Mateusz Kusznierewicz & Dominik Zycki - 21 points
2nd FRA Xavier Rohart & Pascal Rambeau - 22 points
3rd SWE Fredrik Loof & Anders Ekstrom - 23 points
4th GER Marc Pickel & Ingo Borkowski - 25 points
5th USA John Dane & Austin Sperry - 26 points
6th NZL Hamish Pepper & Carl Williams - 26 points


Just one race was sailed for the Laser Radial fleet in today’s conditions which were at the other end of the extreme to what’s been seen during the opening week of the Olympic sailing event.

Jo Aleh wasn’t able to continue her streak of 2nd places finishing 14th in today’s race. After today Aleh lies 3rd overall, just one point behind Anna Tunnicliffe of the USA.

Click here for Jo Aleh's own view of the day's racing.

The Laser Radials will be back on the water on Monday.

Laser Radial top five (provisional) after 6 races

1st LTU Gintare Volungeviciute - 17 points
2nd USA Anna Tunnicliffe - 23 points
3rd NZL Jo Aleh - 24 points
4th CHN Lijia Xu - 26 points
5th FRA Sarah Steyaert - 37 points


Back in form after suffering at the mercy of Qingdao’s light and shifty wind over recent races, Andrew Murdoch finished 5th in his only race of the day – race six for the 43 strong Laser fleet. The improved result improves his overall standing in the fleet and the 26 year old gains one place to 12th overall.

Murdoch was disappointed that just one race was sailed today, three were scheduled but course officials struggled with sea conditions and had difficulty setting courses and getting the fleet started.

Laser top five (provisional) after 6 races

1st GBR Paul Goodison - 34 points
2nd SLO Vasilij Zbogar - 37 points
3rd ARG Julio Alsogaray - 38 points
4th FRA Jean Baptiste Bernaz - 38 points
5th SWE Rasmus Myrgren - 38 points

12th NZL Andrew Murdoch - 56 points

Yachting New Zealand

ISAF Olympic website results Clicking on a race gives more information on weather, course and mark rounding positions.

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