Igrzyska Olimpijskie 2012, Londyn

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Wyścig medalowy - niedziela. Wielki finał

Ben Ainslie jest mistrzem olimpijskim w klasie Finn.

Informacja od Roberta Deaves'a IFA

After what he has described as the hardest week of his life, Ben Ainslie (GBR) took the overall lead in the Finn class for the first time today to take the gold medal in the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. The leader all week, Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) trailed Ainslie at every mark to lose his stranglehold on the gold. The bronze finally went to Jonathan Lobert (FRA) after winning the medal race.

The whole sailing world was on the edge of its seat for 30 agonising minutes as the Finn fleet duked it out for the medals and left everyone waiting right until the thrilling ending. None of the medals were decided until the final stages of the thrilling last leg

Høgh-Christensen had the advantage over Ainslie out of the start forcing the Brit to tack off to the right, the normally unfavoured side. The left has been favoured all week, but Ainslie through luck or judgement found a shift back to be ahead of the Dane at the top mark, though both were deep in the fleet. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) led from Jonathan Lobert FRA) at the top mark.

The puffy condition enabled Ainslie to fly down the first downwind to round in second behind Lobert. As the wind went lighter Høgh-Christensen tacked off to the right and Ainslie followed. It was nearly his undoing. The two dropped back to ninth and tenth in the race. As Lobert extended away from the fleet, on the final beat, the left side came in big and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), the only other man who could take gold, made a spectacular recovery to round in third. He was one place from taking gold as the fleet approached the final downwind mark before the short reach to the finish. Unfortunately he pushed too hard, picked up a penalty and after doing his turns was back in fifth and out of the medals.

Ainslie had stuck to Høgh-Christensen. Being so far back in the fleet all he could do was make sure he stayed in front. He stayed there to the finish to claim the gold medal to the deafening roars of the local crowd.

It had been a suspense filled race, made even worse by the unstable puffy winds, with sailors moving up and down the fleet, and they all kept us guessing to the very end. It was a made for TV thriller.

Ainslie said, “It was really nerve racking. It was a really tense race. There was a lot at stake in really difficult conditions. I was just really glad to come through it. PJ sailed really well after a great series. Jonas as well . They both sailed so well, especially Jonas who had one of the best series I've ever seen, so to come back was big relief.”

“The plan today was just to try and attack Jonas a bit in the start and he did a good job defending that. Then we had a split up the first beat. I'd done a bit of tuning and I thought the right was good and thankfully t worked out for me but it was very tight.”

“It's just an amazing feeling and big thanks to everything who has supported me over the years. >From being a kid down in Cornwall, to my time in the Finn class, I have really enjoyed every minutes of it. It's fantastic.”

A disappointed Høgh-Christensen was upbeat about his performance. “I did what I wanted to do but just didn't go my way. I got the start I wanted and got in the perfect position and squeezed him off the to the right. I totally followed my plan.”

“Unfortunately the right paid for the first time this week. Ben put a cover on me then, probably too tight. At one point PJ had the gold.”

“I am pretty happy with silver. I have lost by the smallest margin possible. Of course that's good fun and great for the sport. But its just a shame as I did what I wanted to do. Looking back at the week there's a couple of races where you can gain same pints, like the capsize, of course. I had the gold in for hands and just couldn’t materialise it.”

“I'ts a great achievement to win a medal. I think we've prepared really well for this Olympics and we have a pretty good game plan and followed it all week. And its seemed to work out.”

Lobert commented, “It was a crazy race and a very difficult one. I said I would do my own race and and I would try to win it if I could and try not to make any mistakes and I did that. I dinn't see what happened to PJ because I was already on the last reach. I heard shouting behind.”

“When I started the second lap I was already in a medal position. P J was far behind but got this magic shift on the left and came back, so I decided to make sure I won the medal race and then this happens.”

“I think this is good for the sport because we are always sailing long races so far out and as you see in this type of racing a lot can happen. I think it's something we should look at more for the future. It's a new game. Today for me it was good, sometimes it not so good but anything can happen. So I think its much more exciting for TV.”

“Jonas sailed amazingly this week. I was really surprised that he was so good. And I was also a little bit surprised than Ben was not so good. But in the end they are the two best guys on the water and I am happy to share the podium with them as I had no chance to be any better this week.”

“Now I will take a small break then I would be really pleased to join an AC team. We tried with GreenCom but that died. So I'd like to join a proper team and try something new and learn and that would be very interesting. The slowly I will come back in the Finn for Rio.”

In winning gold Ainslie becomes the most decorate Olympic sailor of all time. It was watched by thousands in the sunshine invent Nothe. Thousands more were in the public access areas around it on on the live beach site And millions around the world also watched it. It probably had the largest TV audience of any sailing race in history. And if suspense and tension make good TV then this race had it all in bucket loads.

Great Britain has taken the Finn class gold medal for the fourth time running and with ample talented sailors to take up Ainslie's mantle this run isn't over yet.

Høgh-Christensen is the first Dane to take a Finn medal since Henning Wind in 1964, following of course Elvstrøm's three Finn golds

France wins the bronze again after Guillaume Florent won it in Qingdao, Lobert also repeating the feat in Weymouth by snatching it in the final race.

At the medal ceremony tonight the medals were presented by HRH The Princess Royal and the flowers were presented by HM King Constantine.

Photos by François Richard

More photo galleries here: http://www.finnclass.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=475:image-gallery-2012-olympics&catid=43:olympics&Itemid=266

Full results are mark roundings can be found here: http://www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/results_centre.php

Finn Focus at the Olympics - The Ben and Jonas Show

It's been brewing all week and has gone right down to the wire. The on-the-water – and sometimes off-the-water – battle between Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) and Ben Ainslie (GBR) will reach its exciting conclusion on Sunday when the Finn class medal race takes place.

The final showdown between Høgh-Christensen, the double world champion at his third Olympics, against Ainslie, the three time Olympic champion and six time Finn world champion, has ignited the worldwide press as they slaver over the prospect of the most momentous dinghy race in history.

There is a lot at stake. If you didn't know by now Ainslie is hunting for his fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal to become the most decorated Olympic sailor of all time, surpassing the original Great Dane Paul Elvstrøm's four gold medals between 1948 and 1960. There is also a slight sense that Høgh-Christensen is defending Elvstrøm's record and honour. Both are already all but guaranteed medals – the medal race will decide the colour.

Høgh-Christensen was the early pace setter when the Finn racing started last Sunday, winning the first three races to the backdrop of a shocked British audience concerned that their golden boy perhaps wasn't up to the job. Høgh-Christensen has led the competition from the first mark of the first race and still leads going into the medal race. A lot of questions were asked of Ainslie as to what was going on, but he didn't have the answer in the first half of the week. His answer finally came on both of the two final days of the opening series as he clawed back his points deficit and showed some of his true form to go into the medal race effectively level with the Great Dane Mk 2.

During the half-way stage lay day, something changed in Ainslie. He came back out with gritted teeth, looking determined to stop to the downward spiral. But it still wasn't easy, fighting his way back twice from lowly positions at the top mark. But that is what has made him famous, making incredible comebacks against adversity, and this is what was lacking in the first half of the week.

The best scorer in the second half of the week was in fact Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) with a 2,2,1,2 scoreline, lifting him to the bronze medal position. One of the best sailors in recent years he has never won a major championship but picked up a silver medal at the 2011 world championship and a bronze at the 2011 Olympic Test Event. He is no pushover.

Høgh-Christensen and Postma have also been vilified in the British press after the race eight mark touching incident – the Great Dane has even been marked as Public Enemy No 1 in the UK – but the disagreement appeared to be forgotten on Friday as a cheerier Ainslie moved within the vital two points of Høgh-Christensen, effectively cancelling any points advantage. It has set up a thrilling winner takes all scenario on Sunday, providing they finish within the top seven boats.


What can we expect from the medal race? Some pundits are already looking forward to an Ainslie trademark match race, but realistically this is unlikely to happen as they both need to keep half an eye on Postma.

In fact there will probably be two, or even three, races going on. The first will be between Høgh-Christensen and Ainslie as whoever is in front will no doubt cover the guy behind pretty tightly. Expect to see them start close together but sail their own races until it is under control.

Unless Postma decides to take a risk – and his style is to attack rather than defend – the second race will be for the bronze with him trying to protect his five point lead. On the water this means he needs to be within two places of Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and within three places of Vasilij Zbogar (SLO). Realistically Postma could inflict damage on one of his opponents and go for the gold, but to do it to both is a tall order while also protecting his position against three other boats, all eager to fill the gap should he falter.

The third race will be for seventh place, as in the words of Rafa Trujillo (ESP), currently in tenth overall, “No one wants to be last.”

So what are their chances? On paper, and before this week started, the wise money would be on Ainslie. His record in these situations is outstanding and no one else has got close to converting tense showdowns into convincing victories. But this week Høgh-Christensen has inflicted seven defeats on Ainslie out of 10 races. That is something to stop and think about. Ainslie may have turned it around in the second half of the week, but those defeats will have rubbed a sore wound in the three time Olympic champion's mental armour.

Also compare the indignantly angry Ainslie from Thursday against the outwardly calm and collected Høgh-Christensen. Two very different characters who thrive in different ways. Who will be more focussed on the job? Who will best survive the enormous pressure that both will be under?

Ainslie wasn't giving much away, “It's going to be a fascinating race; I'm really looking forward to it. It's hard to call tactics yet. It depend on the conditions and what sort of mood you are in when you get out of bed in the morning.

“It's going to be a very important race. It's a huge opportunity to race in front of a home crowd. Obviously there's a lot at stake but it is going to be fantastic.”

Høgh-Christensen was more open, “I am not expecting too much in the medal race. PJ is only 14 points behind Ben so if we go into a full out match race then PJ could actually go and win the Olympics. So we have to race. I hope he is set up for that as well. But you never know. That's what I hope. That would be the best for the sport and for the Olympics. We have both sailed well so far and whoever beats who is the fair winner. I've beaten him in seven races and he has beaten me in three. It's still close.”

“We talked before the regatta that the greatest thing would be to go into the medal race and be able to decide it yourself. And I am in that position, so I have just got to go out and sail my best. Luckily I have a good track record on the Nothe course. I won the first race and was leading the practice race, so I'll do what I can to win. I think I’ll focus on my own race and knowing Ben he'll probably try something but he can't try too much because we still have to race so PJ doesn't win.”

“I'm really looking forward to the medal race. It will be very exciting. It will be whoever beats who so it will be an epic battle. That is what we have here and why I love racing.”

Assuming Høgh-Christensen and Ainslie will fight for the gold and silver, there is a four way fight for the bronze. There is only so much Postma can control so most likely he is going to have to sail his own race.

Lobert won the silver at the 2011 Olympic Test Event; Kljakovic Gaspic has won two European Finn titles; Zbogar has already won two Olympic medals in the Laser class. All are extremely competitive sailors and with such a small points gaps between the four, nothing is certain.

Lobert put his slant on it. “There are a lot of us close behind the first two so I'm going to have to pull out all the stops for the medal race. The medal race is different as it is shorter and the wind has a big affect. So I'll have to play the winning hand as I have nothing to lose. It will be bronze or nothing.”

Whatever happens out on the water on Sunday afternoon, the conditions here this week have been exactly what sailing has needed to improve its image. The world has finally seen sailors as athletes, and perhaps finally understood the physical and technical demands of the sport. There have been strong winds, big waves, agony of sailors and pain of defeat. Viewers have watched as sailors have stretched every muscle and sinew for that extra point of speed, seen the extreme boat handing skills required to keep the boats upright and lived the challenge of winning an Olympic medal. It has been a breath of fresh air.

So far it has all been positive news. Sunday's medal race though could well be the sailing event of the year. Don't miss it.

The Finn medal race is scheduled to start at 14.00

Photos by François Richard

More photo galleries here: http://www.finnclass.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=475:image-gallery-2012-olympics&catid=43:olympics&Itemid=266

Full results are mark roundings can be found here: http://www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/results_centre.php

Dzień piąty (piątek), dwa wyścigi (9 i 10).

Wyścig dziewiąty: wygrał Pieter-Jan Postma przed Vasilijem Zbogarem i Jonathanem Lobertem.
Dwaj faworyci regat: Ben Ainslie zajął 6 miejsce a jego rywal, prowadzący w regatach Jonas Hogh-Christensen miejsce piąte.
Wyścig dziesiąty: temperatura tylko 16 stopni, wiatr 11 kts z kierunku 210. Po ponad godzinnej fantastycznej walce wygrywa z dużą przewagą Ben Ainslie przed Pieterem Postmą i Jonasem Christensenem. Przewaga duńczyka maleje do 2 punktów. Jonas ma 26 a Ben 28 punktów. Wszystko teraz rozstrzygnie sie w niedziele w wyścigu medalowym.

Piotr Kula zajmując miejsca w wyścigach odpowiednio 14 i 16-te po dziesięciu wyścigach zajmuje w regatach 16 miejsce. Niestety nie popłynie w wyscigu medalowym.

Oto co powiedział po wyścigu:

Piotr Kula, Finn: (oryg. Zagle) W ostatnim wyścigu trzeba było uważać na prąd spychający nas w stronę statku komisji. Problem w tym, że to była właśnie strona preferowana w tych warunkach, więc trzeba było wziąć precyzyjnie poprawkę na to przy starcie. Zrobiłem to dobrze, bo mój start był prawie perfekcyjny. Wyjechałem też dobrze – długim halsem w morze. To jest optymalne, bo pozwala uniknąć dodatkowych manewrów i płynąć na świeżym wietrze. Na górnym znaku byłem wysoko – ok. 10. pozycji – i potem cały czas już w okolicach tej „10” żeglowałem. Straciłem trochę na drugim kółku, rywale popłynęli bardziej ryzykownie i to się im opłacało. Niestety, za późno zacząłem dobrze pływać i dla mnie to już koniec regat w tych igrzyskach…

Informacja otrzymana od Roberta Deaves'a

Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) has led the Finn class at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition from the very first mark. He will go into the medal race on Sunday with a two point lead over defending Olympic champion Ben Ainslie (GBR). After the best showing on Friday, Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) moves up to the bronze medal position. The gold medal will come from one of these three.

In practice this means that whoever out of Høgh-Christensen and Ainslie finish ahead of the other wins the gold medal providing they are in the top seven boats. Postma can mathematically win gold but needs to put at least six boats between himself and both the others. Realistically that is unlikely to happen, so the gold is really down to the Dane and the Brit.

With tempers and egos bubbling over, the Finn fleet set out for the final opening series day. Høgh-Christensen (DEN) held a scant three point lead over defending Olympic champion Ainslie. After a difference of opinion between them yesterday everyone expected fireworks on the water, but it didn't quite turn out that way.

Of the two of them, the Dane made the best of the start of race nine and, with the fleet heading to the left yet again, the pin end was bunched up. Høgh-Christensen did well on the left, forcing Ainslie to tack off, with Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) doing well on the right. As they approached the top mark Ainslie had trouble finding a clean lane and trailed round in ninth. Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) led round from Postma, Brendan Casey (AUS) and then Høgh-Christensen.

By the gate, Postma had worked out a 50 metre lead and he comfortably extended away to win his first race of the series. Behind him there was a tense battle with bronze medal positioned Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) making a huge gain on the downwind to move from 19th to fifth at the gate. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) also gained to second with Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) close behind in third.

On the final beat Postma pulled further away while Zbogar found his way into second. Nothing much else changed in the closing stages except Kljakovic Gaspic moved into fourth from Christensen while Ainslie took three places on the final downwind to finish one place behind the Dane.

The net result of this was the Høgh-Christensen had extended his lead by one crucial point on Ainslie. Kljakovic Gaspic was still in the bronze medal position but the points were now really tight. The last opening series race was going to be crucial for all of them. There was also the not so small matter of making the cut for the medal race and some sailors were looking rather precarious.

For the final opening series race Postma and Ainslie started well by the pin while Høgh-Christensen was forced to tack away. Postma went furthest left and came back just above Ainslie, while Høgh-Christensen was struggling out to the right. As they approached the top mark it was clear that the left was still paying and Postma rounded first from Ainslie, Greg Douglas (CAN), Mitakis, Rafa Trujillo (ESP), and Høgh-Christensen.

While Ainslie soon passed Postma and just sailed away from the fleet, Høgh-Christensen put on a surge to pass four boats and round the gate in second, but nearly a minute behind Ainslie. On the second beat, Ainslie slowed up for a while and looked to be waiting for the Dane. He would have liked to have one boat between then to make life easier in the medal race. But Postma found a way past and Ainslie carried on. Ainslie rounded the top mark with a 90 metre lead and led down to the finish.

Postma was not about to make the same mistake twice and held onto his second place, while Trujillo briefly threatened Høgh-Christensen on the final run. The single point was just as important to Postma as it was to Høgh-Christensen.

At the finish Ainslie led by a considerable margin while Postma held on to second. Høgh-Christensen had to settle for third with Trujillo fourth. Casey sailed his best race of the series with a fifth but it was too late to make the medal race. However Trujillo’s fourth place was enough to make the cut, relegating Deniss Karpak to 11th.

Trujillo must be the unluckiest person in Weymouth. Over the course of the week he has suffered numerous random gear failings. His mainsheet, halyard, rudder and kicking strap have all failed at key moments causing him to lose all hope of a second medal to add to the silver won in 2004 in Athens. “Making the medal race is not really any consolation for all that has happened this week after all the work we have done in the past years. But three top tens in three consecutive Games is not a bad result. We have checked everything 100 times before the Games. I have never lost a rudder upwind before.”

“But if it's not meant to be then it's not meant to be. I would say that this is the best venue we have ever had for an Olympic Games. Also the level of the class is higher than ever. And the medal race is going to be a really interesting. There will be a battle for the gold, for the bronze and for seventh as no one will want to be the last. I will try my hardest and try to end the week on a high point, despite what has happened to me.”

Lobert said, “I think a lot can happen in the medal race. It's pretty tight actually just five points, so I can do it. And the other good point is that all the guys in the medal race can win it. So everybody will try to play their games. I think I have an advantage on the short course. Usually I am pretty good in the medal race. I kind of like them. It's very intense and short, so well see. I think Ben will try to put the pressure on Jonas but he has to take care as well with PJ. So Ben has to put Jonas behind him but he also has to do a good race. That's why it's pretty open I think. It's going to be very exciting.”

“I have had a good week so tomorrow I will relax, enjoy the Games and watch the other competitions so that I am in good shape for Sunday.”

After closing the gap to the leader to just two points, Ainslie said, “I was pretty frustrated yesterday, but when you get out there you have to put it behind you and sail smart. It's taken me all week to find the turbo button and get out in front. It's good to get some more points up and even things up. The overall points were very close so it was important for me that the Dutch sailor overtook the Dane, and finally he got past. The last two days have been huge, to draw back those points.”

Høgh-Christensen added, “It was a tough day today but I thought I did quite well. I didn't have the best downwind in the first race but I managed a to get a fifth. I had a good pin end start and after a couple of minutes I could tack up and tack on Ben and send him out the right when he wanted to go left. I managed to pack Ben down the fleet into the teens. But we rounded the top mark in no pressure and they rounded in lots of pressure right behind us and he caught up to finish sixth.”

“In the second race I didn't get a great start but managed to fight my way back to second, but unfortunately I lost PJ on the second beat. But that's what happens. PJ is sailing fast.”

On the tactical move by Ainslie on the final beat. “Ben stopped for a bit but didn't do anything. I think he was thinking about doing something but it was probably too big a risk for him to try and put boats in between us. It was too close. He would have to had come so close that when we rounded the windward mark I would have an opportunity to pass him down the run. So I think he bailed on his plan. He got a little lucky that PJ got in front of me so now it's who beats who in the medal race.”

So, into the medal race on Sunday Høgh-Christensen will lead Ainslie by two points while Ainslie leads Postma by 14 points. Crucially, they have a 21 point and 19 point lead over Lobert and Kljakovic Gaspic, which means they are all but assured a medal, just the colour needs to be decided.

Postma meanwhile has a five point lead over Lobert and Kljakovic Gaspic with Zbogar just two points behind. The medals will all come from these six sailors.

The medal race will be sailed in front of the Nothe spectator area on Sunday at 14.00.

Photos by François Richard

More photo galleries here: http://www.finnclass.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=475:image-gallery-2012-olympics&catid=43:olympics&Itemid=266

Full results are mark roundings can be found here: http://www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/results_centre.php

Dzień czwarty, dwa wyścigi.

Informacja otrzymana od Roberta Deaves'a

Finn Focus at the Olympics - Ainslie strikes back but Høgh-Christensen still leads
Ben Ainslie (GBR) returned to winning ways on the fourth day for Finns at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition in Weymouth with a first and a third to narrow the gap on regatta leader Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) to just three points. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) moved up to third. The second race of the day was won by Rafa Trujillo (ESP).

It was a big day out on Weymouth Bay South course with big winds, big waves and bigger stakes. For Ainslie it was crucial that he started to narrow the points gap and he did just that. Today was the day that he had to make his move on Høgh-Christensen before it was too late. The Brit was fast running out of races to reverse the points score and he came out looking more confident and dominant that at any time this week.

He owned the start of race seven, locking into the dangerous pin end position early and controlling it with perfection until the gun. The Dane was just to windward and just a bit back from the line, but his problem was the Polish boat that was ahead and on his wind. Piotr Kula (POL) was OCS, but he damaged Høgh-Christensen's start enough so that he had to tack to get clear air.

Ainslie controlled the left along with Rafa Trujillo (ESP) and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) and they rounded the first mark in this order with Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) in fourth and then Høgh-Christensen.

With big wind and big waves the reach to the wing was a spray filled sleigh ride. The Dane slid into fourth, and then after rounding the mark dived low to get some separation from the leading bunch. Then disaster struck as he capsized on a big wave. He was up and sailing again in 30 seconds but looked clearly rattled as he rejoined the race in 15th.

At the front Ainslie and Postma were battling for supremacy downwind in the big conditions, rounding opposite gates. Postma briefly got in front of Ainslie at the next top mark but Ainslie soon passed him downwind to extend and win his first race of the week by some 20 seconds from Postma. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) crossed in third with Tapio Nirkko (FIN) in fourth. Third overall Jonathan Lobert (FRA) was fifth.

Høgh-Christensen was back up to sixth at the top mark but dropped two on the downwind to cross in eighth. Early performer Trujillo had gear problems downwind and dropped to 15th at the finish.

The British breathed a collective sign of relief. Ainslie had turned the corner and put a bullet on the scoreboard. More importantly for Ainslie, Høgh-Christensen now had to count his seventh from Monday so the points gap was down to just four.

Onto race eight and Høgh-Christensen was back on the offensive, winning the favoured pin end of the line, though he had Trujillo just to windward off him. Ainslie started slightly further up the line but was soon forced to tack off to find a lane. The fleet again favoured the left side with Ainslie heading furthest left when the leaders crossed back.

Round the top mark Trujillo led from Høgh-Christensen, Postma, Nirkko and Ainslie. The Brit went low on the reach and moved up to fourth and then also overtook Postma on the run. At the gate the top four boats rounded the same mark within 10 seconds of each other with a nice gap on the fleet.

Soon after the rounding Ainslie did a penalty turn and lost ground. Høgh-Christensen took a hitch to the right and tacked on Ainslie's wind. Again the fleet went all the way to the port layline. Trujillo held onto his lead to round ahead with Høgh-Christensen and Postma holding a small lead over Ainslie.

The final downwind to the finish was a thrilling battle. Høgh-Christensen immediately made inroads into Trujillo's lead while Ainslie tried to find a route past Postma so he could attack the Dane. But it was Postma who made the first move going wide and then crossing on front of Høgh-Christensen and Ainslie.

Round the last mark it was Trujillo and Postma with Ainslie just sliding round the mark ahead of Høgh-Christensen. Nothing else changed by the finish with the 2004 Silver medalist Trujillo winning the race from Postma. Ainslie had taken around 70 metres about off regatta leader Høgh-Christensen on the run to inflict his second victory over him in one day and further close the points gap.

After a third and seventh today Kljakovic Gaspic has moved up to thr bronze medal position. “It was hard day, windy but a simple race, keeping left was important. For me wasn't easy but I pulled hard for such a result, and in the end I am happy. Tomorrow it will be all about keeping the game simple, sailing fast and pushing hard.”

Lobert, now down one place in fourth, said, “It was a rough day. There was a lot of tension this morning. I was quite nervous. I was trying to manage it and in the first race I succeeded a little bit because I had some good downwinds and managed to finish fifth. In the second I had a terrible start and then it was just too hard to come back. So not so good a day for me. The wind was really up and down today, but the left side was still generally favoured. There is still everything to do. With two more races a lot can happen so we'll keep on pushing and we'll see tomorrow and I hope to be a bit more relaxed.”

Postma had his best day yet with two second places. “The wind was quite up and down. Sometimes 10-12 knots sometimes up to 18 knots. Especially on the downwinds you had to really look. Sometimes some people would catch a gust and 50 metres ahead the boats wouldn't have it. It was really tricky.”

“In the first race I had a good start, sailed to the left side and it was a steady race. I had a fight with Ben. I passed him on the second upwind and he passed me on the last run on a gust. In the second race I had a bad start but on the upwind I caught a nice gust when I was more to the left and I caught up a lot. Then I caught up to second on the reach and had a good downwind.”

“The last downwind was good. In the last part I didn't make the right plan to pass Rafa. At first I went down and then I went up but missed one wave. But I passed Jonas very nicely.”

“Tomorrow I want to do better than today. I haven't showed everything I have yet. I have the feeling so I really want to push tomorrow." Nervous? “I don't feel nervous now, but tomorrow I might feel a bit nervous and I think that's fine.”

Dan Slater is still in with a chance at a medal, sitting in eighth place. “It was not a very good day for me today. I had an all right first one but not a very good second one. It was just frustrating. We are sailing in three knots of current and a washing machine of waves so it's tough. It's a one way track. But I'm still alive.”

“They've done a fantastic job here. The facilities on shore and everything is just great. And the starts and race management have been fantastic. It's just a shame we are sailing so far away, several miles out on a one way track. Whatever order you start off from the pin is pretty well the order we have rounded the top mark in. PJ had a great day today and I just need a day like that tomorrow to get myself back into contention. I can definitely do it. My pace is pretty good. If it's a one way track you just have to fight for the pin and you actually have take a few risks in my position.”

A fourth and a fifth leaves Nirkko in seventh place just 14 points off the medals. “In the first race I didn't get a very good start so I had to tack away behind the whole fleet, so I was on the wrong side and struggled on the first upwind. After that I eased the clutch and just let it go. The reach and the first downwind were good. Nothing much happened on the second upwind but the second downwind was excellent. I think I got better pressure and was a bit more on the inside inside.” Nirkko went from 11th to fourth on the run, after rounding the top mark 21st.

“In the second race I stared second boat from the pin. Jonas has trouble getting past the pin and I got slowed by it and then Rafa came rolling over both of us. But then I just eased the travelled and footed under them and banged the left corner and came back with good speed and rounded fifth and managed to keep that.”

“Tomorrow it's quite tight. I will try to close the gap to third. It looks like Jonas and Ben are gone but I believe there are still a couple of guys that could have a difficult day tomorrow, but I need to sail a good day. After tomorrow I want to be within reach of the bronze medal and I think it's possible.”

Høgh-Christensen's lead has dropped from 10 points to just three points but he remains optimistic. “I got a good start but unfortunately the Polish guy started on top of me and he was over the line and that ruined my start. I wanted to go left and I had a good lane but I had to tack off because of the Polish and that ruined the first beat for me. I got up to fifth at the top mark and caught up with the front guys on the reach and then in one moment of not being on top of the boat, I flipped to windward. It was one of the expensive ones. Then there was a lot of catching up. I really pushed hard and caught up a lot so happy to get back to eighth.”

“In the second race I did what I wanted, and got the start I wanted at the right end and had a good lane. I didn't sail a good second run and lost PJ and Ben, which wasn't very good. It was down to speed and lack of pressure. Ben sat on me quite a lot so there were times when I didn't have much pressure. Then I had two bad waves.”

“Tomorrow I need to get two good races in, and do what we've done for the past four days. I think I’ve sailed well and done what I've wanted to do. I was a bit unlucky today.”

Was it nerves today? “I don't think I was more nervous this morning that any other day. But you're always a bit nervous at the Olympics. We have a very detailed plan from when we wake up to when we go to bed and we've been following that plan and it seems to work and it takes a lot of the pressure off.”

There is one more day of the opening series left before Sunday's double points non-discardable medal race. Today was proof, if we needed it, that it will be a fight all the way to the finish.

Ainslie was more aggressive today, appeared to be faster upwind, made fewer mistakes and was blisteringly fast downwind. He seems to have overcome the lacklustre performance of the first three days and refocussed on the job in hand. Høgh-Christensen by contrast made several mistakes and the capsize in race seven may hang over him in the days that remain. Two more opening series races remain and today's change in fortunes has set up a thrilling match between these two amazing sailors. We can't wait.

Races nine and ten are scheduled for 12.00 Friday, on Weymouth Bay South course.

Photos by Francois Richard

More photo galleries here: http://www.finnclass.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=475:image-gallery-2012-olympics&catid=43:olympics&Itemid=266

Full results are mark roundings can be found here: http://www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/results_centre.php

Dzień trzeci, dwa wyścigi.

piąty wyścig wygrał Jonas Hoegh-Christensen przed Zachem Railey i Tapio Nirkko. Piotr Kula był 13-ty a Ben Ainslie 4-ty. W szóstym biegu zwyciężył Dennis Karpak przed Jonasem i Benem Ainslie. Piotr Kula w szósty biegu zajął 20 miejsce i jest po sześciu wyścigach na siedemnastej pozycji.

Wyniki na stronie ISAF - kliknij ten link

Informacja otrzymana od Roberta Deavesa.
Finn Focus at the Olympics - No stopping Jonas Hoegh-Christensen

Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) has again extended on the Finn fleet with a first and second on day three at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. Ben Ainslie (GBR) moves up to second after a better day, but has still be beat the Great Dane after six races. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) drops one place to third. The second race of the day was won by Deniss Karpak (EST).

Tuesday was crunch day for the Finns. Going into the half way stage of the regatta, Ben Ainslie (GBR) needed to make some points back before the lay day on Wednesday, while regatta leader Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) was looking to consolidate his points lead and not do anything silly.

Race five was dominated by the Høgh-Christensen from start to finish. Starting in the pack, but away from the pin-end boat he hit yesterday he soon pulled ahead of the fleet and with Postma suffering gear failure on the far left, the Dane steered a confident course up the favoured left side of the course to round the top mark with a small lead over Rafa Trujillo (ESP), Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Zach Railey (USA), while several boats overstood in the strong tide. Ainslie had started in the middle and was soon in difficulty having to tack away to clear his air.

After a screaming reach towards the wing mark as the wind piped up, there was a fascinating dual between the leading bunch on the run, though Høgh-Christensen was starting to pull away from the fleet. Railey, the 2008 Silver medalist has not had a great regatta so far so was also looking for improvements today. He had moved up to second at the gate, sailing past the normally faster Ainslie. Ainslie rounded behind and had to tack away to find a lane further to the right. Høgh-Christensen seemed confident on the left and held his course before coming back with a nice lead into the second top mark.

The wind faded on the final offwind legs but Høgh-Christensen extended his lead, while Railey maintained second from Trujillo. Nirkko and Ainslie passed Trujillo and Ainslie looked to be closing on Nirkko but ran out of track. At the finish it was Høgh-Christensen, Railey, Nirkko and Ainslie, with Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) staging an amazing recovery from 19th at the first mark to cross fifth.

Ainslie was now firmly on the backfoot and needed something special in race six. He started well, winning the pin after Postma returned and controlled the lane to the favoured left side of the course and looked to be coming into the top mark well placed. Meanwhile Høgh-Christensen was forced to tack off to find clear air and trailed on the right. However many boats overstood the top mark and first round was Trujillo from Ioannis Mitakis (GRE), Nirkko and Høgh-Christensen. Ainslie rounded in seventh.

Trujillo led down the run with Deniss Karpak (EST) moving up to second from Nirkko and Ainslie, but by the gate Karpak had made big gains to round in first from Nirkko, Ainslie and Høgh-Christensen. The Dane was forced to tack away again after he had been passed by Ainslie for the first time this week. However it was all change on the final upwind with Høgh-Christensen splitting from the fleet and making places all the way up to second to round behind Karpak. Trujillo rounded third from Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) while Ainslie slipped to fifth.

Karpak extended down the run to lead into the finish and win by nearly a minute. Høgh-Christensen rounded in second but Ainslie had caught up for a thrilling spray filled chase to the line, but the Dane held on for second with Ainslie third, Trujillo fourth and Zbogar fifth.

Despite dropping one place to third, Lobert said, “I am pretty happy so far. Third overall after three days means I am still in the game. We still have four races to go and so I will take it day by day, race by race like I have done since the beginning. And I always try my hardest to catch up the most boats I can when I am behind. Today I was 15th and 17th at the first mark which is not so good.” Lobert recovered to place 6th and 7th today.

“The racing is very tight. The wind today was a bit strange, very up and down and sometimes there was some oil on the water. On the first upwinds I didn't know exactly what to do. I was just looking around and missed most of the shifts. Then slowly, slowly I came back during the race and so I am pretty happy with that.”

“I want to improve my first upwind. If I can be top six round the first mark I have good chance to win the race, like I almost did yesterday. I maybe have to take more risks on the start line. In the first race today the Greek was just above me and he was OCS. I thought we were pretty high but I held back. But I also need to improve my tactics. I need to have a better plan for the first upwind, as most of the time I don't have a plan and not sure what to do. I just try for the start and then react to where I am, which is not so good.”

Postma described his unfortunate gear failure. “The wind was left and you had to be left and win the pin end. I was going a bit low, going for speed and I wanted to tighten the outhaul a bit more so I pulled it with some force and broke it. I took down the sail, fixed it but then the fleet was gone.”

“I was calm at the time. These things happen. Then I felt a bit disappointed, then a bit angry. Now I just feel focussed. We have a rest day to gain all the energy back and am looking forward to getting on with the racing.”

The 2008 Silver medalist Railey had his best day so far with a 2, 8 to rise to 12th overall. He said, “Today was better. I did nothing different but just had the shifts go the way I thought. It been a hard to get the wind correct but I am still fighting hard. I just need to have good races. I am in quite a hole from the first few races but I will not quit. Looking forward to a day off watch some other races on TV and recover my legs.”

Høgh-Christensen said, "In both races I wanted to go left. So starting close to the pin was the plan but with a bit less risk. Both starts were good, but I thought I was over in the second race and went back. The reason being that I was on line with PJ and he went back. Apparently non of us were over. I came back fast and managed to hit some good shifts to get back to fourth. Then I gained a couple more and I am super content with that. Another good day."

"You have got to take your breaks when you can. I am an old man in the fleet and I definitely need a rest, a big steak and ready up for Thursday.”

Ainslie commented on his performance, “It's tough. Sometimes these things work out, but unfortunately for me, this week it hasn't. I was really frustrated yesterday but it has been better today.”

“He [Høgh-Christensen] is sailing really well. He is a good sailor and a big guy. He is having the regatta of his life. He likes upwind and for whatever reason he is nailing it every time. If I keep pushing hard he might slip up. It's a difficult place to sail here, but he keeps nailing it. He is sailing well and at some point the tables have to turn. He's on fire.”

The Finns now have a rest day - and a day to think about how they will approach the final four opening series races on Thursday and Friday. While one man will be trying to relax and keep his head clear, another will be evaluating what has gone so wrong. Ainslie may be in the silver medal position but he has openly admitted anything but gold would be a disaster. And after six races he sits ten points behind the Dane with a little bomb on his scorecard waiting to be ignited if he has another bad day.

Høgh-Christensen is producing the type of performance that everyone expected Ainslie to produce. Some great race wins, all round speed dominance and some incredible comebacks.

What does Ainslie now have to do to turn this around? And does he know the answer himself? How do you respond to someone sailing the way Høgh-Christensen has done? This is an unsual situation for Ainslie as normally it is the rest of the fleet working out how to respond to Ainslie's dominance. It will be fascinating to watch it play out.

After the rest day for the Finns on Wednesday, races seven and eight are scheduled for 12.00 Thursday, on Weymouth Bay South course.

Photos by Francois Richard

More photo galleries here: http://www.finnclass.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=475:image-gallery-2012-olympics&catid=43:olympics&Itemid=266

Full results are mark roundings can be found here: http://www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/results_centre.php

Dzień drugi, dwa wyścigi.

W trzecim wyścigu Piotr zajął 17 miejsce. W wyścigu czwartym 16 miejsce.

Informacja otrzymana od Roberta Deavesa.
Finn Focus at the Olympics day two - Hoegh-Christensen extends after day of drama

The Finn man of the moment Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) extended his lead on day two in the Finn class at the 2012 Olympics in Weymouth, and, while Jonathan Lobert (FRA) moves up to second, there is a four way tie for third place. Race wins went to the Dan Slater (NZL) and Daniel Birgmark (SWE).

It was another windy and beautiful day in Weymouth with sunny skies and 14-16 knots of breeze in the morning. The Finns sailed two great races in the Weymouth Bay West course and there was plenty of drama to keep the viewers happy.

Race three belonged to Dan Slater (NZL). After having to wait a long time to have his national selection for these Games confirmed, he has proven his ability with a stunning performance in testing conditions to dominate and win race three by nearly 30 seconds. He rounded the top mark with a narrow lead from Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) and Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) and extended on every leg.

By the bottom mark Mitakis had dropped down the fleet while overall leader Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) had climbed to second, with Postma in third. Ben Ainslie (GBR) climbed up to fourth on the run but lost places upwind again and finally finished in sixth. The top three remained the same with Slater extending to win by half a minute. Third overall Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) recovered from 14th at the top mark to seventh at the finish.

The fourth race was full of drama. First Høgh-Christensen hit the pin end on the start and after rerounding headed out right to clear his wind, but in last place Ainslie also had a bad start and at the top mark the two regatta leaders were 14th and 21st. At the front Tapio Nirkko (FIN) rounded first from Daniel Birgmark (SWE) and Rafa Trujillo (ESP). Nirkko then capsized at the downwind mark, though recovered his boat quickly and rejoined the race in sixth.

Then Trujillo also capsized after his rudder popped off. The new leader was Jonathan Lobert (FRA) who had moved into second on the downwind. Lobert held onto the lead round the next windward mark but the fleet had compressed slightly with Høgh-Christensen making the biggest gain to round in seventh. He had taken more than a minute from his deficit on the first leg to trail the new leader by just 30 seconds. Ainslie had dropped to 12th, another 30 seconds back. Two offwind legs remained to the finish, and it was a great test of stamina and strength, as well as a thrilling finish.

With the wind increasing to 18-19 knots Birgmark powered down the run and just sneaked round the leeward mark ahead of Lobert to scream down the final reach to take the winner's gun. Lobert crossed three second later with Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) another two seconds later in third. While Kljakovic Gaspic moved from 13th to ninth, neither Høgh-Christensen nor Ainslie could make any gains.

However a seventh for Høgh-Christensen was easily enough to retain the overall lead by eight points from Lobert, with Ainslie, Kljakovic Gaspic, Postma and Zbogar all on equal points, three points further back.

Nirkko said of his brief spell at the front, “Finally I got some of the big lines right and had good speed and rounded in the lead. I stretched out a bit until the downwind mark. I was hassling with the sheet and it slipped out of my hands and the boom went all the way out and, I think it was a combination of the position of the boat on the wave and heeling of the boat, I capsized to windward. Fortunately I had such a comfortable lead before that so when I got the boat up and started to sail again, the leaders were not too far away. I guess after a capsize a fifth place is all right. I just have to think about the points rather than the feeling it created.”

On his regatta so far, “Generally not really very good, but leading today gave me some confidence that I could be at the top. And after four races I am quite consistent so I've not had any bombs in the series so that's a good thing.”

Birgmark, the race four winner said, “It was not as shifty as yesterday. In the second race I got the shifts right, which I didn’t in the first when I went right early on and a big left shift came and I was almost last. It was too much distance to catch up. But I am very happy with my last downwind when I managed to pass Jonathan. He rounded the top mark just ahead and I was just in front at the downwind mark.”

“It was tough on the last reach to the finish but I had it under control. But the downwind was really interesting to just be in front for the mark rounding. It's a shame though that Tapio capsized while in the lead.”

Leader after four races, Høgh-Christensen said, “I am very happy so far. Today was actually a good day.”

“In the first race I didn’t know what was going to happen with the wind. There was big cloud coming down the race course and I thought it could go both ways so I decided to start in the middle and play it safe. I didn't get the greatest start but I played it safe and played the middle up the beat and rounded the windward mark in sixth or seventh. And then had a good downwind and got to second. So that was good.”

“Then in the second race I hit the pin end committee boat. It was really frustrating and a stupid, stupid mistake. It was a little bit of tide and a bit of bad timing. I had a chance to bail out at 20 seconds but didn’t take it, when I should have. I had to go round and do a turn and started way last and had to fight my way back up. I fought my way back to the top guys and was right next to them downwind and then passed them on the second beat so I was really happy with that. It was fantastic to come back like that, but I pushed really really hard and it felt good.”

On fitness, “I am probably not the strongest guy out there but strong enough, and luckily I have been in a couple of races where I have been far enough ahead to take it easy and save my energy for the next race.”

On the surprisingly poor results from the favourite, Ainslie. “I don't thin it's the wind. Ben dominated the worlds in Falmouth not more than three months ago in this much wind and more. Since then people have upped their game and I think sometimes you can have a good week and sometimes you don't but as I said earlier, knowing Ben he'll be fired up tomorrow and he'll come back like thunder so let's see what happens. He usually gets fired up when things aren't going well.”

On the forecast for moderate to strong breeze all week, “I think it shows off our sport in the best possible way and makes it interesting sailing and good fun to watch. So it couldn't be much better.”

Ainslie was in agreement with this. “I wasn't happy with my own performance. It will get me fired up for the rest of the week. It's a very fine line between success and failure at this level. I don't think I went the right way all day. Hopefully it will go a lot better.”

Races five and six are scheduled for 12.00 Tuesday, both on Weymouth Bay South course, with a rest day on Wednesday.

Photos by Francois Richard

More photo galleries here: http://www.finnclass.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=475:image-gallery-2012-olympics&catid=43:olympics&Itemid=266

Full results are mark roundings can be found here: http://www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/results_centre.php

Dzień pierwszy, dwa wyścigi.

Piotrek Kula DSQ w pierwszym wyścigu i 16-ty w drugim. Po dwóch wyścigach na 21 miejscu.

Oto co o pierwszym dniu regat pisze ojciec Piotra Jarosław Kula.

Po inauguracyjnym dniu żeglarskich zmagań olimpijskich w klasie Finn Piotr Kula plasuje się na 21. pozycji.

W pierwszym wyścigu zawodnikowi nie udało się osiągnąć mety, natomiast drugi pojedynek ukończył na 16. miejscu. - Miejmy zatem nadzieję, że swój limit pecha na igrzyskach wyczerpał i teraz będziemy widzieli już Piotra takiego, jakiego poznaliśmy ostatnio przy okazji Mistrzostw Świata - mówi Jarosław Kula.
Pierwszy dzień wyścigów w klasie Finn na Igrzyskach Olimpijskich za nami. Piotr świetnie rozpoczął swoją rywalizację. Po dobrym starcie i uważnej żegludze na pierwszym kursie pod wiatr, boję nr 1 minął jako szósty zawodnik floty. Wiał dość silny i porywisty wiatr.
Sędziowie, zgodnie z przepisami klasy Finn dopuścili w żegludze z wiatrem pompowanie. Po okrążeniu pierwszego znaku Piotr rzucił się do ataku. Pompując żaglem gnał z wiatrem i wyprzedził dwóch rywali choć sam też został wyprzedzony przez Bena Ainslie. Przed "bramą" na dole trasy był piąty i tak jak nam kibicom obiecał silnymi pociągnięciami za szoty pchał swego Finn do przodu chcąc przed nawrotem zyskać jeszcze jedno miejsce, aby płynąc drugą halsówkę kontrolować sytuację z przodu stawki. I wtedy zdarzyło się nieszczęście.
Chwilowe osłabnięcie siły wiatru, w żargonie żeglarskim nazywane "dziurą", spowodowało, w momencie gdy Piotr, po potężnym pociągnięciu za żagiel, wykonał ciałem rzut na burtę, aby wybrany grot przez kiwnięcie całą łodzią dodatkowo przyspieszył łódkę, że Piotra Finn wywrócił się na nawietrzną. Po postawieniu łódki starał się gonić rywali i na ostatnim trzecim kółku zbliżał się do środka stawki, gdy zdarzyło się kolejne nieszczęście, tym razem spowodowane sytuacją przed Piotrem. W trakcie okrążania ostatniego znaku kursowego, któryś rywal z przodu wykonał zwrot przez rufę mało precyzyjnie i jego łódź gwałtownie wyostrzyła. Płynący za nim zawodnik z Ukrainy, aby nie wpaść na rywala, gwałtownie skręcił tuż przed rozpędzonego Piotra, który nie miał dość czasu i nie dał już rady go ominąć. Doszło do kolizji co spowodowało, że Piotr nie ukończył wyścigu.
Ta cała sytuacja bardzo go zdeprymowała. Zawiedziony utratą dobrego miejsca i spotkanymi problemami nie był chyba w stanie zostawić za sobą problemów z pierwszego wyścigu i wystarczająco skoncentrować uwagę w wyścigu nr 2. Dodatkowo przed drugim wyścigiem, wbrew prognozom osłabł wiatr. Miało wiać tak jak w pierwszym: 15 - 16 węzłów i Piotr wraz z trenerem uznali, że osłabnięcie jest chwilowe, zostawiając na maszcie silnowiatrowy żagiel. Jednak, zmiana okazała się trwała i cały wyścig wiatr wiał z prędkością tylko około 11 węzłów. Ci, którzy zmienili żagiel skorzystali, a Piotr mimo walki i zajmowana przez prawie cały wyścig miejsc w okolicy 11. i 12., stracił zajmowaną pozycję na ostatnim pełnym kończąc wyścig 16.
Podobno w żeglarstwie regatowym nie wolno mówić o szczęściu, czy nieszczęściu, ale można chyba powiedzieć, że Piotr miał w swoim inauguracyjnym starcie trochę pecha. Miejmy zatem nadzieję, że swój limit pecha na igrzyskach wyczerpał i teraz będziemy widzieli już Piotra takiego, jakiego poznaliśmy ostatnio przy okazji Mistrzostw Świata.

Jarosław Kula


Przed nami drugi dzień rywalizacji. Trzeci wyścig regat olimpijskich rozpocznie się około godz. 14.00, a czwarty pojedynek planowany jest na godz. 15.30. Trzymamy kciuki za Piotr Kulę!

Źródło sport.pl

Informacja otrzymana od Roberta Deavesa.

It was perfect day for Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) as he won both races in the Finns on the opening day of the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, leading both from start to finish. Ben Ainslie (GBR) was second in both races and Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) was third in both races, but each of them had to fight hard for every place.

The Finns opened the sailing at the 2012 Games with a tricky and tough race on the Nothe course area, with a grandstand of 4,500 people cheering from the grassy bank beside the Nothe Fort. The 24 Finns, decked out in their Olympic coloured banners on the sails and hulls made for a very pretty picture against the stern backdrop of the Portland harbour wall and the Nothe Fort.

In race one Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) won the pin with Florian Raudaschl (AUT) just above him. Ben Ainslie (GBR) started mid line and then seemed to favour the right side of the course. With the wind gradually increasing from 11-12 knots up to around 16-17 knots and gusting a bit more, the 2012 Games had opened with tough hike-out upwind followed by a physically testing free pumping downwind leg. Given the often shifty nature of the wind on the Nothe course it was interesting to see that the fleet was almost evenly split across the course area going upwind.

Høgh-Christensen judged the first beat perfectly to lead round from Raudaschl and Ioannis Mitakis (GRE), who are both sailing in their first Olympics. He sped away downwind and was never really threatened to win the race by a margin of around 20 seconds. Raudaschl sailed well to stay near the front, though he finally slipped to sixth on the final downwind while Mitakis hung on for fourth.

Ainslie rounded in tenth but pulled up to third at the first gate with some superb downwind sailing. He went right on the second beat and again lost places back to sixth. He pulled back up to third on the next downwind, but Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) had found a way into second. Ainslie finally went left on the final beat and maintained his place, and then moved into second on the final downwind with Kljakovic Gaspic crossing in third.

Brendan Casey (AUS) had the misfortune to capsize while trying to recover from a bad first beat, and in climbing back into his boat caused the hull to separate from his deck and create a large leak into the inner compartments. He retired from the race. He said, “We are lucky it is this length of an event and I am confident I can come back from this result.”

The second race, sailed out in Weymouth Bay in slightly less wind, though still with Oscar flag up for free pumping, followed a similar format with Høgh-Christensen winning the pin again and sailing away from the fleet. He rounded the top mark with a 30 second lead over Ainslie in second. Casey rounded in third, but his makeshift repairs were not holding well and he slowed up and dropped to seventh as seawater found its way into his boat. Kljakovic Gaspic worked his way up to third on the second beat, but couldn't catch the two leaders with Høgh-Christensen holding on to a 19 second lead from Ainslie who was nearly a minute ahead of Kljakovic Gaspic at the finish. Ainslie had made inroads into Høgh-Christensen's lead but just couldn't quite catch him.

While there has been a lot of talk about Ainslie's chance to become the greatest sailing Olympian of all time - if he wins gold this week he will break the record held by Paul Elvstrøm - today people also started talking about Høgh-Christensen protecting that record for Denmark. Both have gone on record to say that such records are not their most immediate concerns. Høgh-Christensen said today. “That was not my main focus. Paul Elvstrøm was the greatest sailor of all time. If I get a chance to protect that legacy that's what I will do. I hope I can protect that legacy.”

Of course it is worth remembering that the four time Olympic medalist Ainslie has just sailed his best opening day ever - by a long way – at an Olympic Games. At previous Games he has always picked upp high scores or had some misfortune.

Ainslie said, “It wasn't the greatest of races in the beginning, but that spurred me on. I have been better, but it is where you finish.” The crowd on the Nothe provided encouragement. “I could hear it clearly and it really spurred me on.” On Høgh-Christensen's performance he said, "I think he is doing the best he can for himself right now.” It was also reported that Ainslie headed to the physio after racing to have a look at his knee.

Høgh-Christensen added, “It was a good day. I got the shifts right on the Nothe course. Great crowd, great experience. I felt like a football player walking into a stadium. Hearing the crowd was an excellent high. We did a lot of good preparation and I felt good and confident going into the regatta.” And for tomorrow? “Keep cool. Take it one day at a time and keep focused.”

Kljakovic Gaspic said, “It was a good day. I didn't have perfect starts but I was pushing hard and it paid off in the end. Two third places makes me happy and relaxed for following days. Jonas sailed a great day, with clear starts and great speed and that made him unbeatable on the water today.”

The 2008 Silver medalist Zach Railey (USA) didn’t have the opening day that he had hoped for with a 10th and a 15th to sit in 15th overall. “We are fine as far as boat speed is concerned, but I made an error on the first beat in the second race and was pretty far behind with no real chances to get back to front group. But we will be ready for tomorrow. There's still a long way to go.”

Races three and four are scheduled for Monday, both on Weymouth Bay courses.

Full results are mark roundings can be found here: http://www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/results_centre.php

Photo galleries at: http://www.finnclass.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=475:image-gallery-2012-olympics&catid=43:olympics&Itemid=266

Photos on this page by Francois Richard

Prezydent pożegnał olimpijczyków w Sopocie (źródło: Trójmiasto.pl)

W niecodziennej scenerii odbyło się ślubowanie żeglarskiej reprezentacji Polski, która wystartuje w igrzyskach olimpijskich. Na sopockim molo nominację biało-czerwonym wręczył prezydent RP, Bronisław Komorowski. - Jadę na piąte igrzyska, ale i nawet ja byłem tą ceremonią wzruszony - przyznał nam Mateusz Kusznierewicz (GKŻ Gdańsk), który obok Przemysława Miarczyńskiego jest największą trójmiejską nadzieją na medal w Londynie, a właściwie w Weymouth, bo tam odbędą się regaty.

Para prezydencka na sopocką przystań, której otwarcia prezydent Komorowski dokonał niemal równo przed rokiem (czytaj więcej), dotarła jednostką marynarki wojennej. Gości przywitali prezydent Sopotu Jacek Karnowski, wojewoda pomorski Ryszard Stachurski oraz marszałek województwa Mieczysław Struk.

Żeglarska kadra jako pierwsza spośród polskich reprezentacji odebrała nominacje na igrzyska olimpijskie. Ceremonię ślubowania otworzył prezes Polskiego Komitetu Olimpijskiego, Andrzej Kraśnicki, na którego prośbę minutą ciszy uczczono pamięć zmarłego w piątek wybitnego pięściarza i dwukrotnego mistrza olimpijskiego, Jerzego Kuleja.

Prezydent Komorowski wręczył nominacje do Londynu dziesięciu żeglarzom z jedenastoosobowej kadry, którzy wychodzili po nie w kolejności alfabetycznej. W tym gronie było pięcioro sportowców z trójmiejskich klubów: Mateusz Kusznierewicz (GKŻ Gdańsk), Przemysław Miarczyński (SKŻ Ergo Hestia Sopot) oraz Jolanta Ogar, Łukasz Przybytek, Paweł Kołodziński (wszyscy AZS AWFiS Gdańsk). Z reprezentantów na uroczystość nie dotarła jedynie Zofii Klepackiej-Noceti, która już trenuje w Weymouth.

- Jestem przekonany, że tysiące kibiców będą trzymać za was kciuki, a nadchodzące igrzyska będą prawdziwym świętem polskiego żeglarstwa. Życzę wam sukcesu nie tylko sportowego. Żeglarstwo to także wielka przygoda i wyzwania, jak również miejsce zawierania przyjaźni na całe życie - podkreślał prezydent Komorowski.

W imieniu kadrowiczów olimpijską przysięgę złożył aktualny mistrz Europy w klasie Star, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, dla którego tegoroczne igrzyska będą piątymi w karierze, ale pierwsze w gdańskich barwach. Przedstawiciel GKŻ obiecał, a za nim uczynili to pozostali członkowie ekipy zawodniczej, że będzie respektować przepisy i regulaminy, zasady fair play oraz godnie walczy na chwałę ojczyzny i pomnażania dorobku polskiego sportu.

- Mam wrażenie, że powoli nadaję się do muzeum, a nie na igrzyska. Jestem jednak dobrej myśli, bo optymalnie się przygotowaliśmy. Nie chcę nakręcać wszystkich wokół oraz siebie na złoto, gdyż konkurencja w naszej klasie jest mocna. Na pewno walczyć będziemy o podium - powiedział Kusznierewicz, który dotychczas medale zdobywał w klasie Finn - złoto w 1996 i brąz w 2004 roku. Na ostatnich igrzyskach wraz z Dominikiem Życkim dopłynął na Starze do czwartej lokaty.

Medalowe szanse mają również nasi windsurfingowcy: wspomniana Klepacka-Noceti (YKP Warszawa), która właśnie na olimpijskim akwenie w Weymouth wygrała regaty Pucharu Świata (czytaj więcej) oraz Przemysław Miarczyński (SKŻ Ergo Hestia Sopot).

- Zosia jest jedną z trzech głównych kandydatek do złota, choć mogą zdarzyć się niespodzianki. Zdołała już zadomowić się w Weymouth, gdzie w przeciwieństwie do kilku ostatnich igrzysk panują podobne warunki pogodowe jak w naszym kraju. To na pewno jest atutem. Jeśli chodzi o Przemka, będzie mu trudniej, bo w rywalizacji mężczyzn grono kandydatów do medali liczy 8-9 zawodników. Na pewno jest wśród nich i Miarczyński - ocenia trener reprezentacji deskarzy Paweł Kowalski.

Olimpijczycy na zakończenie sobotniej ceremonii złożyli podpisy na polskiej fladze, a poza symbolicznym piątym kółkiem olimpijskim otrzymali również list gratulacyjny. Do Londynu udawać się będą w grupach. Pierwsza, w której będą Kusznierewicz i Życki oraz Tomasz Chamera, dyrektor PZŻ i pracownik AWFiS Gdańsk wyleci już jutro. Ten ostatni będzie kierownikiem ekipy, a dzisiaj w imieniu trenerów złożył ślubowanie. Obiecał troskę o zawodników i dobro polskiego sportu oraz sumienne wykonywanie obowiązków.

Regaty olimpijskie rozegrane zostaną od 29 lipca do 11 sierpnia. W programie jest dziesięć konkurencji. Polacy zaprezentują się w ośmiu, co jest rekordową liczbą odkąd do olimpijskiego startu wprowadzono kwalifikacje. Nie będziemy reprezentowani tylko w męskiej klasie 470 oraz w żeńskiej Elliott 6 m. Łącznie w Weymout zaprezentuje się 237 żeglarzy i 143 żeglarki.

Skład reprezentacji Polski żeglarzy na igrzyska olimpijskie:
Klasa RS:X mężczyzn
Przemysław Miarczyński (SKŻ Ergo Hestia Sopot)

Łukasz Przybytek/Paweł Kołodziński (AZS AWFiS Gdańsk)

Mateusz Kusznierewicz (GKŻ Gdańsk)/Dominik Życki (Spójnia Warszawa)

470 kobiet
Agnieszka Skrzypulec (Sejk Pogoń Szczecin)/Jolanta Ogar (AZS AWFiS)

RS:X kobiet
Zofia Noceti-Klepacka (YKP Warszawa)

Laser Radial
Anna Weinzieher (AZS UW Warszawa)

Piotr Kula (BTŻ Biskupiec)

Kacper Ziemiński (Sejk Pogoń Szczecin)