Archive | Olympic Games

Go Valencia 2016

Posted on 02 October 2009 by Valencia Sailing

Update 6:55pm Central European Time: So close yet so far…. Madrid and Rio de Janeiro were the two finalists, after the swift elimination of Chicago and Tokyo, but the Cariocas had the last word. As a result, sailors around the world aspiring to an Olympic medal in 2016 must pick up a Portuguese dictionary and start studying the winds off Copacabana. Who knows, it might be Valencia 2020 but I doubt it…..

In a couple of hours, the International Olympic Committee will vote on the host city of the 2016 Olympics. Why do we care at Valencia Sailing? Because Valencia will be the sailing venue, if of course Madrid’s candidature prevails. So, Go Valencia 2016!!.

Members start voting at 5:10pm Central European Time and voting will be finished by 5:40pm. The announcement ceremony is scheduled from 6:30 to 7pm.

For all those interested, you can watch live here the candidate city presentations as well as the voting procedure. Just click on the “Play” button. Be patient, the live streaming might be slow to start due to heavy traffic.

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Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson win Britain’s fourth sailing gold in Star medal race

Posted on 21 August 2008 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] British crew Iain PERCY and Andrew SIMPSON won the final gold medal of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition after a thrilling finish to Thursday’s Star Medal Race.

Iain PERCY adds Star success to the gold medal he won in the single-handed Finn dinghy in Sydney eight years ago, whilst Andrew SIMPSON wins gold in his first appearance at the Games. Brazilians Robert SCHEIDT and Bruno PRADA (BRA) won the silver medal with the Swedish crew of Fredrik LOOF and Anders EKSTROM, who held the overall lead going into the Medal Race, taking bronze.

“This win is far more sweet than the gold in the Finn,” said PERCY. “Six months ago, we knew we could do. It’s just that there was so much work involved and there are so many talents in the class. We always knew we were contenders, but only contenders. Every morning we wake up thinking about sailing and nothing else.”

The Star Medal Race was perfectly poised with just two points separating the leading Swedish and British crews and SCHEIDT and PRADA third overall, 14 points back and ready to pounce on any mistakes. With these six crews sharing three gold, one silver and one bronze medal between them, it was a genuine battle of the heavyweights.

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson sail to Olympic gold in Star. Qingdao, 22 August 2208. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann

A southeasterly on 12 knots and big seas set the scene for a thrilling race. PERCY and SIMPSON just had to beat LOOF and EKSTROM and immediately put the pressure on their rivals. After a bout of pre-start manoeuvring, the Brits had the Swedes pinned outside the Committee boat and gained an advantage off the start, but LOOF and EKSTROM fought back strongly up the right of the first beat, rounding the top mark just ahead of the Brits. Meanwhile SCHEIDT and PRADA had got off to a flier at the pin end and pulled out an early lead. Sweden and Britain never strayed far from one another during the battle downwind, with LOOF and EKSTROM initially appearing to hold the advantage. However, PERCY and SIMPSON caught a good puff to surge ahead and rounded mark two in second with the Swedes and France’s ROHART and RAMBEAU just a few seconds further back.

On the second upwind Britain held the advantage over Sweden but these two teams appeared isolated on the left of the course, whilst the rest of the fleet made gains on the right. Could SCHEIDT and PRADA sneak in? If they won and PERCY and SIMPSON finished seventh and LOOF and EKSTROM eighth, gold would go to Brazil.

Halfway through, the race appeared wide open. “Everything was changing. Boat places were switched rapidly and we went from left to right. We just had to keep our eyes on the main guys and just fight, fight and fight,” PERCY said.

At this stage World Champions Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ and Dominik ZYCKI (POL) came into the frame, making big gains on the right of the course along with Flavio MARAZZI and Enrico DE MARIA (SUI) . They led into the final run with SCHEIDT and PRADA now down in fifth, PERCY and SIMPSON in seventh whilst the Swedes had dropped to last. The Brazilians and Brits again showed their speed downwind and both made up places on the run, whilst the Swedes continued to struggle at the back. At the front KUSZNIEREWICZ and ZYCKI took the bullet followed by the Swiss, SCHEIDT and PRADA pulled back two places to come in third, with Marc PICKEL and Ingo BORKOWSKI (GER) fourth and then the new Olympic Champions PERCY and SIMPSON in fifth.

“At first tears burst into my eyes. I was just so shocked. After so many years of hardship, to achieve this, here with your best friend is the best feeling in the world,” SIMPSON said.

LOOF and EKSTROM battled with ROHART and RAMBEAU down the final run but the French just held off their challenge, finishing one second ahead of the Swedes to give the silver medal to Brazil.

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Spain’s Fernando Echavarri and Anton Paz win gold in Tornado class

Posted on 21 August 2008 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ won gold for Spain after a superb performance in today’s Tornado Medal Race.

The Spanish duo finished fourth in today’s Medal Race to secure their place on the top step of the podium. Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP) went into the race with a three point lead over Australians Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY and quickly took the initiative by blasting off the starting line to establish an early lead. The Spaniards are at their best in moderate to strong wind conditions and were superb in today’s 12-15 knot breeze with big waves. They sailed a near-flawless race and always held the upper hand in the battle against the Aussies, eventually crossing the finishing line one place ahead of them in fourth to win Olympic gold. BUNDOCK and ASHBY won the silver medal with Santiago LANGE and Carlos ESPINOLA taking the bronze.

Since finishing eighth at the Athens ECHAVARRI and PAZ have taken their Tornado sailing to another level. Their breakthrough season was 2005, where they won both World and European titles and went on to be crowned ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year that November. The pair won their second World title together last year, although ECHAVARRI admitted Olympic success was what they really craved, “After 10 years of training we finally got our first Olympic medal. We feel like we’re the luckiest ones here. We’ve been performing very well together as a team. We’ve been winning championships and regattas, but this is the most important win of them all.”

BUNDOCK and ASHBY won the silver medal after a poor start and first beat put them at a big disadvantage from which they never really recovered. It is BUNDOCK’s second Olympic silver medal, he also won one in Sydney with John FORBES, and the Aussie admitted to being slightly deflated, “We are a little disappointed. We are here for the gold but we missed it because we stuffed up at the start and we parked. We’re still extremely happy about the silver,” said BUNDOCK.

Santiago LANGE and Carlos ESPINOLA of Argentina finished sixth in the Medal Race, good enough to secure the final podium spot and repeat their bronze medal success of Athens.

Since the very beginning of the Tornado Opening Series the Spanish crew has led at the end of every day, but had the Australian crew of BUNDOCK and ASHBY hard on their tails. It was no surprise to see these two crews dominating at the top of the leaderboard; between them they have won the past four Tornado World Championships and occupy positions #1 (BUNDOCK and ASHBY) and #2 (ECHAVARRI and PAZ) on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. Ahead of today’s Medal Race the Spaniards held a narrow three-point advantage and ECHAVARRI admitted the nerves were jangling, “The conditions were really difficult today and we were quite nervous when we were out there. We just reminded ourselves to concentrate more on the sailing and treat it like any other race.”

The Spaniards didn’t show any signs of nerves as the blasted off the starting line in today’s race, dominating the first beat to lead at the top mark. In contrast the Aussies fluffed their start and headed off on their own to the left of the course, a costly decision which left them ninth at the top mark. “We could see all the breeze was over there,” explained ASHBY, “but we made up ground. We were really pumped and just keep hanging in.”

The British team of Leigh MCMILLAN and Will HOWDEN hooked into a big puff to surge into the lead on the downwind leg and never looked back from there. Meanwhile the Spaniards looked well in control, sticking to safe lines down the middle of the course and keeping a close eye on their Australian rivals.

BUNDOCK and ASHBY were beginning to make up ground and following a capsize by the Germans Johannes POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ the Aussies were up into fifth place by the downwind mark. However the Australians were somewhat hampered by a broken mast swivel and in front of them ECHAVARRI and PAZ were controlling the race. Although the British, Canadian and Dutch boats had all pulled ahead of them, it was the Australians the Spanish were racing and they never gave them a hint of a chance down the final run. MCMILLAN and HOWDEN took the gun to win the Medal Race but the cheers of ‘ole’ were for ECHAVARRI and PAZ as they crossed the line in fourth to win gold. BUNDOCK and ASHBY came in fifth to secure the silver medal, whilst LANGE and ESPINOLA followed in sixth to take bronze.

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Tom Ashley wins the Olympic gold medal in men’s RS:X

Posted on 20 August 2008 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] Tom ASHLEY won the Olympic gold medal for New Zealand in today’s Medal Race of the Men’s Windsurfer event at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Tom ASHLEY, also the reigning World Champion, sailed a near flawless Medal Race, finishing third to win a tight three-way contest for gold. It is the first Olympic gold medal in sailing won by New Zealand since Barbara KENDALL’s victory in the Women’s Windsurfer event at Barcelona 1992. Frenchman Julien BONTEMPS finished one place behind ASHLEY in today’s Medal Race to take silver, whilst Israel’s Shahar ZUBARI edged out Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) to win bronze, winning the first medal for Israel at this Olympic Games.

Since finishing 10th in Athens as a 20 year old, ASHLEY has matured into a world beater on the windsurfing scene, a status he confirmed earlier this year with World Championship success on his home waters in New Zealand. In a fleet in which many competitors have a big performance differential in different wind conditions, his all-round ability has proved crucial this week and brought him the Olympic gold medal.

New Zealand’s Tom Ashely wins the gold medal in RS:X. Qingdao, 20 August 2008. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann

“I’ve done it! It’s the most incredible feeling and I can’t begin to tell you how I feel right now,” ASHLEY commented on returning to the boat park. ASHLEY, who is coached by Grant BECK (NZL), an instrumental figure the three previous medal wins of KENDALL, added that his Olympic success is the end of a long road, “I’ve been working toward this for so many years. It was an insanely tough Medal Race,” he said. “The weather had a little bit of everything. I tried to sail as consistently as I could.”

Yesterday ASHLEY had had his worst race of the regatta after getting caught on the wrong side of a big wind shift and finishing down in the 32nd place. That had dropped him from first to third overall, although he was still just one point off the lead and knew that if he could finish ahead of BONTEMPS and DEMPSEY today and not let ZUBARI get too far ahead, the gold medal would be his.

In a 7 knot southeasterly breeze, Hong Kong’s light wind specialist King Yin CHAN lead around the course with ASHLEY close behind him. ZUBARI didn’t get the best of start but revelled in the lighter shifty airs and flat seas – sailing conditions he loves. The young star, showed why he got the better of Athens gold medallist Gal FRIDMAN (ISR) in the Israeli selection trials for Qingdao, overhauling ASHLEY to finish second in the Medal Race and secure the bronze medal as DEMPSEY struggled further back.

“I feel so happy. I‘m only 20 and I feel like a superstar. I was lucky to have the wind on my side today. When I finished, I counted back and realised I had won bronze. I was crazy with joy,” ZUBARI said.

BONTEMPS, who held the overall lead going into the race, didn’t get the best of starts, but unlike ZUBARI failed to pull through the fleet. However by maintaining a steady mid-fleet position and eventually crossing the line in fourth place he ensured the silver medal was his.

DEMPSEY meanwhile never recovered from a poor start and eventually crossing the line in seventh, dropping from second overall to fourth and out of the medals.

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Jian Yin delivers China’s first ever Olympic sailing gold

Posted on 20 August 2008 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] Windsurfer Jian YIN won China’s first ever Olympic gold medal in sailing after a nail-biting finish to today’s Women’s RS:X Medal Race.
Heading into the slalom finish Jian YIN was lying in fifth place but staged a magnificent comeback to finish third and secure the gold medal. Alessandra SENSINI of Italy won the Medal Race to take the silver medal, becoming the first female sailor to ever win fourth Olympic medals, whilst Great Britain’s Bryony SHAW won bronze.

YIN won by the narrowest of margins, finishing just one point ahead of SENSINI to add the Olympic gold medal the silver she won in Athens four years ago. SENSINI knew she had to put two boats between her and YIN to take the title and put in a true champion’s performance by winning the Medal Race, but with YIN in third place it was not quite enough for gold. SENSINI, gold medallist in Sydney 2000 and winner of Olympic bronze medals in 1996 and 2004, completed her set of Olympic medals by winning silver, in so doing becoming the first female sailor to ever win four Olympic medals. SHAW sailed a great Medal Race and was never out of the leading positions. She crossed the line in second place, securing the Olympic bronze medal, Great Britain’s fifth medal of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Jian Yin, China’s first ever Olympic gold medallist in sailing. Qingdao, 20 August 2008. Photo copyright Clive Mason/Getty Images

Expectation hung in the air today in Qingdao with thousands of Chinese spectators packing the spectator breakwater at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center in the hope of watching history in the making. The tension was obvious at the start with a general recall signalled as the 10-boat fleet pushed the line. The fleet got away cleanly in the second start in a bright sunshine and an 8 knot breeze from the southeast, which dropped slightly during the race and shifted around to the south.

World #1 Marina ALABAU (ESP) took the early lead, closely followed by SHAW, SENSINI and YIN, and these four fought it out at the front for the rest of the race. SENSINI had a great final downwind to lead going into the slalom with ALABAU and SHAW close together in second and third. Olga MASLIVETS (UKR) had also sailed strongly on the second downwind to move ahead of YIN. At this stage, with SENSINI looking certain to win the race, YIN had to make up at least two places to win gold.

Over the three legs of the slalom course the Chinese sailor found a gold medal winning surge. She immediately passed MASLIVETS and began to pull in third-place ALABAU. At the same time, SHAW pulled ahead of ALABAU, the Spaniard threw in a tack and YIN seized her opportunity, reeling in her rival to huge cheers from the breakwater. SENSINI went on to cross the line first, SHAW followed in second and then YIN came over in third place assured of gold. A scrum of boats immediately surrounded her as the host nation celebrated their first ever Olympic gold medal in sailing.

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Gold for Britain and USA with Lasers centre stage in Qingdao

Posted on 19 August 2008 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] Paul GOODISON won Great Britain’s fourth medal and Anna TUNNCLIFFE won gold for the USA on day 11 of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.

The host nation China also won their first medal of the Olympic Sailing Competition, with other podium places going to Slovenia, Italy and Lithuanian. With four events to go, 14 different nations have now won medals. With three golds and a silver, Great Britain are well ahead at the top of the medal standings.

The focus in Qingdao today was on the two One Person Dinghy fleets, with the Laser and Laser Radial Medal Races on course area A. Paul GOODISON (GBR) took an 18-point lead into the Laser Medal Race and ensured the gold medal was his by match racing his only rival Rasmus MYRGREN (SWE) to the back of the fleet. Unfortunately for MYGREN that cost him any hope of a medal and Slovenia’s Vasilij ZBOGAR took full advantage, finishing second in the Medal Race to win silver. Diego ROMERO of Italy won the battle for bronze.

The standings were much closer going into the Laser Radial Medal Race, with Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) just seven points ahead of Gintare VOLUNGEVICIUTE (LTU). When the American rounded the downwind mark in ninth place it looked as if Lithuania were on their way to gold. However TUNNICLIFFE showed why she’s the world #1 ranked skipper, spotting a big shift to the left of the course and staging a superb comeback to finish the Medal Race in second place and win gold. VOLUNGEVICIUTE took silver, winning Lithuania’s first ever Olympic medal in sailing, with China’s star Lijia XU taking the bronze.

Tomorrow it’s windsurfing’s turn to take the spotlight with the Men’s and Women’s RS:X Medal Races on course area A. Both RS:X fleets completed the final race of their Opening Series in light westerly winds earlier today. It was a great day for the Chinese windsurfers who scored bullets in both fleets. That means Jian YIN (CHN) takes a five-point lead over triple Olympic medallist Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) into tomorrow’s Medal Race, with Bryony SHAW (GBR) just three points further back. It’s also set to be a three-horse race in the men’s Medal Race, but the standings are even closer. Julien BONTEMPS (FRA), Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) and Tom ASHLEY (NZL) are separated by just one point with light wind specialist Shahar ZUBARI (ISR) just ten points off the lead in fourth.

The Tornado and Star fleets have their final three races of their Opening Series rescheduled for tomorrow after failing to complete any races today as the wind died out on course area A.

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Women’s 470 pair Pechichi and Parkinson win Australia’s second gold

Posted on 18 August 2008 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] Young guns Elise RECHICHI and Tessa PARKINSON completed an Australian double in the 470 fleets by securing the gold medal in the Women’s Two Person Dinghy event at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Elise RECHICHI and Tessa PARKINSON, just 22 and 21 years old respectively, are crowned Olympic Champions, winning Australia’s second gold medal of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. Their victory also cementis the legendary status of Australian Head Coach Victor Kovalenko, aka the ‘Medal Maker’, who has now coached teams to medals in both men’s and women’s 470 events at the 1996, 2000 and 2008 Olympic Games. Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT, World Champions in 2005, 2006 and 2007, win ther silver medal with Fernanda OLIVEIRA and Isabel SWAN of Brazil sailing to regatta of their life culminating with a victory in the Medal Race to secure bronze.

After yesterday’s stormy conditions, brighter skies and less intense westerly breezes around 9 knots provided near perfect conditions for today’s racing. RECHICHI and PARKINSON took an 18-point lead into the Medal Race with the Dutch crew of DE KONING and BERKHOUT the only team that could take the gold medal away from them. To do that the Dutch had to finish first and the Aussies last and to avoid that situation the Australians immediately set about match racing their rivals, forcing them to sail in dirty air and dragging both teams right to the back of the fleet.

The Australian strategy was working perfectly, but as the Dutch rounded the top mark in last place they appeared to be seriously in danger of losing their silver medal. At the front of the race the Brazilians were pushing hard against the Israel team of Nike KORNECKI and Vered BUSKILA and with eight boats between Brazil and the Dutch, OLIVEIRA and SWAN were provisional in the silver medal spot. With the gold medal now looking assured the Aussies loosened their grips on the Dutch and by the time they had approached the second mark DE KONING and BERKHOUT had pulled ahead slightly and started to reel the rest of the fleet back in. Their cause was helped slightly by a penalty on the Spanish boat for an incident at the final upwind mark and by the final leg the Dutch were comfortably mid-fleet.

Brazil went on to win the race ahead of the Israelis, whose second place secured them fourth overall. DE KONING and BERKHOUT crossed in fifth to take silver with the Aussies coming in ninth but assured of gold.

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Incredible 49er Medal Race But Results Subject To Jury Hearing

Posted on 17 August 2008 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] Results from the incredible 49er Medal Race held today at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition are still unofficial with the Jury reconvening on Monday morning to decide on a protest lodged after the provisional gold medallists sailed the race in another team’s boat.

An enthralling Medal Race provided a dramatic finish to an incredibly day at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center.

Jonas WARRER and Martin IBSEN of Denmark are provisionally in the gold medal position, but could be disqualified from the Medal Race and therefore fall back to fourth overall. The Danish team were protested by the Race Committee for sailing the Medal Race in a boat borrowed from the Croatian crew (who were not competing in the Medal Race) after the mast on the Danish 49er snapped shortly before the start. 2004 Olympic gold medallists Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ (ESP) won the Medal Race and are provisionally in the silver medal position, with the German brothers Jan-Peter PECKOLT and Hannes PECKOLT provisionally winning bronze. Italians Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO lie fourth overall in the provisional results.

John DOERR, chair of the Jury panel that heard the protest, said the case was complicated, involving a series of points in the Sailing Instructions, Notice of Race and Measurement Regulations (you can read them all in our Protests & Communications section here). He added that the decision to reconvene tomorrow morning was made to ensure all the facts could be considered fully and the correct decision could be made. Until the outcome of the Protest hearing, the Medal Race results and overall results in the Skiff – 49er event remain unofficial.

Earlier on Sunday, an enthralling Medal Race provided a dramatic finish to an incredibly day at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center. The Danish crew of WARRER and IBSEN went into the race as favourites with an 11-point overall lead on the Italian SIBELLO brothers. Australian young guns and reigning World Champions Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN lay in third overall, three points further back and just one ahead of MARTINEZ and FERNANDEZ and German brothers Jan-Peter and Hannes PECKOLT.

Winds of around 15 knots and gusting much more and heavy rain had swept across Fushan Bay all day along and the weather worsened as the 49er Medal Race got underway just before the time limit at 16:30. It was to prove a sensational race, with four different crews in the gold medal position at one stage or the other.

The drama began before the race even got underway as WARRER and IBSEN broke their mast whilst out on the water waiting for the race to start. In one small moment, the hopes of a gold medal appeared to have vanished completed. In a desperate attempt to compete in the race they returned to the marina and hastily rigged the Croatian boat (which had not qualified for the Medal Race).

The 49er Medal Race got underway in very gusty conditions with big waves and heavy rain causing low visibility. Almost instantly their was carnage out on the race area. The Spanish gold medallists from Athens, who where lying fourth overall going into the Medal Race but now had a great shot at gold with the Danes seemingly out of contention, capsized just a few seconds after the gun had sounded and were straight away relegated to the back of the fleet. The French team led up the first beat, whilst the Danes made it to the start in their borrowed Croatian boat just 4 seconds before the time limit ran out.

France rounded the top mark in first followed by the Austrians and then the Italian brothers, which at this stage put the Italians in the gold medal position. Big swells and gusts made for incredibly tough conditions on the downwind legs and it didn’t take long before the fleet was left decimated. The French were the first to capsize followed by the Germans, putting the Austrians into the lead with the Italians second and the hotshot young Aussies in third. At this point it looked like being a straight shoot out for gold between Australia and Italy. The Italians held the upper hand on the overall scores and the Aussies had to put at least one boat between them and the SIBELLO brothers to claim gold.

On the final upwind WILMOT and PAGE hit the accelerator and pulled ahead of the Italians with the Austrians next on their hit list. But Austria capsized, crucially robbing the Aussies of the potential one-boat gap they needed between them and the Italians. Australia rounded the final upwind mark in first, 20 seconds ahead of the Italians who still appeared to be in the gold medal position. But suddenly everything changed as the SIBELLO brothers capsized letting the Spanish, Germany and British teams past and leaving the Australians flying down the run on their way to victory. Now though it was the Aussies turn to flip the boat.

All of a sudden the fast finishing Spanish were in the lead and across the line first to win the Medal Race. Germany followed in second, Great Britain were third and the Italians fourth. At this stage the drama had swung full circle and now it was the Spanish who were looking set to win gold, with the Germans winning silver just ahead of the Italians. After several more capsizes the Australians eventually finished in sixth place out of the medal places.

The only question mark that now remained was the Danes. Sailing a boat they were completely unfamiliar with and starting way behind the rest of the fleet they had nevertheless picked up two places with the American and Austrian boats failing to finish the race. If they could cross the line in eighth or better, they would be in the gold medal position. With the Brazilians struggling on the final run the Danes appeared to heading for seventh, but capsized near the finish. Eventually they righted the Croatian boat, crossed the line within the time limit and in seventh place. With the Danes so far behind and visibility very low they had now idea of the other race positions and wild celebrations followed as the overall race scores were displayed on the committee boat.

However, there was one final twist in the tale as the Race Committee protested the Danes for their change of boat. The protest hearing ran late into the night, with the jury decision finally released shortly after midnight.

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