Olympics Daily Debrief, Day 8 — Hurry Up and Wait
Postponements reigned supreme at the Olympic regatta today, until a squall hit. The wind was nowhere — and then it was everywhere at once.
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, Australia’s 49er squad, had just crossed the finish line and were heading to their coach’s boat when they took a peek under the sail. A squall line was barreling down on the 49er fleet so fast, Outteridge and Jensen had only a few seconds to spare in which to douse their kite and get their sails down, tie on to the rib and hold on for dear life. Other boats in the fleet weren’t so lucky, with knockdown force winds topping out above 40 knots throwing sailing and bare-poled boats over in rapid succession. For the skiffs and 470 fleets, the race back to the boat park was the most important of the day.
“We ragged it quite fast on the way in,” says Germany’s 49er skipper Erik Heil. “But what lucky timing. Just after the last guy came across the finish line, the breeze came in 130 degrees from the other side, and with massive force. Even with just the mast up and no sails, we still needed to get on the trapeze to stop the boat tipping over. We have some boat work to do, we have damaged the sails, we have to check the mast.”