It's calm, so Olympic sailing can't carry on
By BERNIE WILSON,
Updated August 9, 2012
WEYMOUTH, England (AP) A great day for sunbathers turned out to be a rotten day for Olympic sailing.
The men's 470 medals race was abandoned Thursday because there wasn't enough wind on the nicest day of the regatta.
The race was rescheduled for noon Friday. The regularly scheduled women's 470 medals race is set for 1 p.m.
The men's 470 fleet never left the boatyard as a high-pressure system cut off the wind that normally whips in off the English Channel.
The gold medal will go to either Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page of Australia or Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell of Britain. The Australians have 18 points and the British 22. The medals race awards double points.
The Australians are trying to win more gold medals than the host country. They lead Britain 2-1.
For the British to get the 470 gold, they need to finish ahead of the Aussies, with a boat between them. If the teams are tied on points, the order of finish in the medals race serves as a tiebreaker.
"I think it plays the ball in our court a little bit if we wait longer," Patience said. "I imagine if the Aussies are feeling anything it's more discomfort than we are. The longer it draws out, maybe that's a good thing for us and a worse thing for them."
He added: "It's certainly not a problem for Stuart and me. This is our home. We've lived here for five years and we'll live here again once this is over. This is no skin off our back, is it?"
The British crew spent five hours hanging out in the team shipping container, staying out of the sun and watching other Olympic sports on TV.
"We were switching off, keeping fresh and being ready to get that espresso down our necks and hit the racing hard," Bithell said.
"It's like Harry Potter's tent in there," Patience said. "It just looks like a container from the outside, the size and dimension. You walk in there and you've got a whole world going on."
Bithell said Friday's forecast looks good for racing.
"We'll go through the routine process again - wake up expecting to race as we did this morning, and hopefully the race officer can get racing for us," he said.
Friday could be a golden day for the British.
In the women's 470, the British crew of Hannah Mills and Saski Clark is tied with New Zealand's Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie. They are the only teams that can win the gold.
Sailing for fifth through eighth place in women's match racing was also abandoned Thursday.