In the olympic Spirit? Part II

20 08 2008

After much controversey, the Tornados are nearly through their series at the Beijing Olympics.  As it turns out, the only boat to take the controversial new spinnaker out was the American boat.  Whilst all other boats were starting the races normally, lined up drifting below the startline, the US boat had three sails up, ready to blast over the top of the other hapless crews who wanted to “keep it real” rather than trying to win a medal at all costs.  The fools..

Anywho, the unfortunate and satisfyingly ironic result is that the Americans new “secret weapon” has been about as successful as a fat chick at Hooters.. and about as popular too..

Still, I do feel sorry for the Americans.  I guess this just shows that sometimes gamesmanship doesn’t work and you should try to win medals based on skill, not on kit.  I bet they are wondering what would happen if they had used their usual spinnaker..

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In the Olympic spirit?

31 07 2008

So I’m one for pushing the limits in everything to do with sailing.  If it’s inside the rules, then you should be able to do it.  However, I’ve been following the story of the olympic Tornado sailors using a new type of spinnaker, and i have to say i’m pretty annoyed about it.

a week before the Olympics starts, Mitch Booth has announced he may be using a new spinnaker that is smaller and flatter, as an extra sail for upwind sailing.  Basically, they can leave the thing up all race, and it is ideal for the lightwinds expected in China.

As mentioned earlier, I feel that any idea that is within the rule is fair game, and it’s great to see sailors thinking outside the box of conventions.  However, the Olympics is all about the spirit of sport.  This is hardly a well spirited move, to come up with such a devastatingly effective tactic so close to the games, to virtually prevent any other sailors having a chance of medalling.  In practice races, the upwind spinnaker was almost 3 knots faster upwind.  Ok, yes I understand that they are professional sailors and they have to think about the final outcome, but just put yourself in the shoes of another Tornado sailor.  You’ve trained for years for this event, you’ve put your life on hold and spent thousands of whatever currency you use to pay the bills.  Suddenly, all chances of winning a medal have gone because some smart ass has had a brainwave.  The olympics should be about the sailors skill, not the development of his kit…

Chris Boardman won an Olympic gold in Atlanta with his Lotus carbon bike, almost lapping his rival in the gold medal race.  Was this fair?  Originally I would have said yes, but then again, think about the other guy.  maybe he was a better sprinter, but he didn’t have a carbon bike.  Did the best athlete win on the day?

So, will the best sailors win in the Tornado fleet?  This is a question that can’t have a yes or no answer, because the truth is, unfortunately, we will never find out.  And this is the last time we will ever see the boat in the games!  This is going to ruin the memory of the tornado for many people for a long time.  What a bad year to be a Tornado sailor…