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Posted by on Aug 1, 2012 in Racing Sailboat, Sailboat Racing, Sailing, UK, US |

Olympic Sailors Take to Snorkeling

It all started with Mr. Bean. A humorous opening ceremony set the tone for this Olympic regatta, and the 49er class is the most fun of all…

Gael Pawson, editor of our UK site, uk.boats.com, brings word on the US team at the 2012 Games…

Humour is one thing the Brits do well, and the opening ceremony included some fantastic little touches that said: “just in case you’re taking this too seriously… think again!” Like the Queen apparently parachuting into the opening ceremony with James Bond… and Mr Bean, who joined the symphony orchestra to play “Chariots of Fire.” In case you missed it, he became so bored of playing his single note that he got up to all sorts of antics.

Aussie 49er skipper Outteridge dons a mask and snorkel.

Aussie 49er skipper Nathan Outteridge donned a mask and snorkel, acknowledging his team’s ribbing for a capsize the previous day. It didn’t slow the Aussie boat down much — they’re leading the fleet. Photo credit: Onedition

There’s been a fair amount of humour at these Olympics. The thing is, whether you’re hurting or you’re winning, humour is a good cure and a helps to keep your feet on the ground. Let’s face it, with 20-degree windshifts, tide changes not quite according to the timetable, and the wind doing strange things, you need a good sense of humour!

And it’s not just the Brits that do humour; the Aussies are pretty good at it as well.

In the 49er class capsizing is all part of the game… but that doesn’t usually mean sailing with a snorkel, especially at an Olympic regatta. Unless, that is, you’re Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen. The Aussie pair, who entered the event as hot favourites, can certainly take a joke. After capsizing yesterday, they obviously got a fair amount of teasing from their mates, to the extent that they were presented with a snorkel. They duly turned up for today’s racing suitably clad… and it didn’t seem to do them much harm as they posted a second and a first to take a 13-point jump on the fleet.

They might not have had snorkels, but it was also a pretty good day in the class for the US 49er team Erik Storck and Trevor Moore, who scored a seventh and 13th to improve their overall standing to seventh.

Even so, their sense of humour was tested in the first race “We had a bungee come untied that we were fixing halfway down the run,” Storck explained. “We were able to fix it pretty quickly, but we gave up a boat or two — a few boats.” Storck held the mainsheet, spinnaker sheet and tiller while Moore re-tied the trapeze bungee to his foot strap – an acrobatic manoeuvre in itself!

The pair has a lot to do to get a sniff of a medal, but this class has 15 races, with the ever-present potential for disaster, as the Aussie duo so perfectly demonstrated. “There’s a lot of racing left,”said Moore. “We’re not even halfway through it. We just have to pick our way through. Everyone has a bummer. And we’ll just try and avoid those and be in the top 10.”

Racing continues for the 49er tomorrow. The Finn and Star classes return from their layday, and the 470 men’s competition starts in earnest.

- Gael Pawson

Editors’ Note: Gael is  providing special reports on the US Sailing Team throughout the events in Weymouth. For previous posts, see below: