Rio de Janeiro, Brazil- Today the Olympic Marina is closed. Nobody can sail, yesterday stiil no graphics and all athletes are conveying to the Olympic Village, which lies about 35 km far away from here, because from there they will be taken to the Opening Cerimony, a show with a lot of powerful man attending… Fireworks are part of the tradition of the Opening, with the olympic flame and probably at the end Pelé, the legendary football (or soccer, depends on who reads…) player will be the last one to carry the torch that will light up the olympic flame. Also in these changing times, plagied by discussions about doping, the Olympic Flame is the most important value and message of the Games, actually the only real value that justifies all shines through, trying to bring a message of peace in our times, a message of tollerance and friendship, getting people from all over the world to meet, compete, make friends and spread the virus of peace. The war stopped in ancient Greece, let’s hope peace and friendship will have a chance even nowadays, but it could not be so simple.
So… we are about to start. We have ten events and ten different types of what we love most, ie sailing. The RS:X is the windsurfer choosen for this Olympics. Windsurfers are light, about 50 to 55 kgs for the girls and 65 to 73 for the men. They need a lot of endurance as free pumping is really hard work as well as a lot of skills in balancing themselves on the board. Windsurfing started in the early 80ies, it was about fun and going at sea fast and in direct contact with the water having the wind, ie the sail, in your hands. It has been very popular and trendy. They have had pro cirvuits and legends like Robby Naish and Pete Cabrinha became famous. It is going to be tough I mean.
470 sailing requires a lot of skill. It is a single trapeze boat highly technical. It is exactly the same boat for male and female. Crews are in the 128 to 138 kgs brackett, both toghether, that means I could sail her nearly alone. As she has not so much sail, the 470 is very seaworthy and highly technical and tactical, a dinghy perfect for medium sized women and small and medium sized men.
Laser man is very popular, highly tactical and very physical upwind, simple and easy with ultra close combat. Males are in the 78 to 82 kgs brackett. Laser radial is really the heavyweight for women, ideal weight is from 72 to 78 kgs according to the venue. Girls have to be string tactical and tough.
49er is a twin trapeze skiff, crews are 145 kgs or there about. This skiff requires strenght balance reactivity and is still tactical and now is by far the fastest monohull in the Games. The women’s 49er FX is the same as per the 49er: you need agility, strenght, balance and tactical skills. Girls are in the 128 to 136 kgs brackett.
Nacra 17 mixed, a male and female discipline, is a modern cat. Skill, balance and specific multihull tactics the key to success. Fitness is important, but sailing cats is more about finesse than brutal strenght. They are the fastest craft in the water nowadays and if full foiling they would go dangerousely fast!
Last my obsession, the Finn. You have to be tall, strong fit and heavy, at average 97 kgs and 194 cm. She is a highly tactical boat, a bit like playing chest going uphill on a bike. Hearth rate upwind is between 140 and 160 and when you free pumping downwind, well guys, you are over 180. The Finn is the last boat for heavy sailors.
So, for those who are not here, we have all categories of sailors. Boats have a soul and attracts different people and different caracters and sizes and types of personality. Even if for no sailing experts some might look similar anyone is really different and sailors really tend to love their own class. Is any class better that the other one? To be honest, I do not think so as all have their up and down and winning is really tough as the Olympic glory is always very difficult to achieve. To get to the top, sailors will have to master their boat perfectly and so their emotions. They will have to be able to financially manage a campaign, as well as deal with their relevant national federation. They will have to get expert in logistic, manage travelling all over the world. Sailing is not simple at this level and passion and dedication is all if you want to climb this mountain.