Our Singlehanded TransPac sailors arrived in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago. Now the Pacific Cup sailors (with at least two on each boat) are out there in the Pacific with several approaching the halfway mark as I write this on Tuesday morning. It’s very easy to follow these boats and read their blogs from the ocean; just visit http://pacificcup.org/. (They do their best to make this race accessible for readers, asking/answering questions like “Why is the front-runner not always the leader?” Well worth checking this out!)
OH, and then there’s this other sports thing about to start up as well:
Although this column got its start because of the America's Cup coming to San Francisco Bay (and the imminent arrival of Artemis Racing in Alameda), there is that OTHER big international sports event coming up that starts this weekend!
The Summer Olympics kick off this Saturday, and there are lots of events that take place on the water! The official website is http://www.london2012.com and you can find a complete sailing event schedule at http://www.london2012.com/sailing/schedule-and-results/. Sailing events will be held at Weymouth on the English Channel, about 120 miles SSE of London.
There are 10 different classes of sailing in this year's Olympics. This type of racing is called "one design," which means that the boats are identical, so it is completely up to the athletes (and a bit of luck, of course) to make the difference. There is a very well-done explanation of all 10 sailing classes at http://sailing.about.com/od/typesofsailboats/ss/OlympicSailboats.htm. Here's the list:
Men's and Women's one-person Laser Radial (14-foot dinghy)
Men's one-person Finn (a bit longer, heavier, big sail)
Men's and Women's two-person 470 (15-foot dinghy; trapeze for one crew member to hike out)
Men's two-person 49er (16-foot; fastest team boat; adjustable wing plus a sail)
Women's Keelboat Match Racing on the Elliott 6-meter (20-foot). Crew of three. First time in the Olympics.
Men's Star Keelboat (23-foot fixed-keel sloop). Crew of two
Men's and Women's Windsurfer
Notice that in several cases, the men and women sail identical boats. In each of these cases, however, the women's boat will have slightly smaller sails. This is just because the women weigh less than the men do, and therefore a large sail would be much more apt to capsize the boat! (On a boat as small and light as these are, every pound makes a big difference.)
So, how do you WATCH these events at home? NBC will be covering all 302 events live from London, but they will be spread all over their cable TV networks. You can also watch live streams at http://nbcolympics.com but (and here's the catch) you will have to log in with your account number from a cable or satellite TV provider. If all you have is a TV antenna then you'll be limited to the live broadcasts on NBC TV, or whatever streams they choose to provide on the website.
Want a lot more information on all aspects of the London Olympics? Don't fail to visit our friends at the BBC at http://www.bbc.co.uk! Just click on OLYMPICS at the top of the page and you'll find a very well-organized array of information. (By the way, the British sailors have a history, with 24 gold medals, and they have received more medals than any other country in the last four Games - the British Armada lives on!)
Find the Olympic sailors on your TV and watch them get wet!