Autumn 2004


Commodore’s Bit
AGM & Prize Giving
Annual Dinner
Athens Olympics
Back-tracking History
Bewl Visit
Bodgett Bodges On
Dinghy Show
For Sale
Italian Evening
Maritime Greenwich
Mid Thames Trophy
Sailing Sec’s Report
Simple Things
Social Calendar
Summer Serenade
Working Party

Athens Olympics

Well, the 2004 Olympics are over and sailing has once again delivered its fair share of the Team GB medals. GB retains the honour of being the worlds most successful sailing nation. However results were much closer this year with Brazil, Spain, Ukraine, America, Australia, Norway and Belgium all delivering wins during the various class races. The TV coverage is also improving. The BBC and its interactive service allocated a fair amount of time to sailing and windsurfing. The powerful long lenses used posed some problems, in that, the foreshortening sometimes gave a very false impression of relative position; but in general the coverage was excellent.

The Laser class was obviously missing Ben Ainsley but their loss was Finn's (and Robert Scheidt's) gain. Shirley Robertson, Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb have obviously taken to the Yngling class (where the hell did that name come from?), winning with a race to spare. Apparently they were getting their hair done for the presentation ceremony while the rest of the fleet sailed the last race (very girly).

For those of you that have wondered about this weirdly named boat here are a few facts and figures. Designed by Jan Linge in Oslo, Norway, in 1967 for his son the Yngling has been called a little sister to the Soling although 'Yngling' actually means youngster. The boat is a sleek and seaworthy small racing keelboat of 6.35m LOA with a displacement of 645Kg and a sail area of 14.0m2. It is described as a cross between a planning dinghy and a keelboat. Approximately 4,000 are currently sailed world wide with associations in 11 countries. Yngling has been an ISFI class since 1979. The IYRU selected the Yngling for its first international women's championship in 1994 and the ISAF chose it for the 2004 Olympic women's keelboat event. Redesigned in 1990 to provide a water tight raised 'double bottom' cockpit sole with bailers on port and starboard just above the waterline. Anyway the girls looked a lot more comfortable sailing the Yngling than posing topless for a calendar aimed at raising money for Team GB (Sailing). I'm still amazed they did that!

On the technical front the Tornado's had been fitted with asymmetric genoas, just in case anyone thought they weren't fast enough already and Chris Draper & Simon Hiscocks, although complaining about a general lack of wind, provided a bronze to Team GB's haul. The Star dinghy soldiers on but, despite recent material & rig upgrades, is 89 years old and has competed in every Olympics that has featured sailing. Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell did their best but for sheer excitement Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks in the 49'ers have it. They were dynamite and despite only delivering 'bronze' were the most interesting to watch. The 49er's, unlike other classes, had view cam's onboard so that you could see the crews working or look at other competitors from the crew's perspective.

At last someone at the BBC has woken up to the sport of sailing and the interest in it. Or could it just be that sailing afforded so many 'quality' medals at the Sydney Olympics Aunty decided she dare not ignore it as she had done in the past; or am I just being cynical?

Mike (SigneT's for the 2008 Olympics) Baker