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The Great Rio Sailing Mystery solved?

One of the great mysteries of the Rio Olympic sailing events was why the televised events were restricted to the near shore bay events.

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While boats drifted around the inshore courses, the TV commentators struggled to fill the time with snippets of information from the offshore courses, where apparently some great sailing was taking place.

Sailing that would have made great television and front page reporting for the sport, if we had been allowed to see it.

On the second day of racing in Rio, the Finn fleet was sent out to the Niteroi course area. Conditions were benign inside the bay, as the millions of TV viewers will testify, but outside on the ocean it was a very different story.

The mountainous backdrop of Rio and Niteroi was matched by mountainous seas, 20-25 knot winds and torrential rain, for an unforgettable day of extremely challenging sailing conditions.

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It got even tougher on Day 3.

The Finns were supposed to race inside Guanabara Bay, but the extreme conditions outside had made it unsafe for the scheduled classes, so the Finns were sent out again to battle through huge seas and big winds on the Copacabana course area.

But at least the sun was out to showcase some of the best Olympic sailing ever seen, set against the magnificent Rio shoreline with the towering Corcovado belittling everything below.

Well, one year to the day since the Finns started their first races in Rio under the Sugarloaf, the - non-existant - videos have suddenly been made available on the Olympic Channel.

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Apparently thanks to the efforts of World Sailing (!) the Olympic Channel has now published highlights of almost all the Finn races in Rio including the much talked about offshore races that everyone has been clamouring to watch.

And while I thank Robert Deaves of the Finn class for informing us that this was available now, what about the other classes that raced on the outside courses?

Why they were not shown live at the time and why they have taken a year to surface is not explained.

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The Olympics and World Sailing lost a great opportunity to show sailing in extreme conditions – supreme athletes at the top of their game, displaying absolute fitness and superb control of a thoroughbred design that can handle with ease anything that nature throws its way.

Many people came away from watching the sailing at Rio with a very poor experience, what we were shown did sailing no favours.

And did I hear that they got some award! Perhaps the award presenters saw the footage we never did.

You can view all of the Finn outside race videos through the links here.

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G New
10 August 2017 8:17 GMT


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