The Women's Match racing has been quietly going about its business for the past two weeks, when today, the final day of the sailing events, it burst into life. The increase in wind strength and the final chance of an Olympic medal finally raised the stakes and we saw protest, broaches, a crew overboard and all the match race tactics.
We saw a Spanish crew that almost didn't get to make the trip, as the home sailing authorities thought them not competitive enough, and a young Australian team who twice recovered from being behind to take it to the final race of the Games.
In the end the Spanish team, Tamara Echegoyen, Sofia Toro and Angela Pumariega took the Gold and Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty of Australia the Silver. Two teams that will have raised the profile of match racing with some great sailing and gutsy perfomances.
The best of five final women's match race started in stronger wind conditions then have been seen for the other medal races on the Nothe, and showed what we have missed out on with the light weather conditions on this course.
The first race went to Spain by a nose from the charging Australians, who almost caught them on the downwind run into the line. The wind and wave condiitons promoting ideal surfing chances. 1 to 0 for the Spanish.
Race 2 saw the Aussies fast off the pin end and first round the windward mark. The Australian's kept their lead and in a tacking duel up the second beat led at the windward mark again. All downhill to the finish for the Australians to tie it 1 all.
For race 3 the wind increased with white horses accross the bay. Again Aus started well ahead and below the Spanish who tacked away. At each cross Australia tacked under Spain. Eventually Spain forced Australia to tack and were able to round the windward mark ahead.
Going downwind in the big waves, Australia rode a wave to pass the spanish when a gybe and then a broach threw the helm Olivia Price out the back of the boat. While the crew turned and recovered her the spanish were able to sail away to a second win. 2 - 1 to Spain.
Race 4 and Spain looking to finish it but the Aussies had other ideas. Spain got away and after a couple of attempted crosses, dived under the Aussie stern and tacked back to attempt a starboard on them, but not given. Australia rounded first and kept their lead round the bottom mark and eventually to the finish line to bring it back to 2 - 2.
And so to the final race. After a considerable pre start reverse action sequence, Spain forced the Aussies over the line and were able to break away at the pin end. Crossing the Australians to take the right hand side. At each cross situation both teams tacked away.
Spain rounded the first mark ahead but the Aussies chased them down and got inside before Spain gybed near the mark and were judged to catch the Australians port and starboard. While the Australians did a penalty turn, Spain rouded the bottom mark and set off up the final beat.
Completing the final downwind without incident Tamara Echegoyen, Sofia Toro and Angela Pumariega crossed the line for the second Spanish sailing medal of the 2012 Games. Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty were forced to do another penalty turn before crossing the finish line for Silver. The Finns, Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva and Mikaela Wulff had earlier won the Bronze.
11 August 2012 16:52