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London Olympics: A sailing primer

The venue

Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, Weymouth, England

• Weymouth, a town of about 50,000, is on the coast of England, about 120 miles southwest of London.

The events

• Athletes compete in 10 events. The men race in the Finn, Laser, Star and 49er classes. The women compete in the Elliott 6m and Laser Radial classes. Men and women sail the RS:X, a windsurfer, and 470.

The format

• All classes compete in fleet-style racing, except for the Elliott 6m, which has a match racing format, similar to that of the America's Cup.

The sailors

• A total of 57 nations are sending 380 sailors to Weymouth. The United States, France, Great Britain and New Zealand are the only countries that qualified sailors in each class.

The schedule

• Clearwater's Zach Railey in Finn and St. Petersburg native Mark Mendelblatt in Star begin racing July 29. The finals in both those classes is Aug. 5. Clearwater's Paige Railey in Laser Radial starts sailing July 30. The final of her class is Aug. 6. The entire sailing competition will be live streamed on

The U.S. Team

Laser Radial (women's one-person dinghy): Paige Railey

Finn (men's one-person dinghy heavy): Zach Railey

RS:X (windsurfer): Farrah Hall, Annapolis, Md.

470 (men's two-person dinghy): Stu McNay, Boston, and Graham Biehl, San Diego

Laser (men's one-person dinghy): Rob Crane, Darien, Conn.

RS:X (Windsurfer): Bob Willis, Chicago

49er (men's two-person dinghy high performance): Erik Storck, Huntington, N.Y., and Trevor Moore, Naples

Star (men's keelboat): Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih, Miami

470 (women's two-person dinghy): Amanda Clark, Shelter Island, N.Y., and Sarah Lihan, Fort Lauderdale

Elliott 6m (women's match racing): Anna Tunnicliffe, Plantation; Molly Vandemoer, Stanford, Calif.; Debbie Capozzi, Bayport, N.Y.



• The Olympic heavyweight dinghy debuted in 1952 at Helsinki and has been part of every Olympic Regatta since. This centerboard boat has a crew of one and is 4.5 meters long.


• It's the world's most popular single-handed racing dinghy. The one-design boat can be equipped with three different rigs, Standard, Radial and 4.7, to accommodate sailors of different sizes. Men began sailing the Laser at the 1996 Olympic. The Laser Radial debuted for women in 2004. The hull is 4.23 meters long.


• The International Star Class has been a favorite for hard-core competitors for more than 100 years. The one-design racing keel boat made its Olympic debut in 1932. It has a two-person crew and a hull length of 6.92 meters. It is to be dropped from the Games in 2016.

Terry Tomalin, Times outdoors/fitness editor

London Olympics: A sailing primer 07/22/12 [Last modified: Sunday, July 22, 2012 11:06pm]
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