Monday, August 18, 2008

Anna Tunnicliffe... the battle for Gold.

Qingdao China - August 18, 2008 - With only one day remaining before the Olympic Medal Race, the fickle Qingdao weather came good on us today and the Laser Radials completed three races to bring the total for our series up to nine races.

My score for the day was 15-2-2 and that puts me back in the overall lead, eight points clear of the second boat overall, and 12 points ahead of the third boat. Because of the points spread, I’m guaranteed to win a medal. Tomorrow’s double points race for the top ten boats will decide what it will be.

We had new wind from the northwest at around 14-16 knots when we started racing at 11:00 am. There was a leftover sea from yesterday fighting a chop that was building from the northwest and that helped keep things interesting. The day started a little hazy and cloudy by cleared as time wore on.

My start in the first race wasn’t stellar but I settled down clear of the line and got into a good lane going out to the left and was in the top ten at that point. At one point I could have tacked and crossed over to the right and it turns out that I should have because the breeze came in hard on that side. However I liked the left and wanted to continue that way. At the weather mark I was 14th and I pretty much stayed there for the rest of the race, finishing 15th. It helped that I knew I was in the company of several fleet leaders. That, plus the knowledge that the point’s leader had made a premature start, kept me a little calmer throughout the race.

The breeze dropped a little for the next race. This time I wanted the right side. I didn’t have a good start but I tacked out and got across to the right and was on top of a pack of seven or eight boats headed right when eventually the right shift came in. We tacked into it and kept getting little bursts of right pressure that carried us up to the mark in good shape. I rounded 4th, lost a boat on the second beat but gained on the reach and the run to finish second.

Before the last race of the day, my coach and I spent some time checking scores to see if I needed to make any tactical moves. However it came down to the simple fact that I needed to sail another good race and that’s what I set out to do. My start wasn’t great but I played the middle, keeping a close watch on my two major competitors. I was 12th at the first windward mark and was still 11th at the end of the run, but pulled up to second on the second beat and held that place to the finish.

I’ll continue to send reports like this until racing is over but you can also follow the racing live on web-TV at You can get leg-by-leg race updates and overall results if you go to and click on Laser Radial Women in the left-hand column.

Until the Olympics are over, you’ll notice some changes in the content of my reports and where they are located on my website. To comply with International Olympic Committee regulations designed to protect its sponsors’ interests, my reports are appearing on my special Qingdao Olympic Blog.

The URL for the page is There is also a link from the home page of my website. The blog page includes hotlinks to official results and competition photos.

Sail hard