SAIL Olympics Update: Recap of the U.S. Win in the Finn Medal Race

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
01-Landing-Page-Opener

For the fifth Olympic Games in a row, Great Britain has won a gold medal in the Finn class, with Giles Scott wrapping things up with a race to spare at the 2016 Olympic sailing regatta in Rio thanks to his domination during the preliminaries. The real story of Tuesday’s medal race, then, became U.S. sailor Caleb Paine’s gutsy win, which coupled with a poor effort from his closest competition leap-frogged him onto the podium for bronze.

As fate would have it, the wind had already settled in pretty well on the notoriously tricky Pao de Acucar course in the shadow of Rio’s iconic Sugarloaf Mountain, with around 10 knots of breeze coming in from the south-southeast. However, when Paine saw what he thought was both better pressure and an advantageous shift shortly after the start, he went for it, even though it meant splitting with the competition and falling behind initially. After that it was play the shifts and keep the boat moving as he led the rest of the way to the finish.

02-Landing-page-2

Better still, while Scott and eventual silver medal winner Vasilij Zbogar of Slovenia were out of reach in terms of the standings, Croatia’s Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, who’d been in third place going into the medal race ended up finishing dead last. As a result, Caleb was more than able to make up the five-point deficit that existed before the race started, vaulting him onto podium: no mean feat in the storied and hyper-competitive Finn Class. Similarly, Swedish sailor Max Salminen, who’d been tied with Paine on points going into the medal race, finished eighth, which dropped him to sixth overall.

“My initial plan was to go a bit left, but I but saw quite a bit of pressure coming down the right side of the course…I was fortunate to catch the pressure all the way and was continuously playing that right side up the beat. I would sail out of it and then tack to sail back into it. On a couple of the courses here in Rio, it actually pays to overstand just because it shifts so much and being in the pressure pays so much,” Paine said.

"It's pretty awesome,” he added. “It's been a pretty tough regatta and to be able to come away with a medal at the end is a great feeling. It was a tough push and a hard medal race, but fortunately enough it makes it easier when you hit the right shifts off the bat, and I just had to make sure I didn't mess it up. I knew if I got ahead and won the race things would become a lot easier. I was fortunate to establish a lead right ahead of time and let everyone else make mistakes, and I sailed the best race I could.”

As the other two medal winners, silver-medalist Zbogar, who has also won a pair of Olympic medals in the Laser class, said: "I managed to survive the week, and I just wanted to be in with a challenge of a medal. I had nothing to gain in the race, but I had everything to lose, as Giles had gold. There was a small chance I could lose it. I knew I couldn't push too much, but I did anyway. Second place for me is something unbelievable.”

"I'm just very tired,” Zbogar added. “The week was very hard, and of course, I'm very happy that everything is finished in a good way with second place, which for me is a dream. I'm extremely proud and happy to be able to sail very consistent all week, to get a medal. That's my last one, I'm finished now."

Scott, on the other hand, who’s victory comes in the wake of Sir Ben Ainslie’s three consecutive gold medals and Iain Percy’s gold in 2000, seemed fairly relaxed after finishing second in the final race of the series.

“It was great to be able to go out and enjoy that race today. The 17th place on day one on the Sugarloaf course was not the way I wanted to start the regatta, and it wasn't until day three or four that I started to believe that the gold was in my grasp,” Scott said. “I've been trying to get to the Olympic Games for at least two cycles, so to qualify for Rio firstly was a huge deal for me and then obviously to come here and win is just fantastic. I'm just so thankful for all the decisions that were made early on in the campaign."

For complete results in the sailing events, click here.

August 2016

Related

Meridian-X-Spin_2

MOB: A Whistle in the Wind

Mark Wheeler went overboard a few minutes before midnight. He was in the middle of Lake Michigan, 30 miles offshore in 40 knots of wind. As he fumbled for the lanyard to inflate his lifejacket he watched his racing sailboat, Meridian X, disappear into the night at more than 18 ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Slapper stopper  When I came on deck at 0800 to hoist my colors on a visitors’ mooring recently, there was an awkward slop running in. This doesn’t trouble my Mason 44, which has a traditional counter ...read more

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more

North_new

Gear: North Sails Waterproof Pack

A few years ago, North Sails made a big push into the apparel business with all kinds of sharp-looking button-down shirts, shorts and fleeces. That doesn’t mean, though, that the North Sails Collection isn’t still plenty practical, as is evident in its new roll-over waterproof ...read more