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Tokyo2020: Day 1 - Light winds prove to be a great leveller

by Richard Gladwell/ 25 Jul 2021 16:33 BST 26 July 2021
Tokyo2020 - Day 1 - July, 25 - Enoshima, Japan. Alison Young (GBR) - Race 1 - Laser Radial © Richard Gladwell - / nz

It is hard to know what the take-out from the first day of racing at Tokyo2020 should be.

Certainly the pre-series favorites were scattered well through all the fleets, particularly in the Mens and Womens One Person Dinghy - formerly known as the Laser and Laser Radial, but now as the ILCA7 an ILCA6 respectively.

Most of our day was spent on the ILCA courses, with the Womens fleet starting around midday and the Men starting mid-afternoon around 3.00pm.

The wind initially came out from the corner of the bay on what was probably the Kamakura course. The Windsurfers were based on the Enoshima course closest to the marina, and what will be the stadium course for the Medal racing.

The wind was light - generously described officially as being around 8kts, but felt a lot less that that.

It was very hot on the water, with a good dose of humidity thrown in for good measure. Not sure how the sailors handled the conditions while racing, but keeping hydrated was essential, and with the ILCA races running to 45 minutes, that was plenty of time to et overcooked. Of course carrying copious amount of water on boat is not fast.

For most of the heavy hitters their demise began on the start line, with little option but to just go with the traffic flow, and there was nothing offered by the way of windshifts to effect a recovery.

Those that did well put their stamp on the fleet in the opening stanzas of each race.

The heat and humidity requires cold/iced drinks to keep the body temperature down, and if this is not down then concentration suffers - making recovery a more fraught exercise.

Certainly this day measured in litres of liquid drunk, as much as the air temperature and wind strength, however the mere mortals on the photoboats did six hours on the water, compared to the competitors' three.

The wind died completed at the end of the first race in the ILCA6 for women, swing around to become a seabreeze, generated to cool the surrounding landmass and its dark vegetation.

Initially the breeze cracked in at a healthy 12knots with the occasional whitecap, and there was the initial hope that the form sailors would be able make up for the errors in the first race.

But while they got close, the Womens fleet were unable to get the bots to plane and it was the same with the Men's fleet.

With the winds predicted to increase on Day 2, there may be some return to form, but today was a dagger blow to the heart for many Olympic medal aspirations.

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