Olympic legacy factor gets Dorset buzzing

Across the bay, families, couples and friends were enjoying the laid-back traditional delights of a typical, sunshine and clouds British summer holiday, including donkey rides on the sands, but a couple of miles away there was tension in the air. Olympic tension.

The 2012 Games may have just under two years to kick off in London, but down in Dorset things are buzzing this week. Top squads from 57 countries are doing battle. The tracks are not temporary or computer-generated. This is real.

The shadow of possible budget cuts to run the Games hangs over all of the Olympic events as the government works towards its spending review decisions, but one of the major selling points in the overall British bid, the legacy factor, is being delivered long before the Games take place.

The former Portland naval base has been transformed and was long ago identified as the preferred venue to host not just the Olympics but the national training base for all of Britain’s elite sailors, as a site for the complementary Portland Marina, which is also up and running, and as a host for regattas regional, national and international.

So far, everything is running smoothly, on time, and expected to be within its £8.5m. budget. If there is an immediate tight fit it is trying to squeeze 975 athletes, their 212 coaches, loads of officials and media in to the time and space available.

It will not be as crowded as it is now come the Games. Then, there is a maximum limit of 380 athletes and the village which will house them will be completed. This week there is only a show flat to see.

As an equipment sport, sailing takes up a lot of room. There are fewer boats for the rowers and a lot fewer horses for the equestrians, but there is a justifiable feeling that, if the organisation can cope this year, then it should be a whole lot easier two years down the line.

Previously this Skandia Sail for Gold regatta has been in the hands of the national governing body, the Royal Yachting Association, but this time the Games management team is much in evidence.

The sailing manager is Rob Andrews, who has seen many Olympic venues in his time as a coach, and the field of play manager is Rod Carr, a former UK Olympic coach, chief executive of the RYA, a chef de mission at previous games and recent recipient of the CBE.

The technical operation manager, who includes scrutineering of all the equipment among his tasks, is Pete Allam, an Olympic bronze medallist in the Flying Dutchman with Jo Richards, in 1984, and the fourth member of the quartet is Tessa Bartlett, the sailing services manager, who will return after taking maternity leave.

Either co-operating with them and all of the race officers on five courses, or on their backs, is a team from the world governing body, the Southampton-based International Sailing Federation.

The call, as it is nationally, is also out for volunteers. “We are looking at the low hundreds and they will also be chosen from applicants nationally and internationally, but we hope there will be a good representation of locals,” says Andrews.

There is at least some evidence that the locals are already taking the visitors to their hearts. Many teams have already set up, or plan to, their training camps. The Japanese, for instance, have already been here for two months.

A maximum of four or five will be given facilities in the Olympic venue in the rest of the time running up to the Games. Those already in the area have been pleasantly surprised at being greeted and engaged in supermarket queues when out buying the evening pasta.

For the public, in addition to coming down to the Olympic village this week, they can also expect to be offered taster sessions in a sailing boat and on Saturday, when all the medals are decided, the week-long commentary being streamed on the internet, will be attached to live television on big screens.

The problem of driving in and out of the Portland cul-de-sac will not have gone away, but Andrews insists: “We have a major opportunity to deliver a great Games for the competitors. Good racing conditions will also make it look awesome.”

The classes:

R-SX Windsurfer, Men: The 2.86m board has a 9.5 sq.m. sail for the men and is highly athletic. The equipment is supplied and the races are over short courses close to the land.

R-SX Windsurfer, Women: The women use the same board as the men but have a smaller sail area, 8.5 sq. m.

Laser (Men): the Bruce Kirby-designed simple hull, single mast and single sail first appeared in 1969 but was not chosen as an Olympic class until 1996. There are now about 170,000 worldwide and for the Olympic Games the equipment is supplied. Ideal crew weight 80/82kg.

Laser Radial (Women); The version for the women replaced the Europe singlehander for women in 2008 and uses the same hull as that used by the men. But the mast is shorter and the sail area reduced. Ideal crew weight 60 to 70kg.

Finn: Singlehander, single mast, single sail but for heavier competitors than the Laser – perhaps over 90kg even up to 97kg in windier conditions. Designed in Finland by Richard Sarby for the Helsinki Games in 1952. The yacht campaigned by IOC president Jacques Rogge.

470 dinghy (Men and Women): Was designed in France by Andre Cornu in 1963 and was first sailed in the Games in 1976, when it was an open class in which men and women could compete. The women were given their own fleet in 1988. The boat is still high performance in a breeze, but is now dated and, as a class, is perhaps the most vulnerable in the event of either change or a reduction in classes in 2016.

49-er : is the high performance two-man dinghy with boat crew using trapeze wires to lean out from the racks attached to the side of each hull. Easy to tip up, need high agility and run short races, but more of them, in an Olympic series. First seen at the Sydney Olympic in 2,000, on the home waters of Australian designer Frank Bethwaite.

Star: two-man keel-boat class which was designed by Francis Swelguth in 1911 and first appeared in the 1932 Olympic Games. Needs a fast-thinking crew, preferably heavy upfront, to control a very tweaky, sensitive 22’ 7” boat which has no spinnaker, but a very fragile, very thin mast.

Elliott 6m: Will make its first appearance in 2012 after the Yngling was dropped as a three-woman keelboat for replaced and replaced by this 6m keelboat, designed by New Zealander Greg Elliott. The supplied equipment will again be used by three-woman crews, maximum all-up weight 205kg, but in a one-on-one match series instead of racing as a fleet.

Ones to watch: Finn: The internal war between reigning gold medallist Ben Ainslie and two other Brits who have been improving while he has been away, Ed Wright and Giles Scott.

49-er: There are  five hot pairings in the British squad with Stevie Morrison/Ben Rhodes now neck and neck with Chris Draper/Pete Greenhalgh.

Star: The reigning British gold medallists will to return to form quickly against the Brazilians and the French.

RSX Men: Winning the “leather”`medal last time was not good enough for a Nick Dempsey now free from injury.

RSX Women: Bronze for Bryony Shaw in China made her “very happy” but hoping for more on her home waters.

470 Women: Double gold medallist Sarah Ayton with 470 crew Saskia Clark are on an upward trend.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn