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Olympics-Sailing-Yachtsmen 'tack on' to grab Olympic advantage

A typhoon earlier in the week threatened to give Tokyo 2020 Olympic sailors more than they could handle, but as the opening series of races reaches its climax, they are trying to take the wind from each other's sails, literally and figuratively.

Olympics-Sailing-Yachtsmen 'tack on' to grab Olympic advantage

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Sailing - Men's 49er - Opening Series - Enoshima Yacht Harbour - Tokyo, Japan - July 29, 2021. Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell of Britain in action. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

ENOSHIMA, Japan: A typhoon earlier in the week threatened to give Tokyo 2020 Olympic sailors more than they could handle, but as the opening series of races reaches its climax, they are trying to take the wind from each other's sails, literally and figuratively.

Leaders Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell have a target on their backs after a strong start in the men's 49er class, and the Britons found their competitors 'tacking on', or blocking the wind, in a bid to catch up.

"They just 'sit on our wind', as it's called. They give us less wind coming from behind them, and it makes it very difficult to get free, especially when it's consistently happening and happening downwind," Fletcher explained.

"It's brilliant really, it's a compliment in a way, but it's not nice when you're battling it out," his team-mate Bithell added.

A slate of 21 races across nine classes is set for Thursday with the first four starting almost simultaneously, leaving a handful of spectators following from the shoreline not knowing where to look at times, as the boats bobbed on the choppy waves.

"It's pretty nice, pretty much perfect conditions for sailing, 10-12 knots, a little bit lighter than yesterday and the waves are a little bit smaller as well, it was really enjoyable," said Irish sailor Robert Dickson, who together with Sean Waddilove lies in seventh place in the 49er category.

With six races in the opening series down and six more left to go to decide the medals, there is plenty of time left for changes in field positions.

Later in the afternoon the Olympic windsurfers also made their way out onto the waves to begin deciding the last of their qualifying series of races ahead of Saturday's medals.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

Source: Reuters

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