Olympic Games 1996
Red Sky at Night Reports
Interview with Skip Whyte, US Coach for Men's and Women's Boards, assisting coaching with the 470's
DM: Who are your picks for the top three positions in the IMCO Class?
SW: The top three is hard to pick, but in men's the Greek Kaklamanakis is defending world champion and is very tough Aaron Mcintosh from New Zealand is also a top contender.
Joao Rodrigues (Portugal) won the Worlds in South Africa and won two major events in europe this spring has to be considered a top contender, but there are a host of others with very legitimate aspirations.
DM: Any dark horses, persons that no one knew about?<BR>
SW: No surprises. I don't see anyone here who wasn't legitimate before they got here. Tony Philp of Fiji could be a contender.
DM: Womens 470?
SW: Maud Hebert from France has won the last 3 worlds, we'd have to consider her to be right up there. Barbara Kendall , the defending gold medallist is sailing very well right now, Lai Shan Lee from Hong Kong is very consistent and always in the front of the pack.
DM: She would be the first, and only Olympic medal winner from Hong Kong before the territory is turned over to China in 2000.
SW: Yeah, that would make a good story.
DM: The 470's -- what happened with the men's 470's from the US? Was someone doing something that they shouldn't have done?
SW: Well, it's always been a bit fuzzy as to whether fairing your hull is legal or not. The class language is fuzzy. A lot of boats get faired and no one finds out about it. Our boat got faired and the measurement committee found out about it. The measurers said, don't bring it to measurement. Which is actually a great bonus, that we found this out before going to measurement, for the rule is that if you go to measurement and are rejected, you get assigned a boat, instead of getting to pick your own replacement. We were able to get a good replacement. Squeaky clean (laughs).
A large number of good competitors here make it hard to pick the top three. Certainly our guys from the US are contenders, the Greek guys (Andreas Kosmatopoulos/Konstantinos Trigonis) who won a worlds in Canada are looking good, the Brits (Merricks and Walker) are struggling a bit right now but their track record in big events is good. The Spanish sailors (Jordi Calafat/Fransisco Sanchez) who won a gold last time in Barcelona is struggling a bit now, he's a bit of a longshot. The Kouwenhoven brothers from the Netherlands who won the worlds in Brazil they are really big guys. If we have a windy series they can do it , but if we have light wind they could be in trouble. The guys from Finland (Petri Leskinen/Mika Aarnikka) who just missed winning a medal last time they're big guys, but they've lost a lot of weight training for the Olympics, getting in peak shape. It's a tough call, there are a lot of really good teams. I forgot perhaps a really top team, the Italians. I'll tell you right now, they are sailing better than the British.
DM: Quite a few sets of brothers sailing the 470's this time aren't there?
SW: Twins, brothers, I haven't seen the complete entry list yet, but there are probably five sets of brothers.
DM: Any father and son teams out there?
DM: Dads get too old for the 470's like you and I, eh?
SW:(Laughs) yep, over the hill.
DM: Women's 470?
SW: Teresa Zabell, odds on favorite, Kristina Stookey and Louise van Voorhis, the US sailors are looking very good, Japanese (Yumiko Shige/Alicia Kinoshita) are good, they're good in men's 470 too. The Germans (Susanne Bauckholt Meyer/Kathrin Adlkofer) are always good, but we'll see if they are ready for the Olympics this time . The field is certainly smaller in Women's 470s in terms of countries that have consistently been in the hunt. Oh... the Ukrainian team (Ruslana Taran/Olena Pakholchik) is a highly probable medal.
DM: How are the conditions out on the sound? Reports I've heard are that the swell can turn choppy fairly quickly when the wind comes up.
SW: Well, not necessarily. You have 3 outer courses where you can get some swell. And yes it can get choppy in ebb conditions more so than floods.
DM: How about Alpha Course?:
SW: Alpha is much more closed, less swell oriented. We had swell for awhile, but with the westerlies blowing, it's going to be pretty flat there. Alpha has two personalities, one side you can get some swell, the other side is quite flat.
DM: Which side is which?
SW: The northern side is rough, southern side is flat.
DM: thanks for your time and we wish you luck out there.
SW: Say hi to the guys at the Cornell Laser camp for me.
Red Sky At Night Report