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Saturday, 4 August 2012

I've been to the Olympics

The Sailing Post

I'm no sailor, I've no fear of the water, but my occasional forays onto the water have mainly been for fishing. My main claim to fame is sinking a wind surfer. But beggars cannot be choosers when is comes to Olympic tickets and when the shock of the ticket system working wore off, I found myself the proud owner of a ticket for the sailing at Weymouth.

It was a 12 noon start to the action and I timed leaving on the motorcycle to avoid the "isolated heavy showers" promised for Friday. I failed on this account and got thoroughly drenched but by the time I started to see Olympic flags, directions and shuttle buses, the sun had come out and Weymouth was looking like a little part of the Med rather than a corner of Dorset, known for its fossils (Jurassic and human)

Slightly concerned about where to leave the bike, I pulled up to a "road closed" barrier only to be waved through and directed to motorcycle parking by the harbour, only 5 mins from the venue. I followed the crowds and lined up to queue. Everything was well organised and I was through in 10 ins, got my tickets with only slightly less checks than I would get visiting the Pentagon, was cheerfully searched and off I went.

The Nothe venue was really well set up. Hats off to the organisers, not only was the choice of food excellent and varied, it was at a reasonable price. The coffee was good and the loos clean enough to eat your lunch off, not that I tried that. I wandered over with my lunch and took my place on the grass by the big screen, really not knowing what to expect.

The Nothe course is one of many used on the day, and it runs right in front of you. The 49er class was the most exciting as they were fast and colourful. A cheery crowd were enjoying themselves, I'm sure more Pimms was consumed than at Wimbledon as jugs of the stuff was slurped all over the hill we were sitting on. A kind fellow spectator helped me out with what was going on and I finally felt part of the Olympics.

The big screen was good for following the other races and, the local announcers did a fab job and Seb Coe turned up to general acclaim and did a good interview.

I left before the end, to get ahead of the traffic, which mainly worked, though I did find that the Jurassic Coast is also home to some "Jurassic Drivers" who though that 42 mph was just fine. Luckily, the motorcycle meant I could "make progress" and I was soon heading back into Bath and off home.

All in all, a brilliantly run event, who would have thought that sailing was a spectator sport? The image I'll take away, walking back to my bike, was that of Weymouth, of people sitting outside, enjoying an early evening drink and making England look a lovely place to be.

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