Paralympics London 2012 Sailing

As an accredited photographer for the London 2012 Paralympics games, my focus of attention was the sailing events taking place at Weymouth and Portland. With three classes, the 2.4R single handed keelboat, the double SKUD 18 class and the Sonar class for three crew, this fantastic venue was always going to deliver a great spectacle. Fickle winds caused by the high pressure area, the heat later in the week with sea breezes and that lump of rock, Portland to get in the way, made for problematic conditions for organisers and crews alike. Races were started and then with 90 degree wind shifts, abandoned, particularly of the Tuesday. The following day provided excellent conditions for sailing and photography. A steady 14 knot breeze provided the action and good directional light provided the photographic opportunities.

For the final day of racing, we were greeted by a media briefing stating that there was just a 10% chance of racing, al to do with the factors mentioned above concerning the high pressure area and Portland providing a wind shadow to the gradient wind. Add in the rules that the last race must be started by 3:00pm; it takes 1 hour and 10 minutes from the time of the AP flag (race postponement) coming down, and that means that the deadline was 1:50pm.
If no racing took place, then the standings to date would rein. That would mean that Helena Lucas would win Gold in the 2.4R class, Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell would win bronze in the Skud18 class and John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas in the Sonar class just missed out on a medal.

Waiting in the media room was painful, so I went out and took some creative images from around the centre. Flags, rocks, boats, notices and even a cauldron of flame was captured. Eventually having consumed copious amounts of coffee, 1:50pm past and the results were declared. Hannah Lucas had become the first British Paralympics sailing gold medallist. A brilliant achievement and backed up by the bronze medal winning Skud18 pairing, a tremendous GBR sailing team result.

A sample selection of images may be found on the gallery here: Paralympics Sailing Gallery