I had a drink with Christensen a month ago while I was competing at the Musto Skiff Worlds and he was busy training at the Olympic venue. He told me that he was doing some sail testing and would probably pick his sail once we had seen the long-range wind forecast for the Olympic regatta. At the time that sounded like a risky strategy that the prognosis for their next few days suggests that the first half of the Olympic regatta is going to be windy to very windy.
Christensen decided to pick a medium airs sail and a heavy air sail, and today used one for one race and one for the other. he looked fast in both. then again Ben Ainslie said it wasn’t about boat speed today, certainly not on the Nothe course. “You ask any of the guys what it was like, and they will tell you they were going faster times and slow that others, purely based on what wins you found yourself sailing at the time,” said the Brit. The American Zach Railey echoed that. “You don’t go chasing wind on the Nothe course, you work with what you have at the time and make the best of it,” he said, although it was a tough day for the 2008 silver medallist.
A lot of neutrals would like to see Christensen beat Ainslie, as anyone other than Ainslie is seen as the underdog. Christensen certainly got a lot of attention at the mix zone today, but he was keen to manage expectations. “Guys, it's Day 1,” he laughed. “Let’s keep it real and see how we get on.”
Ben Ainslie at the mix zone