Despite scoring his best numbers thus far on Wednesday, Rob Crane’s Olympic sailing adventure has been no day at the beach.
“Sixteenth and 26th, which is better than the last two days, but still, not really all that good,” said US Sailing team Laser racer Crane, 26 of Darien, following day three of competition in Weymouth, England. “So, not too thrilled with it. But, it’s still better than the last two days, so, that’s good I suppose.”
Through six of 10 qualifying races, Crane is in 32nd place. The top 10 sailors qualify for the medal event Monday. Racing resumes with the seventh qualifier Friday.
Difficult conditions have prevailed, the wind not waiting for sailors to hit the course.
“We were on the west course, and we sailed our usual course — the trapezoid — so you pretty much approach it the same way you would normally,” Crane said of Wednesday’s races five and six. “It was a very tactical day, at least for the first race today. And you had to be sure what the wind was doing, before the race.”
Teammates were abuzz with what they called “very shifty sailing” due to the atmospheric tempests of summer in the UK.
“I’m a little disappointed with how it’s gone to this point,” Crane said, still, doing his best in the first race of the day with the top 20 finish. “It’s been breezy — and usually I like the breeze — but for some reason this week, just physically, I think, I just haven’t been where I need to be, and I’m not really sure why.
“And the results have been poor.”
He hasn’t come this far to just chuck the towel into the Channel, though.
“Four races left, hopefully I can turn it around a little bit at the end,” he said.
Crane’s 16th place marks quite the turnaround already.
He opened up with a 35th place finish, followed by coming in 42nd of 49 boats in races one and two respectively on Monday.
“Even though I wasn’t where I needed to be tactically, I was able to figure out what was going on, on the course,” Crane added of his fifth-race improvement. “And pull a bit of a good race off, I guess you could call it, through smoke and mirrors.”
So maybe some of the magic is returning to Crane’s game?
“I did it with mental games, rather than with the physical stuff,” he said.
Is Crane’s not being where he needs to be anything to do with being, where he is: at the ultimate water-steaming pressure cooker of the Olympics themselves?
“Yes and no,” he said. “Sure, it’s a little bit different (from any regatta), but I mean, still, sailboat racing is the same; the water’s the same, the wind’s the same.”
Clearly though, Crane since Monday, has just not been himself.
“I really don’t have an answer as to why I’ve been struggling physically, it’s been disappointing to me,” he said. “These are the conditions I usually like quite a bit.”
Crane excelled in similar shifty winds in his last big race.
“We had a similar style in Sail for the Gold (regatta), and I was going really well there,” he said. “But for some reason this week it’s just not happening.”
Thursday’s day off is just what he need’s to regroup, and air out.
“Hopefully a little bit of rest will turn it around,” Crane said. “I’ll probably watch a little (sailing) on t.v. — I don’t think I’ll be going out on the water.”
Heavy rain is expected.
“I got wet enough today,” he said.