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Australian Sailing Team – going with the flow at London 2012

27-July-2012. Australia’s Olympic sailing team has a powerful weapon that they are getting ready to unleash. They plan to use this weapon to go for the gold at the London 2012 Olympics. The Australian Sailing Team has recruited oceanography specialist Tidetech to create a high-resolution tidal model of Weymouth Bay.


The data from the model will be used to help the team find all of the places where the current is roughest inside of the bay. This will give them an advantage and allow them to improve on their tactics before the big race. Tidetech managing director Penny Haire said Weymouth bay was a challenging place to create.


“There are lots of elements contributing to the complexity of tides and currents around Weymouth,” Ms. Haire said.

“To start with, Weymouth is close to Portland Bill where some of the largest tides in the UK can be found. The Bill is a big headland that projects out into the English Channel creating huge eddies in the tide. On the east going flood, a large eddy propagates north into Weymouth Bay creating a complex and dynamic situation and this can be further influenced by the wind.”

The tide coming in and out of the entrances to Portland Harbour is very localized and quite strong, but conversely it’s quite weak at the Nothe where the medal races will be held. To enhance and validate the model we went out in Weymouth Bay with specialist instrumentation including floating GPS buoys to take physical measurements of the current… the buoys provided 60-second observations from around the bay and gave us a physical reading to verify the model data.” Said Ms. Haire.

The different types of tidal currents around Weymouth Bay mean that there can be major differences in the lines across the course. The Australian Sailing team believes that they will have the advantage here. They have been working with tide tech over the past 12 months to develop this model and test the data.

The tidal data will play an important role here and may help to decide the outcome in the largest sailing stage in the world, the 2012 Olympic Games.