In the video above it looks like Ben Ainslie did something unusual with Robert Scheidt, and I don't understand why or what has really happened.

Why did preventing Scheidt from finishing 21th or higher cause Ainslie to win if he couldn't finish in a better position, and why was Scheidt disqualified in the end?

1 Answer 1


Why preventing the other from finishing 21th or higher would cause him to win if he himself couldn't finish in a better position

The competition was over the course of 11 races. But only the 9 best finishes for a racer are used in the final scoring.

Going into the final race, Ainslie's second-worst finish was 11th, but Scheidt's second-worst finish was 20th. If both finish high, they can drop those scores, but if both finish in the back, those scores will count. That's a 9 point swing and would be sufficient for Ainslie to win gold by one point. No other racer could win the gold, even if they won the final race.

If Ainslie won the race, Scheidt would have to finish further back than 7th to lose the gold. That was very unlikely.

Ainslie's tactic was therefore to impede Scheidt as much as possible, letting someone else win, but ensuring Scheidt had to count the 20th place finish. He did this by getting windward of the other boat and going tack-for-tack exactly with him to keep the wind off Scheidt's sail.

why was Scheidt disqualified in the end?

During one of the turning points, Scheidt made an aggressive move and the two boats made contact. This was actually the point where Scheidt moved clear and was able to finish without further interference. Ainslie protested that he had not been given sea room at that point, and the protest was later upheld. I believe this incident is shown at the turn starting around 5:25 in your linked video.

Per a sail-world.com article:

[Scheidt] then applied some of his own highly skilled tactics but committed a rare breach at a rounding mark which fired a protest from Ainslie...


This became a no win situation for the defending Gold Medallist and four times World champion Scheidt when the jury dismissed his protest then disqualified him on the evidence presented by Ainslie.

Scheidt's DSQ had no effect on the final scores (since his 21st place finish on the water would have also been dropped).

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