Case Study 2: Skandia British Sailing Team
Working with the Skandia British sailing team is both a challenging and varied project that Libby
joined in 2007 to help head up the already established weather program, ahead of the Beijing
Olympic Games in 2008
Having been working at the Met Office for 3 and 1/2 years and having put her own Olympic
ambitions on the back burner, this new role with the Skandia British Sailing Team was an opportunity
not to be passed up.
This ongoing project involves many different skills from helping to educate the sailors, gathering
venue information, develop on the water and land based weather monitoring equipment and
forecasting for many different venues around the globe.
The Olympic venue, Qingdao, proved to be very challenging. With limited time in the venue and very
little in the way of real time data due to a local Chinese law restricting any opportunity to gather data ,
every day was critical and a more probabilistic forecast was developed.
Through training and in the build up to Games, including the test event, the venue was plagued with
light winds, strong tide, foggy conditions and some incredible volumes of seaweed which was leading
everyone to a very testing event.
Some of the biggest gains that were made at this venue were being able to identify the days where
confidence could be high in the forecast, allowing people to make the relevant equipment choices
for their days racing and also the days when postponements were called but racing was still going to
happen at some point. Probably the best example of this situation was the 3 attempts by the Finn Class
to complete the final Medal Race.
A typical day for Libby during the Olympic Games went generally as follows:
0530 Arise and shine and prepare the forecast
0815 Brief the sailors and coaches at accommodation
1000 Update the sailors and coaches on any new developments, in venue ahead of racing
1200 Brief second start sailors in venue
1900 De-brief the days weather and gather feedback on the conditions
With 2012 fast approaching and even now looking ahead to 2016 this ongoing project continues
to provide some fantastic challenges and opportunities and you will be able to follow these here at