WHILE most Shoalhaven residents have been absorbed in the Rio Olympics, for well-known Nowra doctors Bill and Pat Ryan the games are even more special with two of their grandchildren competing.
Will and Jaime Ryan are both sailors, contesting the 470 (Four-Seventy) class.
Will and his partner Mat Belcher are currently third and are a definite medal chance ahead of Friday morning’s (2.50am AEST) final.
“We have been watching all the games and as much sailing as we can,” said Dr Pat.
“The coverage has been tremendous, but unfortunately we don’t get much of the sailing.
“Thankfully, their parents Frank and Mandy are over there [Rio] and they keep us up to date.”
Complete with specially designed Team Ryan shirts, the proud grandparents scour the coverage for footage.
“We would definitely like more sailing,” Dr Bill said.
“We are both extremely proud, as we are of all our grandchildren.
“Will and Jaime are just two of 18, and they are all drawn to all sorts of things like rugby, sailing, running.
“But this is a thrilling moment.”
And can Will win a medal in Friday’s final?
“You betcha,” came the staunch reply.
Will you be up watching it?
“I don’t know about that” he said.
The final was scheduled for Thursday morning but was delayed until Friday our time due to weather conditions.
Ryan and Belcher have had solid results in the 10-race preliminary series, with two firsts, a second, two thirds, a seventh, two eighths and two 10ths.
The former world champions are currently in third place on 40 penalty points, just two behind the second placed Greek pairing of Mantis and Kagialis and just 13 off leaders, Croatian pair of Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic on 27 points.
With the US two-person dinghy back on 67 points in the 10-boat race, Australia is almost guaranteed a medal.
Aussie gold medal winning sailor, Tom Burton, anticipates an absorbing tactical duel in the delayed men's 470 race.
Jaime and her crewmate Carrie Smith haven’t been as successful, finishing in 15th overall and missed a place on the final by 10 points.
The 470 (Four-Seventy) is a double-handed monohull planing dinghy with a centreboard, Bermuda rig, and centre sheeting. Equipped with a spinnaker, trapeze and a large sail-area-to-weight ratio, it is designed to plane easily, with good teamwork necessary to sail it well. The name comes from the overall length of the boat in centimetres (i.e., the boat is 4.70 metres long).