The heat is on as a light sea breeze builds from 6 to 10 knots for the first day's racing
Nick Rogers and Jo Glanfield put themselves in the lead in the 470 mens’ class after scoring a second and third in the opening races of the Olympic Games here in Athens. The pair who narrowly missed out on a medal at the Sydney Olympics were clearly delighted and indeed relieved to have got their campaign off to a good start.
“Getting two good results in the bag on the opening day is very important and helps to take some of the pressure off,” said Rogers. “We only have one discard in this event so you don’t want to come away with a DSQ and an 18th as that really puts the pressure on for the rest of the event.”
Conditions on both race courses were light with the breeze at just 6 knots for the first race and increasing to 10 by the time the second race got under way. As the breeze increased and started to crank around towards the East there were plenty of opportunities to get caught out, but Rogers and Glanfield kept their heads and made the best of the conditions.
“The reason we did well today was that we got two cracking starts, held our lane and waited until others were spat out, which meant we could then chose where we wanted to go,” said Rogers.
Shirley Robertson and her crew in the Yngling also put their consistent start to the event down to good starts on the water.
“We had a cracking start in both races,” said Sarah Ayton. “We’ve struggled in the past in light conditions and have worked very hard on this so we’re really pleased with today’s results.”
Current overall leaders in the Yngling class are the French with Marion Deplanque and her crew having scored a 3rd and a 2nd.
Ben Ainslie got off to a more erratic start with a 9th in the first race and a second in the second to put him fourth overall.
“In the first start I ended up at the port end of the line and then had to go right, not good. But I decided to take an initial hit and take few transoms and try to get back into the race,” he said, seemingly undeterred by the result. “I’ve begun my last two Olympics with pretty bad starts,” he joked.
His second race was a more in keeping with Ainslie’s style, jostling with Polish sailor Mateusz Kusznierewicz at the front of the fleet.
“The first run was good and I got into the lead,” he said, “but on the second Mateuz had got past and I ran into a quieter patch and got a bit stuck.
“I could have worked a bit harder to get him back but I had a jury boat on me and I didn’t want to risk a yellow flag [penalty] all for the sake of one point.”
The Pole leads overall having scored a 3rd in the first race. Meanwhile, Ben Ainslie’s team mate at Team New Zealand Dean Barker scored a 5th and 11th to put him 7th overall.
In the 470 women’s class Brit sailors Christina Bassadone & Katherine Hopson returned a 6th in the first race and were looking for a midfield result in the second until they dropped to 15th in the second race leaving them 11th overall.
Overall winners in their class after the first day’s racing are the Greek crew of Sofia Bekatorou and Aimilia Tsoulfa drove their point home with a 1st and a 2nd.
Tomorrow’s racing sees the Europe, Laser and Mistral classes out on the water for their opening races while the 470s, Finns and Ynglings are out for their second round.
Weather conditions for tomorrow look like being similar to those of today after which a Meltemi is expected for Monday.