Familiar names excel in strong conditions
Blustery winds ranging from 19-24 knots welcomed the sailors on the sixth day of sailing at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, the Olympic Test Event.
And it was the Australians that excelled throughout the day as Tom Slingsby took the lead in the Laser, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen went ahead in the 49er and Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) notched up double bullets.
Belcher and Page put their poor start to the regatta behind them as they won both of their races to move up to second overall in the Men’s 470. After the first four races of the regatta the Men’s 470 ISAF Sailing World Cup title holders had a card of 12-11-10-2 and were down by a considerable margin to leaders Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA). But they found their way on the third day of 470 sailing to remain in contention. Belcher said, “It was nice to be racing inside the harbour and to have that experience again. It felt more like our boat today. It felt normal. We settled down a little bit and we are getting used to the Olympic course.”
Overnight leaders Leboucher and Garos (FRA) remain in the lead after they maintained their consistency from the opening two days of racing. They came second in Race 5 and discarded their ninth in Race 6. They lead on 13 points with the Australians in second on 25 points and Japan’s Tetsuya Matsunaga and Kimihiko Imamura are third on 28 points.
In the Women’s 470 Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) continue to lead after a steady day on the water. The Brits discarded their eighth in Race 5 before coming second in Race 6 to end the day on 14 points. Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JPN) won Race 5 and came fourth in Race 6 to move from fifth to second overall on 24 points. Gil Cohen and Vered Buskila (ISR) won Race 6 and jump up to third place.
Outteridge and Jensen (AUS) swapped places with Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez (ESP) in the 49er after the Australians recorded their third bullet of the regatta in Race 6. The Australians came fifth in Race 4 and seventh in Race 5 before winning Race 6 by six seconds ahead of Gianfranco Sibello and Pietro Sibello (ITA). On their day Outteridge said, “It was really good for us today. It was really windy and a bit shifty but the flat water was great. We had a shocker in Race 4 but that was down to me as I had a swim. We ended fifth because of that. But it didn’t hurt us too much as the Spanish had two swims.”
Outteridge and Jensen lead on 15 points with the Spaniards, who won Race 4, second on 18 points. Race 5 winners Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) are third on 21 points after finishing third in the days other two races.
Australia were once again at the top of the podium in the Laser as ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby (AUS) put in another strong performance. The World #1 came ahead of Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) by six seconds in Race 5 but the Dutchman hit back in Race 6 taking a comfortable 31 second victory. Overnight leader Andrew Murdoch (NZL) went 11-4 to slip to second trailing Slingsby by eight points and Van Schaardenburg’s 2-1 moved him from eighth to third overall on 25 points.
World #1 Laser Radial sailor Marit Bouwmeester (NED) continued her fantastic regatta with her third race win and a second. With eight points she leads Annalise Murphy, in second on 26 points, and Krystal Weir (AUS), on 27 points, in third.
Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) relished the windy conditions on the Weymouth Bay West course to pick up two convincing race wins in the Finn. The Dutchman won Race 3 by 52 seconds and Race 4 by 16 seconds and is third overall on 17 points. Ben Ainslie (GBR) continues to lead on 14 points despite a 6-5 with Jonathan Lobert (FRA) in second on 14 points. Ainslie maintains his lead after his win in Race 2 but with the discard coming into play tomorrow there may well be changes.
ISAF Sailing World Cup Star title holders Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) once again showed they are the team to beat in the 21-boat Star fleet. The Brazilians went 1-2 to lead on five points. Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (USA) won Race 4 but are seventh overall on 31 points.
The Brazilians nearest rivals are Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki. The Polish Star sailors are on 19 points and have a long way to go to catch up with the Brazilians.
The Laser, Laser Radial and 470 enjoy a reserve day tomorrow but the 49er, Finn, RS:X and Stars continue racing. Places 5-8 in the Women’s Match Racing will also be decided tomorrow before Tuesday’s Semi Finals.