Relief, tension and despair across the fleets after the medal race cut was made in several classes
The first race of the day launched Australian Tom Slingsby into the medals as he scorched off the front of the fleet in the Lasers. So long as he was not disqualified in the second race of the day and the last of the fleet races, he was a further important step towards Olympic Gold in the medal races which will be held on Monday.
His closest competitor the Cypriot sailor Pavlos Kontides finished 7th leaving him 11 points behind Slingsby.
Goodison finished 9th in the first race today, a reasonable achievement in the tricky conditions perhaps, but the result was a crushing blow threatening to drop him out of medal contention.
In his second race Goodison was further up the field spending much of the race in fourth, but it was still too little too late for a medal. By the finish he had dropped to 8th and any possibility of a medal was now over. Britain’s first medal casualty, his only consolation was a place in the medal race.
Meanwhile, Tom Slingsby was confirming that he really had found his stride by leading the second race from the start. His dominant performance had also left him with a 14 point advantage and a guaranteed Silver medal. A comforting position, but Slingsby only has eyes for Gold.
There was more bad news for British supporters in the Laser Radials as Alison Young was black flagged in the re-start for the first race, a big disappointment for her and one that damaged her medal prospects. But the news got worse.
Finishing 4th in the second race was an impressive comeback but her medal prospects were dead, a big blow given her impressive performance earlier in the week.
Meanwhile at the front of the fleet it was the Chinese sailor Lijia Xu, who is often a hot prospect in light conditions, was demonstrating why she is up in the front running, winning the first race. In the second she was second behind Netherlands’ Marti Bouwmeester.
Ireland’s Annalise Murphy surprised many given her heavy weather abilities with a superb performance in the light, muscling her way into second and while she only managed a 7th in the second race she finished the day in third, just one point behind the leading pair, China and Netherlands. Indeed, the top four boats, CHN, NED, IRL, BEL are just one point apart making for a thrilling medal race.
Unfortunately, although Britain’s Alison Young, fifth overall was a fantastic position for a first time Olympian she was 18 points adrift of 3rd and a fourth in the second race placed her out of medal contention.
In the RSX women the Ukranian sailor Olga Maslivets won the opening race with Israli Lee Korzits in second and Spain’s Marina Alabau coming in third. The overall results after the first race of the day left the Spanish sailor in the lead by 7 points with three races to go until the medal race. Certainly no done deal but Alabau has had a consistent string of results with three firsts two seconds and a third to count.
In the second race of the day the finish order changed with the Spanish girl posting her worst position a 7th and Korzits winning the race but there was no change to the overall results. The points gap between these two has now closed to just three points.
Britain’s Bryony Shaw finished the first race in 7th and the second in fifth maintaining her 7th overall, enough to get her in the medal race as it stands at present, but a tough position from which to climb back into medal contention.
In the men’s RSX Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberge appears to be cruising to a Gold with just two races to go. He leads Nick Dempsey, who had a good day today with a 2nd and 3rd, by 15 points but when Rijsselberge’s only third place is his discard it is clear to see why he is leading the field. Dempsey has his work cut out to stop the Dutchman and he knows it, especially as he is being chased hard by Germany’s Toni Wilhelm who is currently on equal points.
In the Match Racing the British team was fighting to get into the semi finals. In the end they did, but only just. On the more positive side, with the Round Robin over the slate is wiped clean and the knockout phase begins.
“It’s a very different Olympic regatta for us,” said British crewmember Annie Lush. “Hopefully that early week of Olympic nerves is now over and we basically start again now. We’ve got our Olympic experience now, and now we’re going to go into next week and do it properly.”
Leading the field as the teams came out of the Round Robin was the Australian team who have only lost one out of their eleven matches. The Brits won five.
In the 470 women Great Britain’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark hauled their way into 3rd in the closing stages of the first race. The French won and the Australians were second.
In the second race of the day the British girls managed to work themselves into second but on the downwind leg a problem with the mainsheet shackle forced them to slow down and drop back into the fleet. Unable to sheet the mainsheet properly upwind, they still managed to avoid losing too many places and finished sixth.
The problem saw them slip from the overall lead as New Zealanders Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie now have a one point lead over the Brits. But with Dutch sailors Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout just two points behind in third it is tight at the top in this class.
In the men’s 470 the competition at present is between the British pair and the Australians who have screamed away from the rest of the pack. Luke Patience and Stuard Bithell have a 19 point lead over third placed Kiwis Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders.