Boom and bust for GBR on Hyeres day three 26/4/06

British sailors enjoyed mixed fortunes on day three of the French Olympic Sailing Week (23-28 April).

While the Skandia Team GBR squad turned out some solid performances to remain in top three positions in five of the classes here in Hyeres, breakages and premature starts have contributed to a trying day for a number of other sailors.

The 49er class sees three British boats in the top ten, with Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes still in pole position, posting 8,5,1 from their three races yesterday (Tuesday). Their seven point overnight lead, however, has been eaten away to just a single point by the Spanish World and Olympic Champions, Iker Martinez-Xabier Fernandez.

A solid day’s racing for Paul Campbell James and Mark Asquith sees them back inside the top ten once more, with a little help from a bullet in the ninth race – their second of the regatta. But although the pair would be delighted to make their first ever medal race at the end of this week in Hyeres, after finishing eleventh in both Miami and Palma, Asquith remains focused on the task in hand.

“Coming back from Palma, where we just missed out on the gold fleet, the goals continue to be the same for Hyeres – to end up in the top 20, just getting the experience in before the World Championships,” Asquith explains. “[to make the medal race] would be very nice. The experience we can get in the medal racing has got to be an advantage to us, but as we keep going we just keep chugging, put our best in and see what we can get at the end of the week.”

In spite of having a trying end to the day through a mast breakage in the ninth race, Olympic bronze medallists Chris Draper-Simon Hiscocks were able to discard that result to finish the day in ninth position.

Ed Wright took a firm hold at the top in the heavyweight Finn class, recording a 1,2 from his two races of the day, and discarding his 18th place from the first race on Sunday, to extend an 11 point lead over Croatian contender Marin Misura in second. Back problems forced teammate Matt Howard to retire from the final race – he’s now in 19th overall, with Scot Mark Andrews in 13th.

It was another good day for the Skandia Team GBR women – in the 470 women’s class Christina Bassadone-Saskia Clark pulled off another bullet in their opening race of the day, following it up with a sixth to elevate them into second place overall, with Pippa Wilson and Sheena Craig are up to fifth overall.

It’s tight at the top of the Yngling leaderboard, with just one point separating each position from first through to seventh. After a discardable ninth in race five, Sarah Ayton and her team of Sarah Webb and Emma Rawlinson ended the day on a high note, winning the sixth race to keep them in second place overall, just one point behind the American leaders Barkow-Howe-Capozzi.

Annie Lush and Lucy Macgregor, sailing with American helm Nancy Haberland, crossed in first and second from the day’s two races, which would have seen them top the Yngling table, had they not been judged OCS in race five. They currently sit in seventh position, as do Nic Asher-Elliot Willis in the 470 men’s fleet.

Helena Lucas remains in second in the 2.4mR Paralympic class, with Megan Pascoe improving one place to fourth overall.

After being forced to retire through mast breakage yesterday, Paul Goodison faced more disappointment in the Laser class today, with a black flag for both him and development squad sailor Nick Thompson in their final race of the qualifying series. European Champion Goodison now finds himself with some work to do down in 33rd, while Thompson – now in 57th – will miss the cut for the gold fleet as a result.

Lizzie Vickers made up some ground in the Laser Radial, thanks to a 3,6 from today’s two races – she’s now in 12th place with Laura Baldwin in ninth, while Rob Wilson-Mark Bulkeley have broken into the top ten in the Tornado class.

In the RS:X windsurf class, Nick Dempsey is back on track after his gear failure setback on Sunday – he posted 1,2,1,5 in today’s four races to boost him back up to fourth overall, while Bryony Shaw has overtaken Lucy Horwood as the top British boat in the RS:X women’s fleet. Shaw is now eighth to Horwood’s 13th.