Alistair Richardson and Peter Greenhalghl lead after the first day of the 49er European Championship at Brest

Alistair Richardson and Peter Greenhalgh, training partners to Sydney Olympic Silver Medallists Ian Barker and Simon Hiscocks, produced an outstanding response to the extraordinarily tricky conditions the Atlantic served up for the opening day of the 49er European Championship at Brest, France yesterday (May 12).

Richardson and Greenhalgh’s 5,1,1 scoreline from their three qualifying heats (short windward/leeward races) is expected to put them in the provisional lead of the 60 plus fleet (divided into two fleets for qualifying), but there are still four days (up to five races per day) left to decide the medal positions.

“It was a very shifty day. The breeze went from 3-11 knots on every beat so it all came down to the wire. The race we finished fifth could have been much better than that or much worse. The whole day was eyes out of the boat, very difficult conditions, certainly not ‘higher and faster’ easy race wins,” explained crew Peter Greenhalgh.

The pair had promising seasons in 1999 and 2000 and were amongst the favourites to claim the single place for the Sydney Games at last April’s trials regatta. Following training with Barker and Hiscocks prior to the Olympics, they took a long break and returned to competition at last months Hyeres Olympic Classes Regatta, finishing sixth overall.

In the other qualifying fleet, Team GBR Olympic Silver Medallist helmsman Ian Barker and crew Harvey Hillary scored 8,2 while Paul Brotherton (Gold Medallist at this event three years ago) and Simon Hiscocks scored 5,4. Brotherton won the Hyeres Regatta and the European Championship warm up event and was leading their third qualification race this afternoon when it was mysteriously abandoned just 200 yards from the finish line.

Racing continues today (Sunday 13 May).

No overall results are currently available.