The first day of the Saronic Gulf Regatta in Athens, Greece took place on Sunday 19 August. The event is open to all Olympic classes and on the first day two races were sailed in breezes ranging from 7-12 knots, in shifty conditions and a choppy sea. The temperature was high at 36 degrees C and 60 per cent humidity. Stephen Park the British Olympic Manager explained that “It is very important for the sailors not to get dehydrated in this heat, in order to prevent them from losing weight and becoming ill they will have to drink at least five half litre bottles each day. The sun is also very hot, and the team is trying to stay cool and avoid getting sun burnt, which is not easy when you are on the water all day.”

In the Finn class, European champion Emilios Papathanassiou was on good form and secured two first places. A mixed day for Brit, Andrew (Bart) Simpson, a good start with a second in the first race, but gear failure forced Simpson to retire in the second race. Stephen Park explained, “All the new kit has been sent off to America for the worlds next month, so he was sailing with an old mast.”

There are 13 women entries in the 470 class with two British boats. The overall winner after day one was the Spanish pairing of Natalia Via Dufresne and Sandra Azon, who secured a second in the first race and won the second race, lying second overall is Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell, who won the first race and finished fifth in the second race. British sailors, Josie Gibson and crew Saskia Clark had a good first race with a fourth place finish, and after day one were lying sixth overall after a sixth in the second race. The other British entry, Christina Bassadone and Jenny Heely had a consistent day with two eighth place finishes. Both teams will be using this regatta as a warm up event for the worlds in Slovenia next month.

In the 470 men’s fleet, the first race was won by Andreas Kosmatopoulis and his crew Kostas Trigoniecond of Greece, and with a second place in the second race they are leading after day one from Braslavets and Matvienko of the Ukraine. Nick Rogers and Jo Glanfield were looking strong with a second in the first race, but had a disappointing second race with a 13th position which meant they were in seventh position after day one in the men’s fleet. A good result for Graham Vials and Dan Newman in this 20-boat fleet with a sixth place in the first race, but again they suffered in the second race and finished one place behind their team mates.

The Europe fleet saw the least breeze of the day, as they were sent further up the coast. The first race got underway, but was then cancelled due to the lack of breeze. Racing did restart and Sarah Blanck (AUS) won the first race from Min Dizillie of Belgium, but the tables turned in the second race of the day, with Dizillie taking the first place. A disappointing first race for British sailor Sarah Ayton who did not finish due to a broken outhaul. By the second race she had managed to fix it and scored a fifth position, team mate Debbie Winstanley scored a sixth position in the first race and an eighth in the second, which puts her in sixth overall.


Finns-1st Race

1st Emilios Papathanassiou GRE

2nd Andrew Simpson GBR

3rd Akis Karnoutsos GRE

2nd Race

1st Emilios Papathanassiou GRE

2nd Hionas Christos GRE

3rd Alejandro Colla ARG

British placings

DNF Andrew Simpson

Europe-1st Race

1st Sarah Blanck AUS

2nd Min Dizillie BEL

3rd Florencia Cerutti ARG

British placings

6th Debbie Winstanley

DNF Sarah Ayton

Race 2

1st Min Dizillie BEL

2nd Florencia Cerutti ARG

3rd Virginia Kravarioti ARG

British placings

5th Sarah Ayton

8th Debbie Winstanley

Laser-1st Race

1st Marmarinos Spiros GRE

2nd Constantinos Economides CYP

3rd J