British sailors McMillan and Bulkeley hang on to second despite day of disasters

Despite tearing their main sail in the second race on day three of the Tornado world championship in Palma, Team GBR sailors Leigh McMillan and Mark Bulkeley held on to second place overall.

In the first race of the day, 14 boats started prematurely but McMillan and Bulkeley got a good start from the middle of the line and rounded the top mark eighth. They quickly pulled through the fleet up to fourth, working the boat hard in the large gusts.

By the final downwind leg they had caught up with the front runners and were in second place before disaster struck, McMillan explained: “Marks trapeze gear failed and he was dropped into the water. Fortunately he held on to the mainsheet and managed to drag himself back on board and luckily we did not lose any places.”

The final run saw the team duel with the Greek pairing of Dimitris Theodorakis and Andonis Bougiouris, who finally got the better of them to take the race win, with McMillan and Bulkeley second and Santiago Lange and Carlos Espinola of Argentina third.

In between the races they managed to fix the trapeze gear and waited for the second race, which was going to take place in a building breeze.

McMillan and Bulkeley got a good start but could not find a lane out to the favoured side of the racecourse and consequently they rounded the first mark in 20th position. They managed to make big gains on the downwind leg until the second disaster of the day struck. This time it was their mainsail, which ripped in half during a gybe and the damage was so severe they were forced to retire from the race.

Despite the day’s set back, they managed to stay in the medal positions and are second overall, tied on equal points with Lange and Espinola. Reigning world champions Darren Bundock and John Forbes of Australia are ten points behind in third place.

There are now four races left of the championship and McMillan and Bulkeley will have to stay out of trouble to be in with a chance of retaining the silver medal.

Today is lay day with the final four races due to be sailed on Saturday and Sunday.

Results (after day 3)

1, Santiago Lange/Carlos Espinola, ARG (1,8,1,(14),3,11) 24 pts

2, Leigh McMillan/Mark Bulkeley, GBR (12,4,3,3,2,(DNF)) 24 pts

3, Darren Bundock/John Forbes, AUS (8,7,(30),5,12,2) 34 pts

Other GBR

51, Andrew Walsh/Ed Barney (46,(48),44,54,34,41) 213 pts

53, Jonathan Hutchcroft/Marcus Lynch (51,40,48,(52),40,40) 219 pts

54, Leo Farrow/Tristan Lamb (40,46,50,45,43,(51)) 224 pts

62, John Bernard Ready/Angus Roberts (54,54,(DNC),DNC,DNC,DNF) 297 pts