Double figure results for some of the Brits made for a challenging day. Matthew Sheahan reports
Despite promising conditions on the tow out to the various race areas, where a solid 10-12 knot breeze and a big swell suggested that a perfect day was in store, the wind speed started to go downhill once the big cumulus clouds released their heavy load of rain on the city.
Just half an hour into the day’s racing and conditions had softened considerably to 6-8 knots while the swell remained making the racing a challenging affair once again.
On the 49er course Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes had a particularly difficult time positing a 14th and then two 15ths dropping them from first to 9th overall.
“Our problems started when the mainsheet broke half way up the first beat in the first race after it chafed on the camera stand at the back of the boat,” explained Rhodes. “Then in the second race we found lumps of tar on our daggerboard. We don’t know where it came from and all we could do was to try and clear it but in effect all we achieved was to smear it around a bit,” he said.
Despite such problems both acknowledged that there were other issues at stake and while their problems today did not constitute a crisis, the day off tomorrow would provide time to reflect on what had happened and allow them to go back to basics.
The Brits weren’t alone in their problems in the 49er fleet. The Spanish team Martinez and Fernandez were OCS in race 2, a slip up that will force them to carry their 17th place from yesterday’s racing. Only one discard is available in the 15 race series.
But while some struggled others came off the water on a high. In particular the Australian team, Outteridge and Austin had a ripper of a day positing a 3,1,1 and launched themselves into the overall lead.
The Danes were enjoying a similar high with a 4,2,3 which placed them in second with the Italians in third.
The Australians were having a similarly good time in the 470 women’s class where Rechichi and Parkinson posted a pair of seconds to share the overall lead with the Dutch, Marcelien de Koning and Lobke Berkhout, after their first day’s racing.
For the British 470 girls, a 13th and an 8th left them in 9th overall. As they washed their boat down at the end of the day they remained unflustered.
“There’s a long way to go so we have to try to put today behind us and focus on the rest of the regatta,” explained helm Christina Bassadone. “There will be plenty of opportunities so we have to be ready to pounce on them when they arise.”
“We’ve come into this regatta with the belief that victory is there for the taking,” said crew Saskia Clark. “There’s no Ben Ainslie type team who’ve been dominating the fleet for the last four years. I think it’s a wide open fleet. Our attitude is to keep plugging away, not do anything stupid and keep doing the simple things right. That’s our plan for the week.”
On the RSX boards, the other two classes to be enjoying their first day of racing, Britain’s Nick Dempsey was struggling to find podium type form with an 11th and a 9th. His team mate in the women’s class, Bryony Shaw had a better day with a 4th and a 3rd to place her in third overall.
Meanwhile, two of the best British hopes finished the day with overall leads, albeit only just. For Ben Ainslie a first and a 10th, (after getting caught on the wrong side of a shift), put him into the lead but only by one point overall.
For the girls in the Yngling a 7th and a 5th left them in the lead with the Dutch team in second at just past the halfway post. The Dutch have been the talk of the dock given their unusual approach to team selection where the individual crew were selected from a pool of 9 and only given the nod a month before the event.
Tomorrow sees the Laser and Laser Radials take to the race course while the 49ers, Finns and Ynglings take the day off.
BRITS IN A NUTSHELL (Overall results so far)
Yngling – 1st
Finn – 1st
49er – 9th
470 men – 10th
470 women – 9th
RSX Men – 9th
RSX Women – 3rd
** USEFUL LINKS **
Today’s video profile is for Laser sailor Paul Goodison