Athens Olympics. " We only got back in the boat last month." commented Page. "Same boat, same kit, its just me and Nathe that are a few kilos heavier, not a bad thing for here."
Two firsts, a second and an eighth illustrate the high level of preparation that had been completed before Athens. A break for such an experienced and skilled team is often followed by a great result. Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield demonstrated that perfectly by winning the recent Europeans in Poland following an extended winter lay off.
The British duo are by no means off the pace, winning the afternoon race convincingly brought them to fifth overall and will perhaps allow them to sleep a little more easily after an eleventh in the morning race. "What a venue, what a xxxxxxxx venue" was Nicks take on sailing on the city front. We went from last, to first, to fifteenth all in the
space of Fort Mason.
The strategy is not challenging four knots of foul tide in the middle or 1.5 knots by the shore. Fort Mason is a big block for the wind on the city shoreline. Conveniently, it is the place you end up after starting. The locals, not surprisingly, have rules and because its America, sayings. "You just gotta avoid Masons misery", clearly worth steering clear of. But the "Safeway leftie is always bestie" sounds like a must. From were I was sat you had to sail through the misery to get the leftie. The entry and the exit to this area defines the race, from there on in its follow my leader to the layline, beyond and then a bit more for good luck. Page confirmed the dilema " We were making on the mark and two boats tacked across our stern, we eased sheets right to the mark but the two boats just sailed right round our bow." And the lesson? "We smashed the next one harder and did the same to them". Leverage in every sense of the word.
The Dutch Girls, just as tall as the Aussies and nearly as slim, have had an awesome start. Scoring three firsts and a fourth for starters is never bad. This is not the first time Marcelien de Koning and Lobke Berkhout have led early in a series. Clear leaders at the end of qualifying at the Europeans, dropping to fifth at the conclusion of the finals. Eggs will not be counted by them or any of the other teams who have made a great start. Amongst them, Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark have started with assurance and confidence. " It would have been nice to win today, it was my birthday" remarked Saskia. "Pulling through to finish third feels great but dropping from first to third hurts a bit".
The pain is only just starting, tomorrow dreams will be shattered for some as the axe falls between Gold and Silver fleets. Currently there are no American mens teams threatening the Gold fleet. I wonder if they have a saying for that? It may just occur to Kevin Burnham, stood on a coach boat this week, that qualifying for another Olympics
might not be impossible.
Pos-Nationality Helm/Crew, Points
1-AUS Nathan Wilmot and Malcom Page, 4
2-FRA Gildas Philippe and Nicholas Leberre, 7
3-FRA Nicolas Charbonnier and Olivier Bausset, 8
4-ARG Matias Buhler and Marcos Lamas, 10
5-GBR Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield, 11
1-NED Marcelien de Koning and Lobke Berkhout, 3
2-GBR Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark, 8
3-CZE Lenka Smidova and Elizabeth Kratzia, 9
4-SWE Therese Torgersson and Vendela Zahrisson, 13.3
5-AUS Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson, 20