Solid day for Brits
The World Championship-winning crew of Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson lead the field in the Yngling class, one point ahead of Americans Sally Barkow, Carrie Howe and Debbie Capozzi after two races thanks to a 2,1 scoreline from today, while windsurfer Bryony Shaw proved her mettle in the tricky Qingdao conditions, with a race win and a second to top the women’s RS:X fleet ahead of France’s Faustine Merret.
Double Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie was also quick to mark his mark the Finn class, posting a first in his opening race of the series – his first Finn race in 12 months – with a 50-second lead over the rest of the fleet, and then finishing the second race in second place behind the Netherlands’ Jan-Pieter Postma.
“It was hard work out there,” Ainslie commented. “We had between six and twelve knots and some pretty big waves to contend with. We also had a few small wind shifts and the tide was quite tricky, so I tried to be a bit conservative - it was definitely a head out of the boat kind of day.”
Paul Goodison, European Champion and gold medallist at the 2006 Test Event, placed third and fourth in his two races of the Laser fleet to see him take an early lead, while 470 sailors Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield – who also topped the podium at last year’s regatta in Qingdao – scored 4,5 from their two races to put them ahead in the men’s double-handed class.
“It was unbelievably choppy out there, and not all that much wind,” said the Athens silver medallist Glanfield, “but the racing was so close – at every mark there was just a bundle of boats arriving all at once!”
Leigh McMillan and Will Howden also saw a solid start to their regatta in the Tornado class, with a 5,6 from their two races, while Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson had an up and down day in the Star class, posting a 2,12 in the 17-boat Star event.
Other classes endured mixed fortunes – 49er World Champions Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes were wrong-footed in their first race of the day, but managed to cross in fourth place in their second race, while windsurfer Nick Dempsey started the day with a fifth before suffering in the choppy conditions and posting a 16th in the second race of the RS:X men’s class.
After being black flagged for a premature start in Wednesday’s race, Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark will be smarting from having to take penalty turns in their second race today. They crossed the line in last place after a promising sixth in the opening race, while Charlotte Dobson also lost ground after having to take a penalty in the second race of the Laser Radial class.
Racing at the 2007 Qingdao International Regatta is scheduled through until Thursday 23 August.