Two Brit leaders

At the Olympic test event in Athens reports Sasha Oswald

Saturday August 17th 2002, Author: Sasha Oswald, Location: Mediterranean
The second day of the pre-Olympic test event got underwa in a steady breeze and brilliant sunshine. After a lay day yesterday it wasthe first chance for the Finn, 49er and Tornado classes to test the waters of the Saronic Gulf.

After recent success at both the European and world championships, winning gold at both regattas, Ben Ainslie continued his domination over the Finn class. Ainslie enjoyed the light breezes that varied in strength from 2-8 knots and finished with a second place in the first race of the day. Not content with second best, he came out of the starting gates quickly, to lead at the windward mark, which he maintained until the finish to win the second race of the day.

Ainslie explained his day, "the first race was a good one, the wind was not from the sea breeze direction but it was solid, I had a good start and it all went okay. I caught up a bit from being about sixth at the windward mark, but couldn't quite get into the lead. In the second race it all went a bit funny. I had another good start at the starboard end and was in the lead at the first mark, which I managed to hold on to. It then became a bit of a procession as the breeze kept shifting, so it was a bit of a one-way track. It all fell into place nicely for me."

Fellow team GBR Finn sailors Andrew Simpson and Charlie Cumbley also sailed a good first race, Simpson came in one place behind Ainslie in third, with Cumbley finishing in sixth place. In the second race Cumbley added a tenth place to his sixth, to put him in seventh place overall with team mate Andrew Simpson in eighth place overall after scoring a sixteenth in race two.

It was also the first day out on the track for the 49er fleet. Close racing was enjoyed in the 38-boat fleet and competition was tight. Team GBR sailors Alister Richardson and Peter Greenhalgh sailed a brilliant first race and went all out to take the race win from Peter Hansen/Soren Hansen of Denmark.

Unfortunately for the British pair, the next two races did not go quite their way, Richardson explained, "we had an unfortunate incident in the second race when we were sailing downwind. The kite halyard got caught on the spreader and prevented us from gybing and we eventually had to cut it free. On the final race of the day, we had an incident with another boat as we rounded a mark, which saw us drop back in the fleet, we managed to get back to twelfth place, but we were a bit disappointed." Richardson/Greenhalgh are lying in eighth place overall after three races.

Fellow team GBR 49er sailors Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks were looking good in the first race and finished in fourth place. In the second race of the day they were over hasty on the start and were spotted by the race committee who penalised them as OCS (on course side). The third race went more their way, the team, who recently scored silver medals at both the worlds and the European championships, sailed a good race and finished in sixth place, placing them in fourteenth place overall after day one.

The 49er fleet have enjoyed close racing all year with the level of competition high, attracting many of the top sailors in the world. The Pre-Olympic test event will be no different and after day one points are tight. Pieter Lantermans/Pim Nieuwenhuis from the Netherlands took the early lead in the regatta, but Andrew Mack/Adam Lowry are on even points in second place.

Two races were sailed in the Tornado class kicking off their competition. Again close racing was enjoyed and at some points the fleet was turned inside out, with some unfamiliar faces at the front of the fleet at times. After day one European champions Olivier Backes/Laurent Voiron of France lead the pack by two points from Fernando Echavarri/Anton Paz Blanco of Spain.

RYA team GBR made a steady start in the fleet with Rob Wilson and Will Howden finishing with a seventh and a twelfth place to put them in seventh place overall. Team mates Hugh Styles and Adam May are currently placed fifteenth overall after scoring a twelfth and a seventeenth.

"The first race went well for us," said Wilson, "we played the shifts right and were pleased with our performance. In the second race of the day we were over the line on the start and had to go back. We had good boat speed and managed to get back some places, but the best we could manage was a twelfth place."

In the men's 470 fleet Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield moved up into the top ten after scoring a sixth and a twelfth place in the races today. Alvaro Marinho/Miguel Nunes of Portugal are currently leading the fleet by two points from the Bonnaud brothers of France.

Rogers described his day, "we were over at the start and went back, by the skin of our teeth we managed to get back into the group at the top of th first beat, and had a really good run and then a cracking second beat to end up sixth, so we were pleased with that. In the second race we ended up nearly colliding with an Argentinean boat off the start, which slowed us up a bit. We managed to get back and the rest of the beat was really good, just good positioning and a good lane to the top mark. We caught up so we were just behind the front group so we ended up about twelfth, which was a bummer because if we had sailed another lap we were not slow and I felt that we could have overtaken some of the group, but anyway I am pleased with how the day went."

In the women's 470 fleet, team GBR sailors Josie Gibson and Saskia Clark showed their potential in the second race of the day scoring a second place behind Olympians Jenny Armstrong/Belinda Stowell of Australia. Gibson/Clark are currently lying in ninth place overall, whilst team mate Helena Lucas and Jenny Heeley are hindered by an OCS yesterday and are in twelfth place overall.

RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park gave an overview of what he saw out on the racecourse today, "in difficult shifting conditions, Ben [Ainslie] did a fantastic job of getting a second and a first today as he continues to dominate the Finn class. In the Tornado class the positions were changing rapidly on every leg, with Greek 7 [Paschalidis/Garefis] having the best understanding of today's weather, despite scoring an OCS in race one. Both the British boats are struggling for speed as their best equipment is currently being shipped to Martha's Vineyard for the world championships. I am however still confidant that they will finish with reasonable positions and achieve their processed goals that they have set for this regatta."

Tomorrow the Mistral class and the Ynglings have a lay day, whilst racing continues in the rest of the fleets. Racing continues through until the 23 August with eleven races scheduled for all classes except the 49ers who are expected to complete sixteen races. The Star class is not participating at the event due to a clash with their world championships and the Europe class has a decrease in participation numbers, which is also due to a clash with their Worlds.

Provisional results
470 Women
1, Sofia Bekatorou/Emilia Tsoulfa, GRE (3,15,1,5) 24 pts
2, Ingrid Petitjean/Nadege Douroux, FRA (11,3,5,9) 28 pts
3, Dimitra Milona/Aliki Kourkoulou, GRE (8,5,2,17) 32 pts
team GBR
9, Josie Gibson/Saskia Clark (17,20,14,2) 48 pts
12, Helena Lucas/Jenny Heeley (OCS,11,6,10) 59 pts

470 Men
1, Alvaro Marinho/Miguel Nunes, POR (6,12,3,2) 23 pts
2, Benjamin Bonnaud/Romain Bonnaud, FRA (3,3,14,5) 25 pts
3, Yevgen Braslavets/Igor Matvienko, UKR (4,10,5,8) 27 pts
team GBR
9, Nick Rogers/Joe Glanfield (OCS,4,6,12) 59 pts
20, Graham Vials/Dan Newman (14,13,21,27) 75 pts

1, Pieter Lantermans/Pim Niewenhuis, NED (9,5,3) 17 pts
2, Andrew Mack/Adam Lowry, USA (3,9,5) 17 pts
3, Christoffer Sundby/Adam Lowry, NOR (8,3,10) 21 pts
team GBR
8, Alister Richardson/Peter Greenhalgh (1,23,12) 36 pts
14, Chris Draper/Simon Hiscocks (4,OCS,6) 49 pts

1, Ermio Oikonomopoulou, GRE (4,1) 5 pts
2, Virginia Kravarioti, GRE (3,2) 5 pts
3, Solenne Brain, FRA (2,3) 5 pts
no team GBR

1, Ben Ainslie, GBR (2,1) 3 pts
2, Anthony Nossiter, AUS (8,4) 12 pts
3, Jaap Ziehuis, NED (10,3) 13 pts
other GBR
7, Charlie Cumbley (6,10) 16 pts
8, Andrew Simpson (3,16) 19 pts

1, Paul Goodison, GBR (1,2) 3 pts
2, Gareth Blanckenberg, RSA (2,5) 7 pts
3, Maciej Grabowski, POL (6,4) 10 pts
other team GBR
31, Ed Wright (10, DNF) 63 pts

Mistral Women
1, Yin Jian, CHN (2,2,4,1) 9 pts
2, Lai Shan Lee, HKG (1,9,1,2) 13 pts
3, Alessandra Sensini, ITA (6,1,2,6) 15 pts
team GBR
5, Natasha Sturges (3,11,5,18) 37 pts
31, Bryony Shaw (27,24,31,26) 106 pts

Mistral Men
1, Nikolaos Kaklamanakis, GRE (3,5,1,1) 10 pts
2, James Wells, NZL (13,1,2,3) 19 pts
3, Gal Fridman, ISR (5,4,3,9) 21 pts
team GBR
11, Dom Tidey (26,13,9,7) 55 pts
18, Nick Dempsey (10,28,5,27) 70 pts

1, Olivier Backes/Laurent Voiron, FRA (1,5) 6 pts
2, Fernando Echavarri/Anton Paz Blanco, ESP (4,4) 8 pts
3, Gunnar Larsen/Mischa Heemskerk, NED (6,3) 9 pts
team GBR
7, Rob Wilson/Will Howden (7,12) 19 pts
15, Hugh Styles/Adam May (12,17) 29 pts

1, Melanie Dennison/Caroline Aders/Fiona Herbert, AUS (8,1,5,3) 17 pts
2, Hannah Swett/Joan Touchette/Melissa Purdy, USA (1,9,3,7) 20 pts
3, Anne Le Helley/Emmanuelle Duby/Elodie Lesaffre, FRA (7,5,16,1) 29 pts
team GBR
8, Shirley Robertson/Sarah Ayton/Inga Leask (6,21,9,9) 44 pts
21, Lizzie Edwards/Sarah Allen/Caroline Edwards (OCS,18,22,23) 486 pts

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