Australian Tom Slingsby won the Laser Men’s event today at the Perth International Regatta after a double points medal race on another day plagued with poor conditions at the 2011 World Championship venue.
Slingsby’s second place in today’s Laser Men’s Medal Race was good enough to put him at the top of the fleet after five days of racing, sailed close to shore in Fremantle’s Bathers Bay.
“The conditions were really tricky for the medal race as we were really close to shore with a break wall on one side kicking up some waves and it was quite shifty,” Slingsby said.
Second overall was Croatian Tonci Stipanovic, who only managed a seventh in today’s Medal Race, Britain’s Paul Goodison, the Medal race winner, finished third overall.
Skandia Team GBR’s Goodison and Nick Thompson went into the final race tied on points and with a chance of the podium. Goodison took control on the water today winning the medal race leaving Thompson in fourth.
“It was a bit of a surprise to see the breeze come in quite as well as it did here for the medal race and I knew what I needed to do,” Goodison explained. “The only real chance of winning was to win the race. I did what I needed to do and unfortunately I can’t control the rest of the fleet and I think with the boats being over [the line] it meant I just lost out on second overall.
Goodison was confident that his Australian visit had paid dividends, even though the racing had not gone as expected. “I think the regatta’s not been that great – the conditions haven’t really shown through and the organisation’s probably not been up to scratch, but for me coming away from Perth really the good things have been the two weeks training before the regatta. I’ve learnt a lot about Perth, had some technique development it’s been a good trip.”
Of the three classes due to have their medal races today, the Lasers were the only ones to complete their 10-boat finale, with the Laser Radial fleet sent out and then returned to shore again, and the Finn class having their medal race abandoned halfway through due to the dying breeze. Confusion then ensued as to whether the abandoned races could be sailed on Sunday instead, with the organisers ultimately deciding to award medals against the existing standings
With just five races sailed, the Finn event was won by Jonathan Lobert of France, followed by Giles Scott of Great Britain and Rafael Trujillo Villar of Spain. With no medal race to improve their standings, Ben Ainslie finished the regatta in fifth overall, with team mates Ed Wright and Andrew Mills in sixth and seventh respectively.
“We were supposed to be racing at one o’clock and we were told maybe 20 minutes before we were about to launch that the wind had just disappeared and that they were going to try and race us at 4pm,” the World Championship bronze medallist Scott explained. “So we all went off and had a bit of food, came back, went on the water for 4pm and did a few legs and then the race was abandoned because there was no wind again.
“I can’t complain really – silver’s great. Obviously it feels slightly odd having only done five races and not even finished a medal race, which kind of puts a bit of a downer on it, but it’s still a second place at the ISAF Worlds test event.”
In the Laser Radial event, Sari Multala of Finland finished first, with another Finish sailor Tuule Tenkanen second and Alberta Holm Lindberg of Denmark third.
Skandia Team GBR's Charlotte Dobson missed out on a shot at the podium with the cancellation of the Radial medal race and finishes the regatta fourth overall, with Alison Young ninth and seventh female in the Open Radial fleet, but there proved just enough wind mid-afternoon for the Laser medal race to be held just off Fremantle’s Bathers Bay.
The 49er and RS:X classes managed some final fleet races on Saturday morning on their penultimate day of competition, with all five British 49ers making the cut for the final 10-boat medal race on Sunday.
Skandia Team GBR's Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign are currently in the silver medal position, with gold as good as assured to Australia’s Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, but the battle for the remaining podium spots will be fierce as just 13 points separating the second and tenth placed boats.
In the windsurfing fleets, Bryony Shaw is in equal third heading into the medal race tomorrow, while Nick Dempsey’s timeout from yesterday has been overturned, improving his position to fifth overall. Skandia Team GBR development squad sailor Elliot Carney also makes the cut for the medal race in tenth.
The 470 men’s and women’s fleets saw no racing for the second day on Saturday, and with just three races sailed so far in their series they have an early start on Sunday morning to try and get two more fleet races in before the top ten in each event look to sail a medal race on Sunday afternoon.
Skandia Team GBR’s Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell are currently in second overall in the men’s event, with Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes in sixth in the women’s event.
The remaining medal races to be sailed on Sunday are the 49ers, the Men and Women’s 470 and the Men’s and Open RS:X sailboard.
The Perth International Regatta will end with a medal ceremony and fireworks at the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour to mark one year to go to next year’s ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth.Full results here