Perfect scorelines at Rolex Miami OCR
Skandia Team GBR enjoyed a clean sweep in the Finn class, with 23 year old Giles Scott adding two bullets today to the two he scored yesterday, leaving him 10-points ahead of his teammate Ben Ainslie, now up to second. After winning Skandia Sail for Gold at the Olympic venue in Weymouth last year and picking up a bronze at the 2010 World Championship, Scott is one of the main challengers trying to stop Ainslie from sailing at a fifth consecutive Olympic Games.
Only one point behind Ainslie in third is US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics' Zach Railey. “I’m very happy with my overall performance,” said Railey. “A 4, 6 for the day is good given that I was having trouble all around, especially upwind. My downwind speed is good. Fortunately we had good wind.” With the wind over 10 knots, the pumping flag went up today, meaning that Finn sailors could use their physical mass to move the boat effectively. I was able to get some pretty big gains on the downwinds. We worked on that really hard this winter and it’s good to see the improvement, even from the World Cup event in Melbourne. It’s a huge improvement for us. If we can get the upwind going we’ll be good to go.”
Impressively Scott's success story was outstripped in the British camp today when 49er duo John Pink and birthday boy Rick Peacock scored a hat-trick of race wins to see them take overall first place in a class where the three British boats have taken an early lead in the hunt for medals. Skandia Team GBR now hold the top three positions on the leaderboard at this early stage of the regatta, Pink, 27, and Peacock, who celebrated his 25th birthday today, leapfrogging two other GBR crews to take the top spot ahead of Dave Evans-Ed Powys three points behind in second, and Paul Brotherton-Mark Asquith third after the six races held.
The Brits are putting in a similarly good performance in the 470 Men, two time World Champions Nic Asher and Elliot Willis hold a slender one point lead over the young guns and 2010 European bronze medallists Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell.
“Today was a very good day for me and Stuart,” Patience, 24, explained. “We had between 14-16 knots and short chop. It was very, very physical conditions. We came out of the day with a very low score again so we’re very happy not to have picked up a discard yet! It’s very tight between us and the other Brits. We’re in to the first World Cup of the year, it’s not long now until the trials start building up and we’re trying to start scoring the points on the selectors’ scoresheet. It’s very close between the two of us, and me and Stuart are very confident, as always – we just keep battling away and doing the things that matter to us, and not worry too much about our competition. When we’re on form, we’re confident we can be the best in the world.”
In the 470 Women's France's long term campaigner Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux hold a three point lead ahead of team mates Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron. However Skandia Team GBR hold third with Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes three points off second. Yngling Gold medallist Sarah Ayton and Saskia Clarke hold ninth, while the reigning world champions Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout are having a shocker posting a DNS, DNF and DNS.
In Star class, after scoring a bullet in today's second race, Brazil’s Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada continue to hold their lead from yesterday, with Sweden’s Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen five points behind in second and another Finn veteran Xavier Rohart and Pierre Alexis Ponsot holding third.
“There is still a long way to go, but we are happy,” said Scheidt. “The event has grown a lot since I was last here in 2006. The only top players we are missing here are Iain Percy (GBR) and Mateus Kusznierewicz (POL). We are ranked #1 but Kusznierewicz is the current world champion, so he is the man.”
In the Laser, the US hosts hold the lead with their Clay Johnson scoring two third places to extend his overall lead in the 105-boat class, three points ahead of Beijing Gold medallist Paul Goodison, tied on points with Sweden's Magnus Myrgren.
Belgium campaigner Evi Van Acker had another great day in Laser Radials. The leader going into today, she also won both races. Van Acker is now 5 points ahead of World Champion Marit Bouwmeester while the lead duo have a 13 point gap to third, Ireland Annalise Murphy.
“I was very fast on the downwind legs, which gave me a comfortable lead to go into the second beat,” said Van Acker. “From there on I controlled the fleet and won both races with a pretty big lead. So a great day for me, I really had fun!”
In the Women's Match Racing, Groups B and C completed a full round robin today, with Group A still having a match each to sail tomorrow before the top two in each group move on to tomorrow’s scheduled gold fleet racing, as the next two teams in each group sail a repechage round.
At present in Group B Finland's Silja Lehtinen and France's Claire Leroy each with win-loss scores of 5-2, move on to gold fleet while in Group C Skandia Team GBR's Lucy Macgregor and US favourite and Laser Radial Gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe each with a 6-1, both move on to the next round. Currently in Group A, Australian Nicky Souter is tied with Russia's Ekaterina Skudina.
In the RS:X Men Nick Dempsey posted two fourths today, but was usurped by talented Dutch board sailor, Dorian van Rijsselberge, whoposted two firsts, while Spain's Marina Alabau is dominating the RS:X Women as she too holds a perfect score line, ahead of Bryony Shaw and France's Charline Picon.
In the paralympic class, Skandia Team GBR’s trio of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas have taken the overall lead in the Paralympic Sonar class with 1,7 on the scoreboard today.
Australian Liesl Tesch may be a newcomer to the SKUD 18 class but she is leading with her skipper Daniel Fitzgibbon after four races. A three-time Paralympic Medalist in wheelchair basketball, Tesch only began racing with Fitzgibbon three weeks ago. “He is a legend,” said Tesch about Fitzgibbon, an elite sailor who became a quadriplegic 13 years ago and uses special systems on the boat to compensate for his limited ability to pull with his arms. “I’m catching on, but he’s the brain, I’m the arms.” Tesch has full upper-body strength, but the 21-year-old suffered serious damage to her legs when she broke her back in a mountain bike accident at age 19.
In 2.4m Class, top world-ranked Damien Seguin (FRA) posted two first-place finishes today, rising from third to first in overall standings and displacing Thierry Schmitter (NED), the 2010 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship and ranked fifth in the world, from the top spot. (Schmitter is now in third.)
The USA’s top finisher John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.) in fifth, had a 7-5 today. “The breeze is on,” said Ruf, who is ranked 11th in the world, “so I’m looking for top-three from now on just to stay in it.”
Full results here
More images from Daniel Forster/Rolex