A relative calm descended on Weymouth Bay this morning, after the battering from the day before, with the fourth day of racing at Skandia Sail for Gold seeing the bigger classes regrouped into gold and silver fleets, prior to Saturday's Medal Races.
In the 49ers, four races were held and the Australian World Champions, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen chose today to come into their own scoring two firsts, a fourth and a sixth propelling them into the lead with a 10 point advantage over Skandia Team GBR’s John Pink and Rick Peacock with previous leaders Italy’s Sibello brothers slipped to fourth now 19 points adrift of the Aussies and France’s Stephane Christidis and Peter Hansen moving up from fifth to third. Second placed Brits Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes won today's third race but remain in 6th place, 23 points from first.
Outteridge commented: "It’s been really nice, around 14-19 knots for most of the day. There have been little shifts but it’s mainly just great speed and handling and being on the right side of the shifts. It’s always a mix when we sail here in Weymouth, we’ve been here the last three years and every year has been something different so the weather is not unsurprising, you just get all the conditions which is good. Every World Cup event this year is a selection event for us. To get selected we actually have to win one of those regattas. If you win the regatta you are selected for the Olympic team but, if two teams both win an event each it then becomes a subjective decision based on a year or two years’ worth of results. We came second at the Delta Lloyd regatta in Holland so we are trying to win this event to try and get the selection out of the way. But, we are just focusing, trying to be consistent and sail well."
Rick Peacock added: "Today was a good day for us, there was a good bit of breeze… thought we did okay – we had some good counters and managed to get some top fives so we are happy with that. We spent a lot of time here during the last month which I think has been key to getting used to the conditions. It I think it has made a big difference and has made it a lot more natual to sail here. I wouldn’t say it is extra pressure this week but certainly all the talent is here and everyone is raising their game and looking pretty good. It is great competition."
There was also major change in the 470 Men, this time not in Australia's favour, with World Champions Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page adding a costly 8th and a 15th to their scoreline. In fact it was a high scoring day for almost all the 470 Men with France's Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos taking the lead, discarding the 13th they posted in the last race. This leaves Sweden's Anton Dahlberg and Sebastian Ostling four points behind them with the Australians another five points adrift. Today Brits remain Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell but they are 7th, 22 points off the lead.
Vincent Garos said: "We had strong winds again today so it was hard conditions and very physical. We were very happy with the first race of the day because we won. In the second race we had a lot of pressure on us and we tried to do our best but we had a very bad start and finished 13th. We are still very happy with where we are overall because tomorrow is the last day before the medal race and we are in the first position. We will have to keep working hard for the rest of the regatta and try to win - we won last year and would love to win again."
In the lighter more tactical conditions it was the Kiwi duo Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie owned the Women’s 470 course with a superb couple of victories that saw them usurp Britain's Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark to take the lead with a 10 point margin. The Brits had their worst day so far with a 16th and an eighth, but held onto second ahead of the Israelis Gil Cohen and Vered Bouskila by six points.
Olivia Powrie commented: "It’s been a pretty good day, with good conditions on the water and quite exciting. Pretty good breeze and the waves got a bit bigger as the tides turned. It’s been a little bit mixed, probably windier if anything but it’s good, we like a breeze to sail in. It’s actually pretty similar to sailing back home in New Zealand, the water, the breeze but a much better venue; it’s such a good set-up. This is our third year here, so we are getting the hang of it more and more I guess. It’s quite tricky; there are a lot of different factors at play so it does make it a bit difficult. I think the 470 class is quite close at the moment, there always seems to be someone new at the regatta and you never quite know who’s going to be up there so always exciting."
In the Laser Men the Gold fleet sailed two races and Britain’s leader Nick Thompson had a day he will want to forget with a 32nd and 34th, causing him to plummet to ninth and significantly now behind team mate Paul Goodison who lies in fifth. As ever Australian World Champion Tom Slingsby proved super consistent and a 1, 3 had put him into the lead six point ahead of Kiwi Andrew Murdoch, who also had a good day with a first and a fourth. Dutchman Rutger van Schaardenburg lies third, nine points behind Murdoch.
In the Laser Radials, new Irish star Annalise Murphy slipped back from her overnight lead to third, after a 13th in the first race, but she wasn’t raising the white flag and came back with a win in the second and final race of the day. However Belgium's Evi van Acker posted a 4-3 putting her back in the lead, the equally consistent Marit Bouwmeester remains in second, only a point off the lead. British hope Charlotte Dobson had a rotten day with a 20-15 but remains in fifth, now 18 points from the podium.
Van Acker commented: "I am feeling pretty good. It has been a great week, with great conditions. It has been pretty windy most of the time mostly from the south-west which I think suits me. We are sailing on a different course to last year and the wind is steadier, we have big waves and it has just been fun sailing. I have managed to do well and sail consistently, I haven’t made many big mistakes, a few little ones, but I think that’s why I am at the front. It is pretty cold here this week but in these wind conditions you can’t complain! It has been great sailing. I think a few years ago there were just a handful of really competitive girls in this fleet but I think it has become broader and broader, more like the Laser Standard. Depending on the conditions there are different girls that are doing well. The Irish girl Annalise is going very fast, faster than all of us. She is the one to beat when the winds are strong. Marit from the Netherlands is another who has been sailing really well and is so consistent, and then Sari from Finland really knows how to perform when the pressure is on. We have two days left to go, and I think lighter winds tomorrow, so it is still going to be a tricky regatta."
Ben Ainslie had yet another consistent day with a 1-6-4 leaving him on just 16 points, 13 ahead of team mate Giles Scott who has slipped ahead of Croatia's Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic by a mere point. However present World Champion Ed Wright is on the bounce back posting a 3-1 in today's final two races elevating him to sixth overall.
Ainslie commented: "It was a mixed day, we had three races in tough conditions out there and to cap it all off you then have a very long sail back to the harbour, so I’m looking forward to getting some rest. I won the first race but I made a few mistakes in the second two races. I didn’t pick the right side on the first beat and I had to battle back and fortunately I did a pretty good job of that. It's hard out there. It has been a very difficult course because it's quite tidal. Overall, I had a good day and with regards to the nearest competition I'm reasonably happy. We've got two more races tomorrow and then the medal race so things are certainly starting to get into the money end of the regatta."
In the Stars, today's conditions were clearly to the liking of Sweden’s Freddy Loof and Max Salminen who posted a 4-1-2 leaving them tied with Brazil’s multiple Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, with the Swedes having the lower discard (an 8th). While Canadians Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn won today's first race, the Swedes took the second and Scheidt had to pull out all the stops to win the last race from the charging Swedes. Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki holds third, but is now 14 points off the lead. Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson are in fifth but now 13 points from the podium.
It was all change again in the RS:X Men where New Zealand’s JP Tobin and Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberge both once again overtook leader Nick Dempsey, who slipped back into third. Tobin is six points clear of van Rijsselberge, who is just one point ahead of Dempsey. However a lot of big guns remain in the shout for the podium including Poland's World Champion Piotr Myszka and Beijing Gold medallist Tom Ashley.
In the RS:X Women, there was disaster for Spanish favourite Blancha Manchon and Britain's Bryony Shaw, both called OCS. Meanwhile Spain’s 2009 World Champion Marina Alabau made the best of the tricky conditions, and a third and a first was enough for her to slide past Israel's Lee Korzits to take the lead. Alabau now has a four point lead going into the penultimate day with Poland's Zofia Klepacka remained in third a further nine points behind.
The Women’s Match Racing had a lot of catching up to do after strong wind and waves curtailed yesterday’s racing. It meant an early start and a late finish. The Gold Group was completed along with the Repecharge Round Robin, deciding tomorrow’s quarter final pairs.
The Gold Group winners, Sally Barkow, Elizabeth Kratizig-Burnham and Alana O'Reilly from the USA will race against Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva and Mikaela Wulff (FIN). Next up, it will be the second placed team in the Gold Group, Australia’s Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Lucinda Witty to sail against Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou (FRA). Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vendemoer and Debbie Capozzi (USA) were third in the Gold Group and will sail against France’s Anne-claire Le Berre, Alice Ponsar and Myrtille Ponge. And that leaves Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor (GBR) against the Netherlands’ Mandy Mulder, Annemieke Bes and Merel Witteveen.
The 2.4mRs raced first on the Paralympic courses, and the leading pair overnight both had an average day. But it was Damien Seguin (FRA) who got the better of his Dutch rival, Thierry Schmitter to snatch the overall lead, while Paul Tingley had a solid day (3, 4) to move up into third and onto the podium ahead of their final day tomorrow.
The SKUDs and Sonars took turns on the Paralympic course in the afternoon, and the former in particular had some serious sailing to do to catch up with their schedule. So it was well into the evening by the time the SKUDs completed their third race. It was Australia’s Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch that showed everyone the way home with three straight bullets. They extended their overall lead to four points ahead of Britain’s Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell. Jamie Dunross and Rachael Cox (AUS) remain in third, a further five points behind.
The Sonars also raced three today, and were also out there late – Britain’s John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas didn’t have a particularly good day with a 5, 8, and 1, but they did enough to hold off the Dutch and French, tied in second. Udo Hessels Marcel van Veen and Mischa Rossen are now four points adrift, tied with the French team of Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont Vicary – all to play for on the final day of racing tomorrow on the Paralympic course.
Provisional Results Day 4: Thursday 9th June
49er After 10 Races
1. AUS 2- OUTTERIDGE Nathan / JENSEN Iain (34pts)
2. GBR 8- PINK John / PEACOCK Richard (44pts)
3. FRA 4- CHRISTIDIS Stephane / HANSEN Peter (47pts)
470 WOMEN After 8 Races
1. NZL 75- ALEH Jo / POWRIE Olivia (33pts)
2. GBR 847- MILLS Hannah / CLARK Saskia (43pts)
2. ISR 311- COHEN Gill / BOUSKILA Vered (49pts)
470 MEN After 8 Races
1. FRA 44- PIERRE Leboucher / VINCENT Garos (26pts)
2. SWE 346- DAHLBERG Anton / OSTLING Sebastian (30pts)
3. AUS 11- BELCHER Matthews / PAGE Malcolm (35pts)
FINN After 8 races
1. GBR 3- AINSLIE Ben (16pts)
2. GBR 41- SCOTT Giles (29pts)
3. CRO 524- KLJAKOVIC GASPIC Ivan (30pts)
LASER After 8 Races
1.. AUS 197541- SLINGSBY Tom (18pts)
2. NZL 199218- MURDOCH Andrew (24pts)
3.. NED 192625- VAN SCHAARDENBURG Rutger (33pts)
LASER RADIAL After 8 Races
1. BEL 197514 VAN ACKER Evi (20pts)
2. NED 200444- BOUWMEESTER Marit (21pts)
3. IRL 199417- MURPHY Annalise (23pts)
STAR After 8 Races
1. BRA 8255- SCHEIDT Robert / PRADA Bruno (21pts)
2. SWE 8450- LOOF Fredrik / SALMINEN Max (21pts)
3. POL 8417- KUSZNIEREWICZ Mateusz / ZYCKI Dominik (35pts)
SKUD 18 After 6 Races
1. AUS 47- FITZGIBBON Daniel / TESCH Liesl (6pts)
2. GBR 45- RICKMAN Alexandra / BIRRELL Niki (10pts)
3. AUS 52- DUNROSS Jamie / COX Rachael (15pts)
SONAR After 8 Races
1. GBR 748- ROBERTSON John / STODEL Hannah / THOMAS Steve (15pts)
2. NED 688- HESSELS Udo / VAN VEEN Marcel/ ROSSEB Mischa (19pts)
3. FRA 840- JOURDREN Bruno / FLAGEUL Eric (19pts)
2.4mR After 7 Races
1. FRA 13- SEGUIN Damien (15pts)
2. NED 12- SCHMITTER Thierry (18pts)
3. CAN 99- TINGLEY Paul (19pts)
RS:X MEN After 8 Races
1. NZL 151- TOBIN JP (17pts)
2. NED 8- VAN RIJSSELBERGE Dorian (20pts)
3. GBR 1- DEMPSEY Nick (20pts)
RS:X WOMEN After 8 Races
1. ESP 5- ALBAU Marina (16pts)
2. ISR 111- KORZITS Lee (20pts)
3. POL 8- KLEPACKA Zofia (29pts)
Gold Group Round Robin
USABarkow / Kratizig-Burnham / O’Reilly 5-0
AUS Souter / Curtis / Price 3-2
USA Tunnicliffe / Vandemoer / Capozzi 3-2
GBR Macgregor / Lush / Macgregor 2-3
NED Mulder / Bes / Witteveen 2-3
FRA Le Berre / Ponsar / Ponge 0-5
Repecharge Round Robin: The following two teams qualified for quarter finals
FRA Leroy / Bertrand / Riou 4-1
FIN Lehtinen / Kanerva / Wulff 4-1