Two bullets for Murphy as Brits have a tough day
Star performer of on day two of the sailing at London 2012 was Ireland’s Annalise Murphy, who, like Jonas Hoegh Christensen in the Finn yesterday, posted two bullets in her opening races in the Laser Radial.
Joining the Stars, Finns and Women’s Match Racing which started yesterday, the Radials had their first two races today along with the Laser Men and the 49ers. Conditions were in the 15-18 knot range from the WSW with the nature of the breeze varying greatly from course to course, and generally bright but overcast.
In the first Radial race, Murphy led up the beat, was briefly overtaken on the run by Marit Bouwmeester but from there was never threatened. In the second race it was slightly harder. Belgium’s Evi van Acker led for the first lap, but Murphy’s strong upwind pace prevailed half way up the second beat and from there she just extended.
“You can’t get much better, but it is only the first day,” said a jubilant Murphy when she came ashore. “There are a lot more races left and it is going to be a tough event. I just tried to keep it simple. I couldn’t do much wrong today. I have got brilliant upwind speed at the moment,. I have been training really really hard and it is all coming together.” It has helped training back in Ireland against some male Laser sailors.
Of her state of mind, Murphy said: “I was really calm. I was thinking I should be nervous, but I wasn’t as nervous as I expected to be. I think it is because I have competed here so much and it is like a second home.”
With Murphy’s double bullets today, all the other expected top Radial contenders are in the top 10
Evi van Acker was happy with her 3-2 today. “I really enjoyed myself out there,” she said. “It was great sailing conditions and I’m happy that it’s started as I have been here for a while. I made a few small errors, but everybody does that, but overall I am satisfied with my day. Annalise is going very very fast and it is really hard for us to keep up with her. However van Acker points out that the situation is almost certain to change tomorrow when the Radials are let loose on the Nothe course for the benefit of spectators and then move on to the Harbour course.
Britain’s Alison Young ended the day on ninth having posted a 7-10. “It was pretty shifty, so you had to keep you head out of the boat and keep your eye on what was going on on the race course,” she said. “It was pretty choppy and wavy. It was a solid start to the regatta, it gives me something to build on.”
In the Laser Men, there is the expected leader after day one with Aussie favourite Tom Slingby posting a 2-1 and at the end of day one holds an eight point lead over Guatemala’s Juan Ignacio Maegli Aguero. The Guatemalan seems to have come from nowhere recently, having put in results deep in the Laser fleet until the recent World Championship in Germany when he finished fourth. In race one he took the lead up the first beat and was never threatened from then on. Slingsby meanwhile was 6th at the top mark and pulled up to second on the first run. Race two saw Slingsby overhaul Urugary’s Alejandro Foglia shortly after rounding the weather mark and from there extended away.
“I am really happy, a great day,” said Slingsby. “I know those conditions really well. I have done five regattas here in similar conditions, I knew that my speed would be fine, I think I knew what the wind was going to do a bit and I knew what the tide was doing and I knew that there weren’t too many crazy variables out there and I knew if I started well and got into my rhythm, I’d be fine and I had two good races, using that technique. I have to concentrate on each day and keep the low scores coming.”
The second race was first recalled then started under the black flag. Slingsby said that confidence in his transit allowed him to start confidently despite this as many of the other sailors were hanging back as he led around the course.
Unexpected figures in the Laser top 10 after today’s first two races are Korea’s Jeemin Ha and the Urugaran.
Britain’s Paul Goodison has his work cut out, posting a 12-20 today, leaving him 17th overall. Coming ashore Goodison was rushed to his physio as he had developed some back pain prior to the start of race two. According to RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park, Goodison has since responded well to this.
In the breezy conditions the 49ers demonstrated why they are such a worthy Olympic class, speeding around the race course with their first race on the Nothe course.
Aussie 49er aces Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen got a solid start to their series with an 8-1 leaving them third overall. Their lowly 8th came when they were one of several boats called OCS in the first race on the Nothe course – along with their Kiwi training mates, the Spanish, Japanese and Americans. Danish duo Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang led around the top mark and down the first run. They were jockeying with France’s Manu Dyan and Stephane Christidis and Canada’s Gordon Cook and Hunter Lowden from the second beat on and as all three boats came charging into the finish the Danes were leading only for the French to roll them on the line to win by 1 second, with the Canadians three seconds behind.
“We were a long way ahead at one point, but then we got caught up by a few boats and managed to nearly get it back in the end but we got a bit too much wind and we went over the layline, so the French took us inside there. But we are very happy with the day,” said Norregaard. The Danish 49er team once again has the legend that is Jesper Bank as their coach.
In race two it was Portugal’s Bernado Freitas/Francisco Rebello de Andrade who led around the top mark ahead of Tobias Schadewaldt/Hannes Baumann (GER) with the Australians, Brits and Spanish all in contention. Outteridge and Jensen pulled into the lead at the end of the second beat and while the Portugese came back into them, from there on the race was theirs.
“We had a bit of a tough start being over in the first race but we made a good recovery to get an 8th and then in the second race we just kept it simple and we managed to win that one,” described Outteridge. “It was perfect for 49er sailing – 12-16 knots and nice flat water and good shifts. You could hear the crowds when you sailed past – we have got a lot of Aussies over here supporting us, so it is good to have a bit of a crowd cheering you on.
“It was always going to be a tricky day being on the Nothe with the crowd there and the pressure of the Olympics. We had the Canadian team right up there at the start and it makes you realise that it doesn’t which country you are from, everyone has got a good chance to post some good races, so it is going to be about consistency and we were pretty happy that we stayed inside the top 10 and it gives us a good chance for the rest of the week."
Although Outteridge is a fan of the Nothe course/ticketed specatating, one gets the impression he is pleased to be off that course now. “I think if we do some more racing on the Nothe course the scores are will be really up and down. We have got three days to come on the Harbour course, which is a little bit more stable and a little bit less random so after those three days you will see a good pattern of who is doing well and who isn’t.”
Spain's Xabi Fernandez said they were not exactly happy with their start, the former Gold medallists holding 10th place with a 15-6 today. They were one of the OCSes in race one but were unable to fight back to the same degree as the Aussies. One also gets the impression that the Spanish were left scratching their heads over the Nothe course.
“It was a very difficult race area and we also felt a little bit rusty. But the second race we sailed much better, sailed the boat a little bit better, there was a bit more wind and we started well. I don’t think it is that bad.”
Having been away on the Volvo Ocean Race, this is their first major 49er regatta since the Test Event last year where they finished on equal points with the winner. “The fleet is different to how they used to sail,” Fernandez continued. “They sail very fast everywhere, fast and low and we struggled with this mode a little bit. Our speed is okay - I would like to be faster of course, but that wasn’t the problem today. We will get some interesting racing on the Harbour because it gets very choppy and you might see some nose diving. Hopefully it is not us!”
In the Stars there were two more different winners today with Kiwis Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner coming out on top in race one. Britain’s Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson led the early part of the first beat with Norway’s Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen doing well on the right to take the lead around the top mark and subsequently around the leeward gate where the Kiwis were up to fourth behind the Brits and Swedes Freddie Loof and Max Salminen. While the Norwegians held the lead up the second beat, the Kiwis took over on the final run to win by 13 seconds with Percy and Simpson third.
The Kiwis got off to a strong start in the second race but it was Germans Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen who led around the top mark ahead of the Norwegians and Canada’s Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn. The Germans were overhauled by the Swedes who led at the bottom gate, followed by Brazilians Robert Schiedt and Bruno Prada, the Brits and Kiwis. The Swedes held on for the rest of the course finishing comfortably ahead of second placed Percy and Simpson.
At the end of day two of the Star competition with their 3-2 today, Percy and Simpson lead the Star, but are tied on points with the Norwegians and with the Swedes and their old friends, the Brazilians, also in the hunt within two points of them.
Listen to Andrew Simpson here
In the Finn the first race saw Kiwi Dan Slater round the top mark ahead of the Netherland’s Pieter-Jan Postma and Greece’s Ioannis Mitakis while all eyes were on the Hoegh Christensen and Ainslie bout with the Dane rounding in fifth just ahead of the British ace. While Slater extended away, the Danish overall leader pulled up to second on the first run while Ainslie’s famed downwind pace wasn’t as much in evidence, getting up to fourth just ahead of France’s Jonathan Lobert at the bottom mark. While the Kiwi and Dane consolidated their positions on the second beat, Ainslie got buried dropping him to eighth at the second weather mark rounding. Once again Ainslie pulled up on the run but couldn’t get beyond sixth at the finish line, with victory going to Slater.
“It was nice to be able to get out of the blocks and sail my own race whereas yesterday I got trapped out of the start and forced to do things I didn’t really want to do and then played catch up from there on,” said Slater. “I got a pretty nice shift just before the top mark and I managed to get a little bit to the right of the leading bunch and that gave me the lead at the top mark to be able to extend whereas the other guys were in a bit of a catfight chasing behind.”
Slater highlighted some of the issues surrounding the difficulties sailing at the Olympics compared to other regattas: “It is not the same as anything else. There are a lot of other things going through your head, even just getting to the start with all the channel markers, just take some of things away that you’d normally be thinking about when you are cruising out to the start. The Olympics does funny things to your head.”
In the second Finn race today there seemed to be some hope for the rest of the fleet when overall leader Jonas Hoegh Christensen hit the pin and had to carry out a penalty turn. But he picked up impressively.
Finland’s Tapio Nirkko led at the top mark ahead of Swede Daniel Birgmark and Spain’s Rafa Trujillo, with Hoegh Christensen already up to 11th with Ainslie in 14th. By the leeward gate both had pulled up with the Dane 7th and Ainslie 9th, with Nirkko still out in front ahead of France’s Jonathan Lobert. But then there was an intriguing series of circumstances – first disaster for Nirkko when he suffered a capsize while leading. Trujillo took over the lead but then he too combusted when his rudder pulled out of the boat causing him to capsize.
“I’ve had a couple of gear failures over the last two days,” Trujillo later recounted. “Yesterday in the second race the knot that attaches the main sheet to the boom go off and the boom went up and forward and I was close to capsize. That has never happened in my life before. I recovered it and I was last after the first downwind and I came back to 11th so it could have been worse.
“I rechecked everything on the boat and today in the second race I was confident to have enough speed upwind, it was my conditions and I was sailing well but my rudder came completely off...I had the rudder in my hand. I capsized because there wasn’t enough time to get the mainsheet. And after I capsized I was swimming behind the boat with the rudder in one hand! I had to get the boat upright with one hand, still with the rudder in the other. I jumped on board, without losing the rudder, and then I have to put the rudder in. I’m 36 years old and that was a new experience. 36 years old – it is the wrong place for that to happen in the Olympic Games. I was hoping for some surprises, but I hoped that might be getting another medal!”
This left the lead a three way fight between Birkmark, Lobert and Slovenia’s double Laser medallist Vasilij Zbogar, ultimately won by the Swede, with Hoegh Christensen fourth and Ainslie a lowly 12th, who appeared furious with himself upon finishing.
“I didn’t sail very well at all and I’m not happy with that,” said Ainslie. “It is a real fine line at this level. There wasn’t anything in particular that I did wrong, it just didn’t come together, so I am not very happy about that and I am going to have to raise my game for the rest of the week.
“My body weight and my equipment is what it is and what it has been fo the last 18 months. I am happy with that. It is just more the fact of not sailing well. I didn’t get it right today."
Women's Match Racing
The round robin continued today with all of the teams now having sailed four matches. At this stage only the teams of Australia's Olivia Price and Russia's Ekaterina Skudina are left unbeaten. One of the scalps the Aussies claimed were that of Brits the Macgregor sisters and Annie, who now hold a 50% win rate, along with the bulk of the teams.
Among the 50% was the team led by the USA's Beijing Laser Radial gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe. "We had a good day, we had a 1-1," she said. "We had an awesome race with the Aussies. It came down to half a foot at the finish line [in the Aussie's favour]. It was tricky conditions."
Generally of the racing Tunnicliffe said: "It is good. We are really close to the shore which makes it really shifty and very tricky which means the game is never over which is perfect. It is what we want in match racing ,close races and making it fun. We knew that everyone was going to be really close in this regatta it is making the racing extremely close but we are early on in the stages and in the next couple of days we will start seeing the leaders come out and figuring out who’s where."
|1||DEN||Allan Norregaard||Peter Lang||2||4||6|
|2||SWE||Jonas von Geijer||Niclas Düring||5||3||8|
|3||AUS||Nathan Outteridge||Iain Jensen||8||1||9|
|4||POR||Bernardo Freitas||Francisco Rebello De ANDRADE||7||2||9|
|5||FRA||Manu Dyen||Stéphane Christidis||1||9||10|
|6||IRL||Ryan Seaton||matthew mcgovern||4||8||12|
|7||USA||Erik Storck||Trevor Moore||6||10||16|
|8||NZL||Peter Burling||Blair Tuke||9||7||16|
|9||CAN||Gordon Cook||Hunter Lowden||3||16||19|
|10||ESP||Iker Martinez de Lizarduy||Xabier Fernandez Gaztañaga||15||6||21|
|11||GER||Tobias Schadewaldt||Hannes Baumann||17||5||22|
|12||GBR||Stephen Morrison||Ben Rhodes||12||12||24|
|13||AUT||Nico Delle - Karth||Nikolaus Resch||10||15||25|
|14||ITA||Giuseppe Angilella||Gianfranco Sibello||14||11||25|
|15||POL||lukasz Przybytek||Pawel Kolodzinski||11||14||25|
|16||JPN||Yukio Makino||Kenji Takahashi||16||13||29|
|17||CRO||Pavle Kostov||Petar Cupac||13||17||30|
|18||FIN||Lauri Lehtinen||Kalle Bask||19||18||37|
|19||GRE||Dionisis Dimou||Michalis Pateniotis||18||20||38|
|20||BER||Jesse Kirkland||Alexander Kirkland||21||19||40|
|4||CRO||Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic||3||3||7||9||22|
|15||ESP||Rafa Trujillo Villar||12||12||12||23||59|
|19||BRA||Jorge João Zarif||15||20||15||20||70|
|2||GUA||Juan Ignacio Maegli Aguero||1||10||11|
|10||FRA||Jean Baptiste Bernaz||3||21||24|
|20||NED||Rutger van Schaardenburg||33||11||44|
|21||BEL||Wannes Van Laer||21||30||51|
|25||CHI||Matias Del Solar||16||32||48|
|44||MAS||Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy||41||45||86|
|47||VEN||Jose Miguel Ruiz||42||46||88|
|2||BEL||Evi Van Acker||3||2||5|
|7||LTU||Gintare Volungeviciute Scheidt||2||13||15|
|10||MEX||Tania Elias Calles||12||9||21|
|19||ARG||Cecilia Carranza Saroli||9||28||37|
|28||NOR||Marthe Enger Eide||30||24||54|
|38||IOA||Philipine Van Aanholt||36||38||74|
|1||GBR||Iain Percy||Andrew Simpson||11||2||3||2||18|
|2||NOR||Eivind Melleby||Petter Morland Pedersen||7||5||2||4||18|
|3||SWE||Fredrik Loof||Max Salminen||10||4||4||1||19|
|4||BRA||Robert Scheidt||Bruno Prada||4||1||9||6||20|
|5||IRL||Peter O'Leary||David Burrows||2||6||14||5||27|
|6||USA||Mark MENDELBLATT||Brian Fatih||5||14||5||3||27|
|7||GER||Robert Stanjek||Frithjof Kleen||6||9||8||7||30|
|8||POL||Mateusz Kusznierewicz||Dominik Zycki||9||3||12||10||34|
|9||FRA||Xavier Rohart||Pierre-Alexis PONSOT||1||13||10||11||35|
|10||NZL||Hamish Pepper||Jim Turner||15||7||1||13||36|
|11||GRE||Amilios PAPATHANASIOU||Antonis Tsotras||3||16||7||12||38|
|12||CAN||Richard Clarke||Tyler Bjorn||16||10||6||8||40|
|13||SUI||Flavio Marazzi||Enrico De Maria||13||8||11||9||41|
|14||DEN||Michael HESTBAEK||Claus Olesen||12||11||13||15||51|
|15||CRO||Marin Lovrovic Jr||Dan Lovrovic||8||12||16||14||50|
|16||POR||Afonso Domingos||Frederico Melo||14||15||15||16||60|
From Carlo Borlenghi/www.borlenghi.com/FIV
From Rick Tomlinson/www.rick-tomlinson.com