Macgregor and Walsh out in front
The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy welcomed similar conditions to that of day one as some of the world’s best Olympic and Paralympic sailors enjoyed another full day of racing at the Olympic sailing venue.
Racing kicked off, as scheduled, at 10:30am for the Finn, Nacra 17, 470, 2.4mR and Sonar who completed the scheduled three races, while the RS:X, 49ers and 49erFX had the afternoon slot with a south westerly 10 – 15 knots allowing the full complement of races to take place.
Lucy Macgregor and Andrew Walsh held on to their lead in the Nacra 17 with a solid race day.
After seven races the British Sailing Team duo have a two point lead over compatriots Pippa Wilson and John Gimson who hold on to second and sit two points off the top spot, while Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond leapfrogged Tom Phipps and Zennor Pascoe into third.
With a 2-2-3 for today’s efforts, the London 2012 Olympian Macgregor was pleased with their performance on day two of this five day regatta: “We did enough to stay in the lead today which is good. It was tricky racing again so never a moment to relax really as it was always pretty full on.”
Former Tornado Olympic campaigner and Extreme 40 racer Andrew Walsh, who teamed up with Macgregor last autumn, added: “One of our main goals from this week and for this year really as we are a new team is to work on our communication and decision making around the race course and I think so far these two days have been the perfect, shifty, hard mental racing which has enabled us to work on those goals.”
“With the World Championships and key events coming up quite quickly we are working on a number of things in preparation for that, including our technique and other bits and pieces with the boat which will hopefully stand us in good stead for the summer regattas, but obviously it would be great to do as well as we can here as it’s always nice to come away from a regatta with a good result.”
The British Sailing Team Sonar trio of John Robertson-Hannah Stodel-Steve Thomas displayed another dominant performance as they matched yesterday’s results with a further three race wins.
Sitting on six points they are seven clear of Andy Cassell-Tom Abbey-Chris Olden as they look to upgrade their Delta Lloyd silver on Weymouth and Portland home waters.
“Today was another good day for us, we started well in two of the races but had a bad start in the other where we ended up last, however we managed to pull it back and were able to just get past Andy Cassell and his team towards the end of the race which was fortunate for us.
“We have been working quite a lot on our speed at the last few events in Hyeres and in Medemblik and we feel as though we are a lot quicker which is good – we are definitely on track and going in the right direction.”
Andy Cassell, who won gold when the Sonar class was a demonstration event at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, posted three seconds today to sit in second place overall, with Robertson chuffed to be up against the Atlanta medallist.
“Andy [Cassell] is an awesome sailor, I have been sailing against him since 95/96 after he won gold in Atlanta and to have him here this week is brilliant, not just for the event but for the whole Paralympic squad and the sport of sailing as a whole. He is providing us with some good competition so I’m looking forward to the next three days.”
Robertson confirms that this year’s Sail for Gold is an important regatta as they build momentum towards the IFDS World Championships in Canada (15-24 August).
“With the fleet this week consisting of five GBR boats there is a chance we could switch off and become complacent if you like so it’s important that we still work hard, follow our processes and treat every race the same. If we win then this will be our forth Sail for Gold title which will be a great boost in the build-up to Canada.”
Helena Lucas continued to display excellent consistency in the 2.4mR fleet as the Paralympic champion cemented her position at the top of the leaderboard with a 1-2-2. Australia’s Matt Bugg remains in second with a 4-3-1 with Great Britain’s Megan Pascoe hot on his heels in third.
Luke Patience and Elliott Willis continued their march towards their second consecutive EUROSAF Champions Cup medal, with an unblemished scorecard of seven race wins.
“With the tricky conditions today all we really did was attack the start hard and really tried to make the first gain and then from there things kind of flowed and we were sailing with a bit of flair – so all in all a great day with three race wins,” said Patience.
With a combined 470 fleet at this week regatta, the London 2012 Olympic silver medallist admits to it not being as easy as it sounds.
“It’s not easy out there, we are fighting up the first beats to try and get our space but we are sailing well. Racing against the girls is a different kettle of fish, they are very smooth and there is more finesse in what they do whereas sometimes the boys just muscle through things so this gives you get a different perspective of how the fleet moves. With the fact the girls have more finesse you often find that it highlights the erratic changes that we might be doing so it’s quite nice to build some finesse into our sailing.”
ISAF Sailing World Cup silver medallists Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre remain in second after adding a 3-2-2 to their scorecard whilst Anna Burnett and Flora Stewart have moved up from fifth to third with a 2-4-3.
“It was a tricky day with some shifty breeze off the shore but I am pretty happy with how today went,” said Giles Scott of his two race wins and a third in the heavyweight Finn class.
The British Sailing Team star is on track to maintain his unbeaten run since returning to full-time Olympic classes sailing in September, and holds a five point lead over Mark Andrews who took first place in today’s second race of the day. Andrew Mills holds onto his overnight position of third.
“With this event more of a process regatta and the Worlds and Test event coming up I am pretty happy with where I am at. I still feel there is a lot to be worked on but the season has gone well so far and hopefully it will continue to follow suit.”
With the breeze expected to build for tomorrow’s racing, Scott admits he is looking forward to a change of pace at the halfway stage of the regatta: “We have got 25 knots forecast for tomorrow afternoon so it will make a nice change for sure – it should be quite fresh and interesting and will certainly mix it up a little so it should be good.”
Olympic windsurfers Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw both had flawless days in their respective fleets with three race wins each. Tom Squires has jumped into second with a 2-4-2 for today’s efforts while Kieran Martin has slipped into third in the 9.5m rig. Spanish windsurfer Blanca Manchon sits in second behind Shaw in the 8.5m rig while British Sailing Team Podium Squad sailor Izzy Hamilton currently sits third after six races.
49er & 49erFX
The high performance skiff fleets both completed four races out in Weymouth Bay with David Evans and Ed Powys taking control in the 49er class. The British Sailing Team duo posted a steady 2-2-1 to move them up from third to first. Nic Asher and Fynn Sterritt remain in second by four points, adding a race win to their scorecard in today’s second race of the day while Stevie Morrison and Chris Grube move into third despite suffering a broken jib halyard in the final race of the day.
The Dutch duo Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz continue to rule the roost in the 49erFX event adding a dependable 2-1-3 to their tally, giving them a slender two point cushion over Kate Macgregor and Katrina Best who have moved up two places into second. Frances Peters and Nicola Groves ended their day with a race win, leaving them in third overall.
Racing is scheduled to start at 10.30am tomorrow (Wednesday 3 June) with a 15-25 knot forecast in store.