The 49ers start


Lisa Walker's been watching the Sydney harbour racing with her husband Ian, British Star representative
Today was a full and eventful day on the water for the British team. The most exciting boats for me - after the Stars, of course - are the 49ers, and it was their turn to shine on Sydney Harbour today. Mark Covell (British Star crew) was busying himself with some boat work, so Ian was free to watch the racing in his old class. Ian’s parents, Ian and I headed out with a picnic to Neilsen Park, near Shark Bay (complete with shark nets around the beach) and watched the action unfold below us. Ian was surprised to see them racing in what was left of the gradient south-westerly wind, but what a great feeling to see the Union Jack spinnaker 100 metres ahead of the field. Ian tied our big Union Jack flag to the fence and we were joined by Ian Barker’s very proud parents. That was almost the signal for things to start to go wrong. The sea breeze began to come in from the opposite direction (north-easterly), a 180 degree windshift. Ian Barker and Simon Hiscocks in the British 49er just stopped dead, the spinnaker limp, while all the other boats sailed around them from miles behind. We couldn’t believe it. But now we understand what all the team have been saying about racing in Sydney Harbour. It was a particularly great performance for them to then come straight back and finish 5th in the next race. It cannot be much fun to lead your first Olympic race by so far, and then lose it all on the last lap. As Ian keeps reminding us this regatta, ‘will not be for the faint hearted.' Ian and Simon were not the only ones to show great character today. Nick Dempsey in the Men's Mistral is the youngest member of the

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