Sailors Showcase Talent on Olympic Waters
Rio de Janeiro's Olympic waters
were packed full of exceptional sailing and athletic talent on Sunday 16
August with all ten Olympic events on show at the Aquece Rio – international
Sailing Regatta 2015.
The Men's and Women's 470, 49er, 49erFX, Finn and Nacra 17 sailors joined
their RS:X and Laser counterparts on the water for an exceptional day of
racing. A southern breeze ranging from 6-10 knots was present as all six
racing areas were utilised.
Men's and Women's 470
The Men's and Women's 470 fleets were the first to trial the Pai racing area
and it stirred up tight leaderboards in both.
Nine points split the top eight in the men's fleet with 14 points separating
the leading eight in the women's.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) lead the way in the men's and are followed by
Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (USA). After racing Hughes commented on the course, "The entire fleet hasn't done
a great deal of training on the course. Historically we have all focused on
Niteroi and Copacabana so it was a balance of trying to take the lessons of
those two courses and see what was applied and make some adjustments.
"It's always head out
of the boat on those outside courses. We took what we learned from race one
and applied it to the second.
"We are really happy
with the start of the regatta. You can always look at single races and places
to do better, but of course the way forward is to put in a solid day and look
forward to the next.”
In the Women's fleet Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao (CHN) and Anne Haeger and
Briana Provancha (USA) share the lead. The conditions suited the teams with
light frames and the Chinese and Americans capitalised.
Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) had a great day in the Finn, picking up a second and
a first. The Dutch sailor holds the early advantage and was pleased with how
things played out, "I
had a very good start and great strategy.
"I tacked off all the
way to the right and there was a bit more pressure there and then to the
mark, fourth at the top mark and then I caught up to second.
"The last race was
quite the same, very good start, very good strategy and super happy I won the
Postma leads Max Salminen (SWE) by four points and Tapio Nirkko (FIN) sits in
third. The opening race win went the way of Anders Pedersen (NOR) who is
49er and 49erFX
Uno, due, tre. One, two, three. Um, dois, tres. Whatever the language, the
score cannot be faulted as Italy's Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich came
out hard in the 49erFX to set a good benchmark.
An opening race first was backed up with a second and then a third as they
took the early lead and Conti was happy her pre-race planning paid off, "We went out with some strategy
already as the pattern of the wind looks like it is the same every day and we
talked with our coach about what to do.
"We had a clear idea
of what to do and we stuck with it and the boat was fast and we sailed well.
We had a good day.”
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) are second overall, a point off the
Italians, after a 3-1-(15) whilst World #1 and ISAF Rolex World Sailors of
the Year Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) sit third.
A dying afternoon breeze meant that the 49er fleet sailed two out of three
Diego Botin and Iago Lopez (ESP) took the first race win and then a fourth
which sees them lead. Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) took the second
race win but a 13th in the opening sees them in fifth overall.
The 49er have four races scheduled for 17 August to catch up on the schedule
whilst the 49erFX will sail their scheduled three.
Men's and Women's RS:X
The Men's and Women's RS:X fleets enjoyed another excellent day on the water
racing under Sugarloaf Mountain with a beach full of Carioca's enjoying Rio's
sunshine and the great race action.
Aichen Wang (CHN) continued his good form in the opening race by taking the
victory, but it didn't come easily with a number of his rivals just inches
and seconds behind him. On the run to the finish Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) was
hot on Wang's heels. Wang held firm to take the narrowest of wins.
Pierre Le Coq (FRA) also pushed hard throughout the race and was just five
seconds behind Wang with Nick Dempsey (GBR), Ricardo Santos (BRA) and Max
Oberemko (RUS) coming through seconds later.
The close racing continued and Wang was again, impressive. A second and a
fifth, which he discards, hands him a nine point lead going into the RS:X
fleets reserve day. Le Coq is in second with Kokkalanis occupying third.
Consistency pays off in sailing; it's the nature of the game. Across a large
number of races in a range of conditions gold medals have been won by sailors
who lacked a race win to their score card.
The Women's RS:X fleet saw exceptional performances from Malgorzata Bialecka
(POL) and Blanca Manchon (ESP) who finished in the top eight in all three
races. Across the six race series neither sailor counts a bullet but their
consistency sees them placed second and third respectively.
France's Charline Picon had a mixed day with a race win, a second and a
discarded 11th. She leads the way by one point over Bialecka.
The star of the show in the Women's RS:X was Estonia's Ingrid Puusta who
recorded a race win and two thirds to catapult her up the leaderboard. She
sits fourth overall.
The fast paced Nacra 17 fleet were tested outside of Guanabara Bay, racing on
the Copacabana course. At the early stages of the competition there is very
little to separate the fleet. Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL) are at the
top of the tree on four points following double seconds and a discarded 14th.
Race victories went the way of Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Lubeck (DEN),
Paul Kohlhoff and Carolina Werner (GER) and Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning
(NED). The three teams are tied on five points in second place.
Laser and Laser Radial
Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic was full of smiles after racing in the Laser
following a race win and a second. Stipanovic had a mixed opening day with a
first and a 14th but bounced back by doing what he know best, sailing hard,
sailing fast and at the front of the pack.
After his performance of the day the Croatian holds the leading spot on four
Francesco Marrai (ITA) was just as impressive as Stipanovic recording a 2-3
and as a result moves up to second. The days remaining race win went
the way of Jesper Stalheim (SWE) who is tenth overall.
Gintare Scheidt (LTU) leads in the Laser Radial after picking up an eighth
and a race win but displaying great consistency was Alison Young (GBR), with
a 3-3, and Evi Van Acker (BEL) who picked up a 4-4.
For Van Acker, Rio's challenge is an exciting proposition as the fleet moved
outside of Guanabara Bay on the Niteroi course. "Every course here is different,” said Van Acker.
"Inside the bay is flat and outside is bigger waves, but this way on
different courses the best all round sailor can win it.
"Tomorrow we are on
the Pai course which is really far away and I am really excited to race on
that with a bigger breeze.”
Racing is scheduled to resume at 13:00 local time on Monday 17 August. The
RS:X fleets will enjoy a day off whilst the remaining fleets will resume
where they left off today.
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