by Ian Grant
Iain Percy the popular 24 year old English Finn Class skipper is just two races away from achieving his career ambition of winning the Gold Medal at the Sydney Olympic regatta.
Finn dinghy from Great Britain Iain Percy
Percy sails on to the course today as a clear leader with his remarkably consistent score of 2-1-9-2-5-8-1-6-1 and only needs to finish one of the races in the top six to win the Gold Medal for England.
He has proved the value of extensive training at the Olympic venue where he won the pre-Olympic regatta a year ago.
Since then the talented skipper has prepared body and mind for his assault on outsailing higher ranked International rivals in a competition which has completely tested the character and endurance of each skipper as they have wrestled with demands of sailing the 4.5m Finn fast in wide range of winds.
Surprisingly Percy who was ranked 9th Internationally was only given an outside chance of winning a medal against the high standard 25 Nation fleet which included the 2000 World champion and Atlanta Gold Medallist Mateusz Kusnierewicz (Poland) and Belgium's Silver Medallist Sebastien Godefroid.
But that ranking dramatically changed by race four in the eleven races series when Percy outsailed the fleet to firm a grip on his best ever result.
He has been totally relaxed in all of his races which have enabled him to apply a sensible and successful race strategy.
Naturally interest today will focus on the results of the first race where Percy is expected to win the Gold Medal with a race to spare.
Similar interest will centre on the minor medal battle where Sweden, Poland, Italy and France are split by only 12 points.
PROGRESSIVE POINTS (Official): Iain Percy (GBR) 26pts 1, Fredrik Loof (SWE) 46pts 2, Mateusz Kusnierewicz (POL) 53pts 3, ITA 57pts 4, FRA 58pts 5, BEL 63pts 6, USA 63pts 7, TUR 63pts 8, IRL 65pts 9, BRA 74pts 10.