London Olympics- NZers dominate Womens 470 with massive wins
by Richard Gladwell on 8 Aug 2012
The New Zealand crew of Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie gave the Womens 470 fleet a sailing lesson on Portland Harbour today.
Weymouth, England - Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (NZL) won both races sailed today in the Womens 470 by large margins © Richard Gladwell http://www.richardgladwell.com
They won both their races leading around all but two of the 18 rounding marks in the two races sailed at the 2012 Olympic Regatta.
The wins puts them into the lead in the Womens 470 event by a margin of 4pts over the British crew of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark. In third place on points are a Dutch crew of Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout, who are seven points behind Aleh and Powrie.
Sailing in winds of 10-12 kts the New Zealand pair won by 41 seconds in the first race and just under a minute in the second. After getting clear of the lead bunch at the end of the first run, they were never challenged. Their win in the second race was as convincing as has been seen in any race in any event in this Olympic Regatta which is now in its tenth day.
The wind direction was from SSW direction and to observers seemed to be reasonably steady. There was a squall through between races which caused a general recall and resetting of the start line before the start of the Mens second race, however after that the wind settled down and there appeared to be few issues.
In the Mens 470, Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders looked to lose some of the edge they had enjoyed in the open water courses off Weymouth Bay, and were unable to recover to the extend they have done on previous days. Despite scoring 13th and 12th places from being 18th and 17th respectively around the first mark in each race, the New Zealand crew lies in fifth place overall, the same place they were overnight. But instead of being just a single point off the Bronze medal, they are now 15pts away, and will be hard-pressed to crack a podium place in the double points scoring Medal race to be sailed on Thursday.
After the race Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie were refused interview time with gathered New Zealand media in the Mixed Zone at the Olympic Regatta. Every other team has been more than co-operative in this regard during the event, which is a recognised way of generating media coverage for the sport in each nation.
The Medal Races in the Mens and Womens Windsurfer (RS:X) were sailed today. The result had already been decided with a race to spare for Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) coached by New Zealand Olympic Bronze medalist Aaron MacIntosh. After electing to sit out the final race of the fleeting racing, van Rijsselberge creamed the fleet again in the Medal Race, in front of a large crowd on the Nothe course. He led from end to end. Second in the race was 2008 Olympic Silver medalist Julien Bontemps, however he placed fifth in the regatta. Silver medal winner was Nick Dempsey with a Polish sailor winning the Bronze.
New Zealand's JP Tobin finished eighth and was seventh overall in the event.
There was no New Zealand entry in the Womens event, despite New Zealand qualifying in the first round in Perth in December 2011.
The Medals for the Mens Windsurfer were presented by New Zealand's triple Olympic medalist in the discipline and now IOC Member, Barbara Kendall.
This regatta marks the end of an era for the Windsurfer, which has been dropped for the 2016 Olympic Regatta - subject to a Judicial Review.
In the Mixed Zone, the medalists in the Windsurfing event were vociferous in their condemnation of the ISAF, and tonight's media conference promises to see the sports ruling body put on the BBQ by media and competitors alike.