Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Isotak Ocean

Paralympics London 2012 – Promising Day 1 for Rickham and Birrell

by RYA on 2 Sep 2012
SKUD pair refusing to get carried away - London 2012 Paralympic Sailing Regatta RYA http://www.rya.org.uk
The London 2012 Paralympic Sailing Regatta first day of competition got underway on Saturday 1st September. Early leaders Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell insist they will be reading nothing into day one’s results as they got off to a promising start.

The four-time SKUD World champions picked up a second and first from their first two races of the two-person keelboat event, the same scores as their Australian rivals Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch, but sit at the top of the leaderboard overnight on account of having won the last race of the day.

The opening race saw the Aussies take the early advantage, swooping into a half a minute lead halfway through the race. Rickham and Birrell managed to reduce the advantage to actually take the lead on the run to the line but Fitzgibbon and Tesch came back strongly to nip back ahead metres from the finish to take the win.

Race two was a different story as the Brits got out of the blocks quickest and led from start to finish to ensure it was all square with the Aussies at close of play.

Epsom’s Rickham said: 'It’s a good start, a solid start. We feel good but it’s only day one so we don’t read anything into it at all. It’s where we wanted to be. The first race was a bit difficult, to take the loss on the line, that was hard. Clearly it’s going to be a bit of a battle with the Australians as it stands at the moment. We’re just looking forward to the rest of the regatta and taking each day as it comes. Tomorrow we start with a zero score in our heads and try and do it again.'

Birrell, from Knutsford, said: 'We’ve got three points from two races, which is a great start. The boat’s going fast, Alex is sailing well and everything looks good so we’re just excited to go sailing again tomorrow. We let what is going to be one of our key opponents take a point on us in the first race, which was frustrating, but I thought me and Alex bounced back really quickly from that, switched on for what we had to do for race two and won race two, which was what we had to do really at that stage.'

Jamaican-born Rickham has a number of members of her family who have flown over from the Caribbean and the USA to watch her in action at these home Games while Birrell, whose brother Christian has been a training partner for the SKUD duo, also has support in depth on-site from his North West based friends and family.

Although the pair are refusing to get carried away after one day, they are keen to put on a show for those people who have travelled so far to back them.

Rickham added: 'I popped my head out to say hi to my family last night because people had flown in from Jamaica and the States and they weren’t expecting that so that was good. It’s great to be part of London 2012 and to be on home turf. I know everyone always says it but it is once in a lifetime. On our way in today everyone was tooting their horns on their boats and it was nice as we sailed past.'

Birrell concluded: 'I’ve never, ever had so much support. I’ve probably had about 200 messages saying ‘Good Luck’, that they are coming to watch on the last day and that we’ve got to make sure it’s a party! It’s been really nice because me and Alex work down here in the cold and the rain in December, and it’s horrible when there’s nobody about so it’s nice to have everyone behind us. We can really feel the support and we’re just trying to do our best now. Although all I was thinking was my brother won’t be happy when we got sailed past on the last run in the first race! He will give me a bit a stick tonight but hopefully we won’t let that happen again.'

Racing is scheduled to resume at 11am today. Two races are scheduled per day for each class except on the final day, 6th September, when there will be one RYA website

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
Laser creator Ian Bruce passes away (1933 - 2016)
Ian Bruce, driving force behind the Laser dinghy, sadly passed away at his daughter's home on Monday March 21 2016. Ian Bruce, driving force behind the Laser dinghy, sadly passed away at his daughter's home on Monday March 21 2016. His legacy to our sport, Canadian sailing and his beloved Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club will be praised and honoured for years to come.
Posted on 24 Mar
Rio 2016 - Kiwi women sailors jump to escape Olympic Selectors' axe
Two New Zealand sailors will head overseas on self-funded campaigns to gain selection in the New Zealand Olympic team Two New Zealand women sailors will head overseas on self-funded campaigns to gain selection in the New Zealand Olympic team in what is expected to be the final round of announcements.
Posted on 18 Mar
Southern Spars - 100T Clewring J-classSchaefer 2016 660x82