by Lindsey Bell
At the ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma, Giles Scott continued his ‘holiday’ from America’s Cup sailing with two wins from three races to extend his lead at the top of the Finn fleet at on Thursday (4 April).
Giles Scott, Finn - ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma 2013
The 25-year-old Scott, the Finn World and European Champion in 2011, has been taking a sabbatical from the Olympic heavyweight class to work with the Luna Rossa team ahead of this year’s Cup, but has returned to his dinghy roots to compete in the Palma and Hyeres World Cup regattas this month.
Scott admits to finding the switch back from a 72 foot America’s Cup multihull to the 14 foot Finn a refreshing change, and is pleased to have seemingly not lost too much of his form, with two more days of the regatta to go.
'The biggest thing that’s surprised me is that I’m still able to hike!' Scott confessed.
'I seem to be going alright but there’s a few bits of rust here and there that I’ve noticed – I suppose you can expect that after not having done much [Finn] sailing at all!'
'It was really good,' said Scott of the racing on Thursday. 'It started off pretty light but we had 10 knots suddenly come in and from then it slowly picked up through the day to about 15 or 16.
'It was typical sort of Palma with a left trend in the breeze and today, unlike other days, I was able to get off the startline which helped me a little bit!'
The British team sailors in the heavyweight Finn class had a solid day all round, with Scott and teammates Mark Andrews and Andrew Mills almost closing out a GBR clean sweep in the third race of the day, but the Netherlands’ Pieter Jan Postma spoiled the party.
He squeezed in to take third place ahead of Mills, but behind race winner Scott and Andrews, and stands between the British boys and all three podium places with two days of racing to go. The Dutchman is second in the overall standings behind Scott, with Mills currently poised in the bronze medal spot and Andrews in fourth.
Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre also picked up two race wins from three today to maintain their lead in the 470 women’s event at their first event together.
Sophie Weguelin & Eilidh McIntyre, 470 Women - ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma 2013
The 24-year-old Weguelin describes having the race leader’s bibs to wear as ‘an added bonus’ but insists their goals this week are focused on gelling as a crew.
'This regatta’s about the processes and getting a lot of the routines in place because obviously we’re quite a new team together.'
'We’ve got really good pace – up and downwind,' said McIntyre, the 18-year-old daughter of 1988 Olympic Star gold medallist Mike McIntyre. 'We’ve been working really hard on our communication which is really helping, and just focussing on all our processes so we can build on our new team and on the things that do work.'
'It’s a bit frustrating that it’s a new format and the previous results don’t really count for anything in hindsight, but we just went out and carried on with what we’re here to work on,' the 470 European Champion Weguelin continued.
'There are still a lot of things that can change with the two medal races and still two races tomorrow, so we’ll see!'
World windsurfing silver medallist Bryony Shaw enjoyed her best day on the water so far for this first day of gold fleet racing, where the regatta effectively restarts after three days of qualifying races under the experimental scoring system being trialled by ISAF this week.
Shaw picked up two race wins and now tops the standings in the women’s RS:X fleet by eight points with two more days to go, while Alison Young’s impressive run of five back to back race wins from the Laser Radial qualifying series counted for little today. With the slate now effectively wiped clean under the trial scoring format, Denmark’s Sarah Gunni has now levelled the points with Young at the top of the table, with each sailor counting a third, a second and a zero-point race win from the first day of the final series.
While Young suffered at the hands of the new format, Laser development squad sailor Alex Mills Barton could well be praising the system, leaping from 24th overnight to eighth on the leaderboard tonight with the help of impressive scores of 4,6,19 from the gold fleet racing today.
Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield remain steady at their first regatta together, in second overall in the 470 men’s event, while Dave Evans and Ed Powys had a consistent four races in the 49er gold fleet to remain in second overall. Overnight leaders Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes ended the day on a high with a second place from race four and are in fourth place at the close of play on Thursday.
In the 2.4mR Paralympic class, in which racing concludes on Friday, Miami World Cup winner Megan Pascoe is in second overall behind Norway’s Bjornar Erikstad, while British crews made gains in the new Olympic 49erFX class today. Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth are in third place overall and were unfortunate to capsize just metres from the finish line when in third place in the first race of the day, eventually finishing 12th, but picked up 2,3 from their subsequent two races to see them break into the top three. Penny Clark and birthday girl Nicola Groves, 24 today, are in eighth place overall with scores of 4,9 sandwiching a discardable 25th.
Lucy Macgregor and Tom Phipps saw the best day of the British crews in the new Nacra 17 multihull event and improve to seventh overall, while development squad Tom Squires is in tenth in the RS:X men’s windsurfing event.
British Sailing Team
Trofeo Princesa Sofai Mapfre