by Lindsey Bell
ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma continues in Palma de Mallorca. Megan Pascoe picked up the first British medal and her second World Cup podium finish of the season at the Princess Sofia Trophy on Friday (5 April), claiming silver in the 2.4mR Paralympic sailing class.
Megan Pascoe, 2,4mR
The 26-year-old Pascoe added silver at this first European leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup series to the gold she won at the Miami World Cup event in January, while 14 British Sailing Team crews will look to add to the GB medal tally in the finals for the ten Olympic classes on Saturday (6 April).
After her disappointment at missing out on selection for her home Paralympic Games last year, Pascoe admitted she’s had a pleasing start to this new cycle, and towards realising her 2016 ambitions in Rio.
'Being the start of the road to Rio, and with UK Sport and the National Lottery officially launching the 2016 campaign this week it’s quite nice to be on the podium!' she said of her silver medal feat this week in Palma.
'2012 was quite hard for me, but 2013 has started with a bang!'
Bjornar Erikstad was the man who stood between Pascoe and her second World Cup gold of the year, with the Norwegian sailor leading going into Friday’s final day of racing for the Paralympic class. The British sailor went on the attack at the start of the final race in a bid to overturn her rival’s lead, but had to settle for the second step of the podium.
'It didn’t quite pan out,' said Pascoe. 'But it’s always worth trying these things, and trying them when I already had the silver in the bag [so nothing to lose] is always nice.'
'Hyeres is going to be slightly tougher,' the Ardingly sailor said of her next World Cup challenge later this month. 'We’ve got a few of the Paralympians coming back – we’ve only seen Bjornar so far, so it’ll be interesting to catch up with those guys again. I haven’t raced with them since Sail for Gold.
'But I’m on a roll, so we’ll have to wait and see on that one.'
Bryony Shaw, RS:X women
Bryony Shaw, Alison Young and Giles Scott hold on to the yellow leader’s jerseys in their respective women’s RS:X, Laser Radial and Finn classes going into the final day of the regatta on Saturday.
But the experimental scoring format being trialled at this event will see two double-points scoring medal races, instead of the usual one race, for the majority of the Olympic classes, meaning the medals are still very much up for grabs.
'I’ll have the yellow jersey from tomorrow, retaining it from today, but the points are really tight and with two medal races it’s going to be all to play for tomorrow!' said world windsurfing silver medallist Shaw, who picked up two third places from her races on Friday to see her maintain the overall lead.
The 29-year-old Shaw, bronze medallist at the Beijing Olympics, is yet to be convinced about the scoring system being used this week.
'Everyone’s got their opinions on the format. I think throwing everything at the last day is a bit much.
'People want to build up their points and have that respect for the result at the end of the day, and having such a weighting on the final day is just a bit a lottery when I don’t think the athletes really want that.'
But having had a medal-winning start to the year at the RS:X World Championships in Brazil last month, where she won her first piece of Worlds silverware, Shaw is keen to keep the momentum going and close out another podium finish in Palma tomorrow.
'It’s great to be here and racing in the yellow jersey and keep that momentum going.
'We’re planning to do a lot of races this year and it’s trying to keep that winning spirit going, and hopefully I’ll finish here on top and it’ll be job done!'
Alison Young, Laser Radial
Alison Young returns to the top of the Laser Radial fleet with scores of 9,4 on the racecourse today.
'The different format has kept it close right until the end,' Young commented. 'It was a tough day out there for everyone today. I was pleased to be making good gains downwind, which bodes well for tomorrow. I am looking forward these two medal races.'
Fellow British Radial sailor Chloe Martin has also made the cut for the 10-boat medal races, winning the last race of the final series on Friday to see her into eighth place going into the final day.
Giles Scott takes a negligible three-point lead over Dutchman Pieter Jan Postma going into the Finn medal races on Saturday, with teammates Andrew Mills and Mark Andrews ensuring three British boats made the finals for the heavyweight dinghy class.
Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre go into the 470 women’s final day effectively on level-pegging with the Brazilians Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan, while Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield will aim to hold on to their top three spot in the 470 men’s event in tomorrow’s two medal races.
In the 49er and 49erFX events, the double-points scoring medal races are replaced by four single point ‘stadium races’ each with eight boats and lasting just 10 minutes apiece. In the men’s 49er, Dave Evans and Ed Powys go into the final day in second overall, while Exmouth Olympians Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes made the cut in seventh.
Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth were the only British pairing to reach the final day of racing for the 49erFX in what’s first regatta of the new class for the four-boat GBR squad, while Lucy Macgregor-Tom Phipps and Pippa Wilson-John Gimson made medal race day at their first attempt in the new Nacra 17 multihull event, with Macgregor in seventh overall, and Beijing gold medallist Wilson in ninth.
There were notable performances for British development squad sailors Alex Mills Barton in the Laser, and Tom Squires in the RS:X men’s windsurfing event – both of whom made the cut for their first ever World Cup medal races, in seventh and tenth places respectively, and with Seaford’s Mills Barton winning the last Laser race on Friday to help secure his finals berth.
Medal racing at the Princess Sofia Trophy will get underway at 1045 (local time) on Saturday.
British Sailing Team website