by Craig Heydon
At the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, Australia’s Women’s Match Racing and 49er crews continue to lead after four days. Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty kept their amazing run going, making it eight wins from eight starts in the Women’s Match Racing competition, while Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have opened up a 13 point lead in the 49er class. Tom Slingsby is second overall in the Lasers, just a point behind first.
Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty (AUS) competing today, 01.08.12, in the Women’s Match Racing (Elliott 6M) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.
Price, Curtis and Whitty scored wins against their Swedish and Dutch opponents on Wednesday and with just three races remaining in the round robin have secured Australia a position in the quarter-finals.
The Australian trio had a fight on their hands in both races, against the Swedes they came from behind on the final downwind to get the victory by the smallest of margins on the line.
'We rounded the top mark in a nice big hole but managed to get her on the downwind which was good,' said Curtis. 'We caught a couple of lengths with speed but then Lucinda picked a strong shift on the boat end with a bit of bias and it got us over the line.'
In the final race of the day the Australians defeated the Netherlands with the lead swapping a number of times throughout the race on the Nothe spectator course.
'We’ve done quite a bit of training against the Dutch and we knew it was going to be a tough race, we knew we had to keep making decisions, so we took each puff as it came and tried to consolidate on what we had,' said Price. 'There were a couple of penalties throughout it, one for a port-starboard incident and then one for a windward-leeward incident where she received both and then on the downwind she received another penalty when she was behind for pumping. We were expecting a fun and interesting race against them, it’s always really tight racing.'
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen continued their strong start in the 49er class, with a second and a first on Portland Harbour extending their overnight lead over their New Zealand opponents from nine to 13 points.
August 1, 2012 - Weymouth, England - 49er leaders Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) in hot pursuit of the Gold Medal
'We came away with a two and a one today after good starts,' said Jensen. 'We got the first shift in both, didn’t round the top mark first in either race but just ground away from there and waited for other boats to make a mistake.'
Outteridge said that the pair was well aware of the threat posed by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke who currently sit second.
'The Kiwis are sailing great, we were ahead of them in both races and made a good pass on them in the first race. They’re sailing excellently, it’s exactly what we expected,' said Outteridge. 'We’ve got to keep on our game because if we make a little slip up they’re going to be right there to capitalise on it so we’ve just got to keep doing our thing. We’re not really keeping an eye on any of the boats we’re just making sure that we get to the top mark in the top five in every race and if we do that it shouldn’t matter what everyone else does.'
Outteridge and Jensen had those on the water looking twice before racing with Outteridge sailing out wearing a pair of goggles and a snorkel, a gift from friends after their capsize on Tuesday.
'Last night at dinner we got given a snorkel and goggles and told that I had to put them on out there in case we had another swim so I wore it out to the start line,' said Outteridge. 'We’re trying to keep it a bit light hearted, we like to have a joke about things like that.
Tom Slingsby went into the day four points clear of Cypriot Pavlos Kontides with Kontides having the better day to take the lead over Slingsby by one point.
Tom Slingsby (AUS) competing in the Men’s One Person Dinghy (Laser) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.
Slingsby again was forced to fight back through the fleet in both races, from 22nd to ninth in race one and 10th to second in the final race of the day.
'It was a long day on the water again, hard work,' said Slingsby. 'I’m getting sick of trying to come back, we’ve got a day off tomorrow but when we’re back into it I just want to get good starts and lead to every mark.
'Today in the first race when I was deep in the pack I thought back to yesterday and went, ok let’s start the process again and come back,' he said. 'I didn’t do it quite as well today as yesterday but it’s good to know that the race isn’t over and that I can pull back.'
Jessica Crisp had a tough day on the water in the RS:X women’s class. The four-time Olympian didn’t get off to a good start in either race, finishing with a pair of 17ths to be 14th overall.
'I seem to be scared of that start line and am having the worst starts of my career,' said Crisp. 'Tomorrow I’m winning the start, that’s my one focus, I’m having a simple focus and we’ll see what happens after that.'
Laser Radial sailor Krystal Weir had a mixed day on the water with a seventh and a 35th. Weir was back on the pace on Wednesday, evident with her race one result but in race two she missed a big wind shift on the first beat and paid for it, eventually finishing 35th and is 15th overall.
Brendan Casey and the Finn fleet had a lay day and will be back racing on Thursday. The 470 men’s fleet hit the water for the first time tomorrow with Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page out to defend Page’s Beijing 2008 gold medal.
Australian Sailing Team website