by Craig Heydon
At the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, Australian sailors are now leading the way in the 49er, Laser and Women’s Match Racing classes after three days of competition in Weymouth.
Tom Slingsby (AUS) competing today, 31.07.12, in the Men’s One Person Dinghy (Laser) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have hit the lead in the 49er class following another two consistent races while Tom Slingsby has held down first in the Laser class and Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty have now taken the outright lead in the Women’s Match Racing after a perfect scorecard of six wins from six starts.
Outteridge and Jensen went into the day third overall with the reigning World Champions picking up a second and a fourth to take a nine point lead over the second placed New Zealand crew into races five and six.
Though things didn’t all go to plan for the pair who had a large lead over the fleet in race two when they capsized in the run to the finish.
'It just shouldn’t have happened,' said Outteridge. 'We were cruising downwind, having a chat, having a look at the lay line and saying we should probably go in a second. As we went in I was probably just a bit too much back in the boat and normally you go around the front of the tiller, instead I ran straight into the tiller with my foot and as that happened the boat rounded up a bit. I got thrown out the back and Goobs did a great job, he realised what was happening without even seeing me and started pulling the kite down.
'We had a massive lead and that’s part of what saved us, I almost thought we were going to get it up and still be first at one point,' he said. 'We did a great job of getting the kite down and getting the boat up and going again and almost got third.'
Outteridge and Jensen (Australia) 49ers - London 2012 Olympic Games
Tom Slingsby continues to lead the way in the Laser fleet after the opening four races. The five-time World Champion was second in race one and was forced to make an impressive comeback in race two after rounding the top mark in 28th. Slingsby worked his way through the fleet to eventually cross the line sixth and is ahead of Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus by four points.
'You don’t really know how many boats you’re going to pull back, I was just thinking ok let’s get a couple of boats each leg, sometimes you can pull back 10 boats in a leg and the next one lose 10 so I just wanted to keep going,' said Slingsby. 'I stayed pretty conservative and just tried to use my speed and get every little shift, I didn’t want to take a big risk and it seemed to work.
'If you told me a couple of days ago that I would be leading after two days with a four point lead I would have been over the moon, I think I was on about quadruple the points four years ago so I’m really happy, I’m sailing well and I’ve got four good scores,' he said.
Australia’s Women’s Match Racing team of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty has taken the outright lead with six wins from six starts. On Tuesday the pair had wins against New Zealand and the previously undefeated Russians with the top of the table clash a hard fought affair.
'We went into the pre-start with a pretty basic plan and everything got quite aggressive, there was a lot of circling and the wind was picking up so it was quite interesting,' said Price. 'We had a collision where we were on port but she had just completed a tack and was coming down into us and t-boned us.
'We did everything we could to avoid her and she received a penalty,' said Price. 'That was interesting but we continued the race and were happy with our start and moved on from there. We led the whole way around the race so the penalty didn’t matter in that regards but we were happy with the way that we sailed and kept to our system.'
The women’s RS:X competition kicked off on Tuesday with Australia’s Jessica Crisp 12th overall after an 11th and a 12th from the opening two races.
'I’ve got some speed and good height upwind, and some speed downwind, but I’m just not getting off the start line, I’m making my life pretty hard out there,' said Crisp. 'I’m surprised I’m coming back how I am, that’s a positive but there were a few negatives. There are lots of races to go so we’ll see what happens.'
In the Finn class Australia’s Brendan Casey is 14th overall after six races, finishing with a 10th and a 17th on Tuesday. Casey’s day was dealt a blow before racing even began when he received a seven point penalty for not having the correct safety gear onboard during Monday’s two races.
Brendan Casey (AUS)m Finn - London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition
'I was a bit disappointed with the penalty, it is what it is and could have been a lot worse but seven points is what we got,' said Casey. 'I had a 10th and a 17th today, I went for a high risk strategy to try and score some really good results but it didn’t really go to plan, I didn’t get off the line too well and was fighting all day long.
'Race one was positive and I’m happy with that, now I’m looking forward to having a day off, regrouping, and then four more races,' he said.
In the Laser Radial fleet Krystal Weir is currently 17th overall after four races. Weir had a good result in race one, crossing the line 10th but was back in the pack in race two, eventually finishing 23rd.
Weir is in a tight group of sailors and heading into Wednesday is just four points off 13th.
Australia’s 49er, Laser, Laser Radial and Women’s Match Racing crews return to the water on Wednesday with Brendan Casey and the Finn fleet having a lay day.
Autralian Sailing Team website