by Craig Heydon
The weather has dominated day four of the Rolex Miami OCR, the second round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, with race committees working hard to get any races completed in the light conditions on Miami’s Biscayne Bay.
Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch in the Skud 18 class in Miami - Photo Rolex-Daniel Forster
The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crew of Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Olivia Price fought back well after a tough day three to win their final two gold round robin races to qualify for the quarter-finals in third position.
'We had two races and two quite convincing wins which was very different to yesterday,' said Souter. 'We had good boat speed today in conditions that were the complete opposite of the week so far, flat water and only around five knots of breeze.'
'Our first race today was against American Anna Tunnicliffe and we were even off the start, or even maybe a little behind, and got the first shift and then covered her from there to win by about 20 boat lengths,' she said. 'In the second against Lehtinen of Finland we seemed to have more speed, won the start and that was it.'
'In tomorrow’s quarter-final we’re up against world number two Claire Leroy of France and with a competition as close as this there’s no such thing as an easy quarter-final. Tomorrow will be another big day but hopefully we can do the same things we did today and come out on top.'
In the Skud 18 fleet Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch got back to their winning ways, taking out the only race of the day to open up a three point lead over American crew Jennifer French and Jean-Paul Creignou.
'It was good to get back into the swing of it today with a race,' said Fitzgibbon. 'We were a bit disappointed after yesterday’s OCS but we got back into it and bounced back well.'
'It was quite light and tricky and we only got the one race in but we’ve good confidence and speed at the moment and held our line off the start, chipped away and took the win,' he said. 'We finish up our regatta tomorrow with a couple of races so hopefully we can keep going and close it out.'
The Finn fleet managed to complete two races on Thursday with Brendan Casey ending the day in second. Casey finished third in the opening race of the day and then 15th, to be six points behind Giles Scott of Great Britain.
'The Race Committee did an excellent job in trying conditions to push for two races on the Finn course,' said Casey. 'My on water performances showed encouraging signs ahead of tomorrow’s final day of fleet racing before the medal race on Saturday.'
In the men’s 470 fleet Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page continue to hold down third position with a 12th place finish in the only race of the day. The current 470 World Champions are nine points off second and a further four to the lead.
'The conditions were very hard today and the light wind turned into a non-existent wind very quickly,' said Page. 'It slowly shifted left and was very difficult to be able to react to anything new once you had fallen into the hole. We both felt a little frustrated from today, as we got the 'start' of the regatta, and was with the first group at the first mark. We just were not able to capitalise on this and slipped back through the fleet a little, which in turn gave our closest competitors the advantage.'
'Tomorrow is obviously a new day,' he said. 'I'm sure the race management will be looking to get three races in, to get as close as possible to a full quota of races. So there will be plenty to play for and we’ll fight to the end, and hopefully we can move in the right direction.'
Sam Kivell and Will Ryan have moved up to 11th and tied on points with 10th following their seventh place finish in the 470 fleet. The pair will be keen for a strong final day of fleet racing to force their way into Saturday’s medal race.
The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crew of Katie Spithill, Nina Curtis and Angela Farrell raced in the silver round robin fleet on Thursday and finished sixth in the group. The crew had a tough day in extremely tricky conditions with one win from their four races.
The Laser Radial fleet only completed one race and even then much of the fleet, including the three Australian sailors, were unable to finish within the time limit due to the wind dying out. After seven races Krystal Weir is the best placed Australian in ninth, ahead of Gabrielle King in 20th and Ashley Stoddart in 23rd.
For full results visit: http://rmocr.ussailing.org/2011/Results.htm.
For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit www.australiansailingteam.com.au.