It’s been an action packed day at the Olympic Sailing venue, Qingdao, China, on day ten of the regatta. Strong winds and heavy rain, medals decided in three classes, delays and further postponements.
The Dutch Yngling crew celebrate their silver medal after the Yngling Medal race 2008 Olympic Regatta - Day 9 -
New Zealanders in action included windsurfers Tom Ashley and Barbara Kendall sailing two races each; Andrew Murdoch; Jo Aleh and Star crew Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams all sailing one race a piece. The day has had its ups and downs for the kiwi team.
New Zealand’s Standings Summary
1st - Tom Ashley, Men’s RS:X (after 7 races)
3rd - Jo Aleh, Laser Radial (after 6 races)
5th - Barbara Kendall, Women’s RS:X (after 7 races)
6th - Hamish Pepper & Carl Williams, Star (after 4 races)
12th - Andrew Murdoch, Laser (after 6 races)
12th Dan Slater, Finn (Final result)
11th - Carl Evans & Peter Burling, Men’s 470 (Final result)
Tom Ashley has moved up into the lead spot in the Men’s RS:X fleet who have now sailed seven races. After a 5th and a 3rd in racing today the kiwi has ousted Shahar Zubari of Israel from the top of the leader board, and now has a five point buffer over Julien Bontemps FRA in second place.
Barbara Kendall relished the blustery and choppy conditions and came away with two more solid results to add to her scorecard. After a 4th and a 3rd in races six and seven sailed today the veteran Olympian has moved up from 6th overall into 5th place four points back from 4th.
Jo Aleh slipped out of the lead in the Laser Radials after a 14th place in the one race sailed today. She now has 3rd place overall just one point behind Anna Tunnicliffe USA in second.
The Star class has now completed four races, adding just one today, conditions on course area E reportedly rugged. Kiwi crew Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams were 11th in today’s race which means they now sit in 6th place overall in the 16 boat fleet on equal points with USA in 5th.
Today’s wet and windy conditions provided an exciting prospect for Tom Ashley who often demonstrates the advantage of performing well regardless of the conditions. So while the Auckland based windsurfer, who is competing at his second Olympic Games, has been consistent in the extreme light of Qingdao so far, he can also produce results on windy days. And that’s what Qingdao provided today – 15-20 knots of south westerly winds with swelly, choppy sea conditions.
'The racing is extremely tight and everyone is sailing at a very high level,' said Ashley yesterday. 'Events like this generally are won and lost on attrition as guys make mistakes and take themselves out of the running, so consistency will definitely be the key as the regatta goes on and we race in different conditions.'
Underway on schedule today the Men’s RS:X started first on course area B at around midday, organizers hoping to fit in three races to catch up on the programme. At mark one Ashley was buried in the fleet rounding in 17th place, dropping back to 27th at one point. But, as he did in race five, Ashley staged a comeback, up to 5th, and gaining another place on the final run to the line, finishing 4th.
In race seven which followed Ashley didn’t lose sight of the leaders, rounding each mark within the top five, and again passing sailors as the race progressed to record a 3rd place. As some of his counterparts fell by the wayside unable to bring home the results in the strong winds Ashley moved up the leader board to take the top spot after seven races.
Ashley will compete again tomorrow.
Men’s RS:X (provisional) top five results after 7 races
1st NZL Tom Ashley - 25 points
2nd FRA Julien Bontemps - 30 points
3rd ISR Shahar Zubari - 31 points
4th GBR Nick Dempsey 11 - 33 points
5th HKG King Yin Chan - 40 points
Barbara Kendall was strong in the breeze today as well, continuing her climb up the standings in the women’s RS:X improving from 6th to 5th overall after today’s racing. Kendall, like Ashley is showing consistent results finishing within the top four in her most recent four races, her worst result so far coming in her first race of the regatta.
Points are close around her, Kendall is four adrift of Marina Alabau ESP in 4th and three points ahead of Bryony Shaw GBR. China’s Jian Lin of Qingdao is China’s biggest hope for a sailing medal continuing to lead the Women’s RS:X ahead of three time Olympic medalist Alessandra Sensini of Italy.
Both RS:X medal races are scheduled for Wednesday 20th so there is time in the schedule to complete the ten race series to decide the top ten. They will be back on the water again tomorrow.
Women’s RS:X top six results after races
1st CHN Jian Yin - 16 points
2nd ITA Alessandra Sensini - 23 points
3rd AUS Jessica Crisp - 26 points
4th ESP Marina Alabau - 28 points
5th NZL Barbara Kendall - 32 points
The Star fleet had a long day on the water, despite this they only managed to sail one race, and have now completed four. Set for an early start to racing at midday the sailors on course area E (Star and Tornado) found their racing held up while the Committee boat recovered from a potential sinking.
Finally underway at 3:40pm in the afternoon, Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams returned their poorest race yet, coming home in 11th and slipping back to 6th place overall in a day which saw much shuffling of positions on the leader board.
Points remain tight at the top and the kiwis are only five points behind the Polish pair who have taken the lead today. The last class to get underway at the Games regatta, the Stars will see plenty more water under the bridge before the medal race next Thursday.
Star top six (provisional) after 4 races
1st POL Mateusz Kusznierewicz & Dominik Zycki - 21 points
2nd FRA Xavier Rohart & Pascal Rambeau - 22 points
3rd SWE Fredrik Loof & Anders Ekstrom - 23 points
4th GER Marc Pickel & Ingo Borkowski - 25 points
5th USA John Dane & Austin Sperry - 26 points
6th NZL Hamish Pepper & Carl Williams - 26 points
Just one race was sailed for the Laser Radial fleet in today’s conditions which were at the other end of the extreme to what’s been seen during the opening week of the Olympic sailing event.
Jo Aleh wasn’t able to continue her streak of 2nd places finishing 14th in today’s race. After today Aleh lies 3rd overall just one point behind Anna Tunnicliffe of the USA.
The Laser Radials will be back on the water tomorrow.
Laser Radial top five (provisional) after 6 races
1st LTU Gintare Volungeviciute - 17 points
2nd USA Anna Tunnicliffe - 23 points
3rd NZL Jo Aleh - 24 points
4th CHN Lijia Xu - 26 points
5th FRA Sarah Steyaert - 37 points
Back in form after suffering at the mercy of Qingdao’s light and shifty wind over recent races, Andrew Murdoch finished 5th in his only race of the day – race six for the 43 strong Laser fleet. The improved result improves his overall standing in the fleet and the 26 year old gains one place to 12th overall.
Murdoch was disappointed that just one race was sailed today, three were scheduled but course officials struggled with sea conditions and had difficulty setting courses and getting the fleet started.
Laser top five (provisional) after 6 races
1st GBR Paul Goodison - 34 points
2nd SLO Vasilij Zbogar - 37 points
3rd ARG Julio Alsogaray - 38 points
4th FRA Jean Baptiste Bernaz - 38 points
5th SWE Rasmus Myrgren - 38 points
12th NZL Andrew Murdoch - 56 points