by Craig Heydon
After two days of competition at the London 2012 Paralympic Sailing Competition, Australia’s Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch lead the way in the Skud 18 class. Fitzgibbon and Tesch went into races three and four on Portland Harbour tied for the lead with Great Britain’s Alexandra Rickham and Nikki Birrell.
London 2012 Paralympic Sailing Competition
The Australians crossed the line second and third in the day’s two races, giving them the overall lead by one point over their British opponents.
'A second and a third today made it another good day for us which allowed Liesl and I to move into the lead, one point ahead of second,' said Fitzgibbon. 'The first race went well but the American team got a bit of a jump which we couldn’t get back.
'In the second race we were leading until we got a penalty at the bottom gate which put us back,' he said. 'We fought back well through the fleet to eventually finish third. Tomorrow is another day of racing and we plan on keeping our momentum going.'
Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Stephen Churm are currently third overall in the Sonar fleet following a mixed day on the water.
The Australian trio went into Sunday’s two races first on the leader board following a first and a third on day one.
In race one Harrison, Harris and Churm fought back from being eighth at the bottom gate to eventually cross the line third. Unfortunately the Australian’s were later disqualified from the race after a protest for a port and starboard incident with the British boat where they were deemed to have tacked too close.
Harrison and crew finished the day with a second place finish, with the Australians second at every mark.
The results leave Harrison, Harris and Churm third overall, one point behind second and a further seven off the lead.
In the 2.4mR class Australian Matt Bugg is currently seventh overall following the opening four races.
Bugg finished the day with a sixth and an eighth to leave him nine points off the podium and 13 off the lead.
In race one the Tasmanian sailor found himself 12th at the top mark before slipping one place further back at the bottom gate. Bugg had a great upwind leg, moving up seven positions to be sixth overall at the next mark, a position he held down until the finish line.
Racing was once again tight in the 2.4mR fleet with just over a minute separating all 16 boats at the finish line.
Bugg was 11th at the halfway point in race two but again worked his way forward late in the race, eventually finishing eighth.
Racing continues on Portland Harbour on Monday with another two races for each fleet. The sailing competition at the London 2012 Paralympic Games continues until Thursday 6 September.
Australian Sailing Team website
Australian Paralympic website