After the first day of sailing at the London 2012 Paralympic Sailing regatta, New Zealand's Tim Dempsey and Jan Apel are lying 10th in the Two handed SKUD 18 fleet, and Paul Francis is positioned 11th in the Single handed 2.4mR.
The Singlehanded class is led by a British competitor, Helen Lucas (GBR), the only female competitor in the fleet. In the two handed SKUD 18, British and Australian crews took a win apiece, and obviously share the lead in the regatta after the first day.
Australia continued their dominance from the Olympic regatta, taking early lead in the three man Sonar keelboat, in which New Zealand is not represented.
The first two of eleven races for each fleet were sailed inside Portland Harbour in a steady 8-12 knots in what was described as a classic day in Weymouth. 'It was nice to get two good starts really; we were concentrating on that quite a lot leading into this'. Jan Apel, SKUD 18 crew reflected on the first day. 'We didn't quite capitalize on the breeze and some wind shifts we could have taken.'
'We've got good speed and now just need to get ourselves to the right place at the right time.'
Particularly in the SKUD 18, the fleet is much more competitive than it was at the ISAF World Cup regattas, with points and finishing times being much closer than usual. It is evident that the sailors have lifted their game for what is the pinnacle event of their sport.
'It's really tough competition' said SKUD 18 coach Rob Hielkema. 'The races are longer than what we usually sail too; these ones have been an hour long. But the guys have started really well, they're sailing fast and the boat's going well'.
The SKUD 18 and the 2.4mR sail on the same course, with the SKUD 18 sailing an outside loop of the trapezoid, and starting ten minutes before the single handed 2.4 class. This allows the SKUD 18 to sail a fast, reaching course with their country flag clad gennakers flying to reach maximum speeds. The 2.4mR do not fly a spinnaker downwind, but instead 'pole out' their headsail to the opposite side as the main sail.
Both fleets will sail another two races tomorrow starting from 10:00pm NZT (11:00am local time) There is no live TV coverage, however there is a Live Paralympics channel on YouTube
Day 1: Current Standings
10th - Tim Dempsey and Jan Apel (SKUD 18) - 9, 9
11th- Paul Francis (2.4mR) 14, 10
For full results, all classes and mark roundings click here
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12:37 AM Sun 2 Sep 2012GMT
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