Australia fifth and in medal contention at Paralympics
by Simone Green, Yachting Australia on 21 Sep 2004
A quiet day on the Saronic Gulf with only the Sonar fleet taking to the water on day three of the sailing regatta at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. For the 2.4mR sailors it was a day to tune and polish.
Luckily for some of the athletes (who found themselves on a local bus that did not know the way to the sailing venue); racing was postponed as the Race Committee waited for the breeze to settle down. Eventually the sea breeze came to visit and the postponement flag was lowered.
Big wind shifts and unsteady conditions meant crews needed to be on the ball in the first race of the day (race five). An ecstatic British crew took the bullet after a close finish with the Netherlands and Germany.
Australia’s Sonar crew, Jamie Dunross, Colin Harrison and Jeff Milligian (WA), crossed the line in seventh - their worst result so far.
However, ISAF reported from on site that the first seven boats finished within one minute of each other – a testament to the high calibre of this field.
A discard came into play after race five was completed. This enabled the teams to discard their worst score. Gold medal favourites, Israel, were able to drop their day one disqualification and after a successful day, regaining the number one place.
After a small postponement the second race of the day began. Germany dominated this race from the start, eventually winning by a comfortable margin.
Following behind them were the Dutch, Israeli and the Australian crews. Some interesting manoeuvres and a lot of shouting between the Netherlands and Israelis enabled Australia to sneak through to take second place.
'Consistency is going to be the key in this high class fleet and there are four teams who have not finished outside the top ten. It is too difficult at this stage to try and predict who will take home the medals and there are five races left to sail,' ISAF reports.
Day four is a lay day for the Sonar fleet. Racing will resume on day five.
Sonar - Day Three (6 races/1 drop)
1. Dror Cohen/Arnon Efrati/Benni Vexler (ISR) (1,(16-DSQ),4,1,4,4) 14pts
2. Jens Kroker/Peter Reichl/Olaf Jacobs (GER) ((9),8,2,2,3,1) 16pts
3. Udo Hessels/Marcel van de Veen/Mischa Rossen (NED) ((6),4,5,4,2,3) 18pts
4 Ross Duggan/Jean Paul Creignou/Bradley Johnson (USA) 3 1 3 (6) 6 6 25 19
5. Jamie Dunross/Jeff Milligan/Colin Harrison (AUS) (2,6,6,5,(7),2) 21pts
Visit the ISAF website for a full list of results and reports - http://www.sailing.org/paralympics2004/default.asp
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