On day two of the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, defending champions, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, sounded a warning signal to the rest of the Star fleet as they stealthily moved into pole position. The Beijing 2008 gold medallists picked up where they left off yesterday by collecting a third and a second from their two races today (Monday 30 July) to move to the top of the leaderboard, up from the fifth spot they occupied overnight.
In their first race of the day, the pair pulled up from seventh at the first mark to third, narrowly missing out on a photo decision in their favour for the second day running. But the result did help them make big inroads into the lead held overnight by Brazilians, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, who finished ninth.
It was the Brits’ brilliance downwind that paid dividends in their second race, race four overall. With shifting conditions once again playing their part in some cat and mouse racing, the boys propelled themselves from 10th at the first mark to second at the second mark, a position they held on to for the rest of the race.
Simpson said: 'Well it was better than yesterday. We went well downwind again today so that’s good news. Iain’s fantastic at steering the boat in that stuff downwind and we should get more fun as we get onto the Weymouth Bay South course with a bit more waves, which is what we have done most of our work in.
'It’s important you get over the nerves of starting an event and start to get on with it. It doesn’t matter where you are as long as you’re not miles behind at this point in this regatta. It was better today but it was still very tricky, a bit puffy and if you’ve got it right you’re great but if not it’s tricky! It’s never a lottery, it’s educated guessing.'
Ali Young enjoyed an encouraging start to her Olympic career as she ended her first ever day of Games competition handily placed in ninth overall.
Young, 25, posted consistent, safe opening scores of seventh and 10th from her first two races. She showed no sign of nerves as she determinedly forced her way through the fleet from ninth to seventh in race one. In race two she battled back from being 18th at the first mark to again climb back up through the fleet to take 10th spot.
Young admitted she was satisfied with her first day’s work.
'It was a solid start and something to build on for the rest of the week,' she said. 'The racing was pretty tight – it was pretty shifty on the racecourse so you had to keep your head out of the boat. It was tight all the way around.
'We were always pretty close in a group. The Irish girl had a pretty good day, but everyone else was kind of mixing it around. I’ll just try and keep it steady heading into tomorrow, build on today, and keep trying to improve during the week.'
The Match Racing girls enjoyed a mirror of their opening day, picking up one win and one loss. The trio of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Lucy Macgregor beat the Portugal team of Rita Gonçalves, Mariana Lobato, Diana Neves in race one before slipping to defeat against the dominant Olivia Price-skippered Australian threesome, who have a 100 per cent record in from their four races at this event so far.
Lucy Macgregor said: 'We won our first race, but were a bit disappointed with the last race, so have ended the day with a bit of a disappointing feeling. The crowds have been awesome, even when we were losing there were still cheers. We’re here to do a job and the best way to do that job is to come away with a medal.'
Two of the team’s defending champions had a day they will probably try to forget.
Ben Ainslie branded his day as 'terrible', pledging to use his disappointment of picking up a sixth and a 12th to fire him up for the rest of the week. Ainslie sits third overall in the Finn, 11 points behind leader Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN) after four races. Meanwhile Paul Goodison kicked off his 2012 Laser campaign with a 10th and a 23rd to sit 18th overall after two races.
Stevie Morrison insisted there was 'no cause for panic' after he and Ben Rhodes started their Olympic sailing regatta with two 12th places today.
Morrison said: 'It’s the first day of a 16 race regatta, if you start crying and throwing the toys out of the pram after what happened today you’re not someone who is going to go on and win events. It’s a long event, a long battle. We haven’t had the best start but you can start a marathon with a blister and still win the race if you’re tough enough to deal with it and that’s what we’ve got to get on and do. We’ve always got the potential to go out and win two races in a day so there is no need to panic or change the game plan yet.'
Racing is scheduled to resume at 12pm tomorrow (Tuesday 31 July) with the RS:X pairing of Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw getting their London 2012 campaigns underway. Dempsey starts his two races at 12pm followed by Shaw from 2pm.
The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August.
British Sailing Team website
by Matt Carter
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8:02 PM Mon 30 Jul 2012GMT
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