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Sail for Gold Regatta - Great Britain tops leaderboard

'Paul Goodison, (GBR) racing in the Laser class on the day 6 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta 2012'    onEdition ©

Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta 2012 medal race day was held in Weymouth, Great Britain, today, Saturday 9th June on two courses, one inside the harbour and the other under the Olympic spectator site on the Nothe.

After a tumultuous day Great Britain topped the leaderboard with four golds, three silvers and four bronze medals.


On the final day of the penultimate ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta one storm had passed, but another was brewing and the drama was just beginning. There were ten classes and thirty medals to decide, and not one of them was a certainty. Today the sun finally came out and the wind moderated to a perfect 15 knots for the opening races, building to a fresh 20-22 knots for the final medals.

Laser – Harbour course: Tom Slingsby was the man to beat, five-points ahead of Germany’s Philipp Buhl in second place. But by the time the fleet had reached the top mark, Slingsby had just one man in focus and that was Britain’s Paul Goodison. The Brit was fifth coming into the medal race, but with a real chance of still taking silver. Goodison, the Beijing Laser gold medallist, had a plan, he wanted the pin end, won it and headed off to the left-hand side.

At the first windward mark it was Slingsby first – Goodison one boat length behind. The pair pushed each other down the run extending away from the fleet, then on the second beat Slingsby, who is unbeaten on the 2012 Olympic racetrack, covered Goodison. He kept it up for the rest of the race and leaving Goodison vulnerable to the pack behind and as the wind pushed the fleet together on the final run, Tom Burton and Andy Maloney slid past on the line. The result gave Burton the silver behind his countryman, and left Philipp Buhl in bronze. Goodison had to settle for fourth.

470 Men – Nothe course: Current 470 World Champions, Belcher and Page have been dominant in the 470 class throughout the week. Their main rivals for gold were the British pair of Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell. Off the start-line it was the Brits that got the initial jump, controlling the Australian pair up the first beat and rounding the windward mark just ahead. However Belcher and Page managed to squeeze low round the mark getting inside, from there the Australian pair sailed away to win the medal race in convincing fashion. Patience and Bithell held second to give themselves the silver medal, while bronze went to the New Zealanders Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders, who finished the medal race with a solid fourth.

Laser Radial – Harbour course: This has been one of the tightest fleets all week, and going into the medal race three sailors were separated by the narrowest of margins and any one of Lijia Xu, Alison Young or Sari Multala could have taken gold. But it was the Netherlands Marit Bouwmeester that got the best start, unfortunately the Dutch sailor was in an uncustomary sixth place heading into the medal race, and then got a penalty coming into first windward mark. The overall leader, Lijia Xu then hit the windward mark and put herself out of contention, after a tight layline call and a shift saw Xu hit the windward mark. Her penalty turn set her back from fourth to ninth.

Annalise Murphy (IRL 199417) Laser Radial - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta 2012  onEdition ©  

Britain’s Alison Young was just one-point off Xu going into the medal race, rounded the windward mark in second to get a grip on gold. It was one she didn’t relinquish before the finish. Only Ireland’s Annalise Murphy beat her, and her fabulous final race pulled her up into bronze medal position. In third on the water behind Murphy and Young was Finland’s Sari Multala, and that was enough to get her the silver. China’s Lijia Xu’s ninth place in the medal race dropping her down to fourth and out of the medals.

470 women – Nothe: The Kiwi pairing of Jo Aleph and Olivia Powrie looked like they would be left to sail their own race, nine points ahead of their nearest rivals, the French pair of Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron. There was still a big fight for silver and bronze with just four points separating the French from current world Champions, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark in fourth. A bad start for British pair – when their tiller extension broke moments from the start – meant they trailed the fleet as they headed up the first beat. But the French race wasn’t going to plan either, rounding the windward mark in ninth.

The British pair recovered better than the French, and it looked like silver was between them and the Brazilian pair of Martine Grael and Isabel Swan – the two boats equal on points coming into the medal race. But on the final gybe coming into the finish line Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan (USA) – sixth coming into the medal race – grabbed the win on the line. It pushed them up to silver, leaving the Mills and Clark to win their battle with the Brazilians and take bronze.

49er – Harbour: By now the wind was blowing 19 knots with gusts of 23, and the French pair Emmanuel Dyen and Stephane Christidis sailed a perfect medal race – the led from start to finish, with an impressive 300m gap at the finish. They were second behind Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen going into the medal race and the point’s difference meant that the Aussies had to get fourth or better to keep gold. Seventh at the top mark, they had time to make ground on the three lap windward leeward course and grab the fourth they needed by the finish. It left the French in silver.

Fighting it out for the bronze were the British crews – three made it into the medal race. Steve Morrison and Ben Rhodes, the British representatives at this year’s Olympics were in sixth place coming into the medal race. They stayed clean and finished second on the water, but it was not enough to beat their training partners, Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign, who grabbed a sixth place on the water and the bronze medal.

RS:X Women – Nothe: One of the star performers at Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta this week has been Poland’s Zofia Noceti-Klepacka, only counting firsts and second places going into the medal race, she had a 17-point lead over Spain’s Marina Alabau – who was in turn 15-points ahead of third. Noceti-Klepacka again showed the fleet the way home winning the medal race in impressive fashion and keeping gold. Marina Alabau also had a solid grip on the silver and an eighth place on the water was enough to get her the medal.

Behind the top two though the points were tight, just two points separating Olga Maslivets (UKR) in third from Alessandra Sensini (ITA) in fifth. After a four lap course, the final podium place went to Lee Korzits from Israel who finished second in the medal race, one place ahead of main rival Maslivets who dropped to fourth overall.

Star – Harbour: Next up were the heavyweights in the Star class – reigning Olympic champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson had a slim one-point lead over their main rivals, four-time Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt and his sailing partner Bruno Prada. The Irish and Canadian crews were just a couple of points back.

Off the start line, the leading pair headed left, but it was the right that paid. A port and starboard incident up the first beat meant the Brazilian duo had to do penalty turns, and it demoted them to the back of the fleet.

Peter O'Leary and David Burrows (IRL 8418 ) Star - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta 2012  onEdition ©  

With O’Leary and Burrows in second at the leeward gate the Irish were now in pole position for gold, with the British and Brazilians fighting to hang onto silver and bronze. On the second beat, Scheidt headed right whilst Percy opted for the left again. At the top mark, Brazil had pulled up to sixth with the two-time British gold medallist two places adrift in eighth.

There was now a potentially mast-breaking 20-23 knots of breeze on the race course, and Scheidt and Prada surfed their way into fourth, while the Irish team had dropped to third. But it wasn’t enough, gold went to Ireland’s Peter O’Leary and Davis Burrows, while Scheidt and Prada took silver, with Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson having to settle for bronze.

RS:X Men – Nothe: Frenchman Julian Bontemps held an eight-point lead heading into the medal race, the Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberge his closest rival. The RS:X boards flew round the four-lap windward leeward course, reaching speeds of 25 knots, and it was van Rijsselberge who took control, winning the medal race. And with Bontemps only finishing fifth, it left the pair on 31 points a-piece, the tie break going to Dorian van Rijsselberge with his medal race win. It gave the Netherlands the gold medal, France the silver, and Britain’s Nick Dempsey took the final podium position with a third in the medal race.

Giles Scott (GBR) Finn - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta 2012  onEdition ©  

Finn – Harbour: Giles Scott, the young pretender to Ben Ainslie relished the windy conditions Weymouth and Portland had provided this week. The only blot on his near perfect scoreline has been a 21st on the first day before the breeze kicked in. With no racing on Friday, Ainslie seemed to have lost his opportunity to match race Scott to the back of the pack to make his 21st count, instead Scott went into the medal race with a 12 point lead.

Ainslie got the better of the start, but Scott’s clearing tack put him on the right side, and left Ainslie struggling to get back in the pack. With Scott blasting through to second on the run, Ainslie made an uncharacteristic error, capsizing at the leeward gate. Scott continued his great form to win the medal race and take the gold. Now it was all down to Zach Railey and Pieter Jan Postma to get over five places between themselves and Ainslie to deprive the triple Olympic gold medallist of silver. In the end, Postma was closest finishing fifth, but Ainslie still took silver by just one point.

Match Racing: The Women’s Match Racing was forced to make an early start with quarter finals, semis and the final all still to sail. They began at 08:00 and the action was constant from there. In the quarter finals it was the Russians, Ekaterina Skudina, Elena Oblova and Elena Siuzeva that beat the Spanish team of Tamara Echegoyen, Angela Pumariega and Sofia Toro by two races to nil; Clarie Leroy and her French team of Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou took down the New Zealanders, Stephanie Hazard, Jenna Hansen and Susannah Pyatt by another two races to nil. While the American team of Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vendemoer and Debbie Capozzi beat Finland’s Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva, and Mikaela Wulff also two races to nil, and finally Australia’s Olivia Price beat Lucy MacGregor two races to one.

Onto the semi-finals with barely a pause for breath and this time it was Olivia Price’s Aussies that beat Ekaterina’s Russians – again, the score was two races to nil; while Claire Leroy and the French took down Anna Tunnicliffe’s American’s two races to nil. It meant a France versus Australia final, and it was Price that beat Leroy two races to nil, leaving Tunnicliffe to take the single race Petite Final and the bronze medal from Ekaterina Skudina.

Britain still topped the leaderboard at Skandia Sail for Gold with four golds, three silvers and four bronze medals. But Australia and The Netherlands are also right up there, we will know this summer if the British team can retain the top sailing nation slot. Lets hope the British summer makes an appearance.

Next year’s Sail for Gold Regatta is scheduled for the 10th to the 14th June 2013, forming part of the newly formed European Sailing Cup.

Quotes:

Paul Goodison – GBR – Laser: A very frustrating race – Started off well, built up a good lead with Tom (Slingsby) at the front which was all quite easy but he then employed some ‘Team Racing’ tactics where he was more interested in trying to sort his mate out and slow me down which I was annoyed at. At the end I made a bit of a mess of it on the finish line so I’m quite frustrated now coming back to shore.

It was windy, quite shifty but great racing conditions today. The real positives looking forward are the fact that I sailed a reasonable regatta but I made quite a few mistakes. The big positive is that there is only going to be the one guy at the Olympics who beat me today and he won’t have his mate there in August to help him!

It’s going to be a tough fight between Tom [Slingsby]and me at the Olympics and I think it will come down to who sails best on the day, we’ve got just under 50 days to go to put the effort in and work hard. I’m pretty wound up at the moment after what happened today between us and I think that is now going to focus my attention and make me train harder and get better in time for the Games.

Stuart Bithell – GBR – 470 M: It was a shifty race out there today, nice breeze and quite flat which we haven’t had all week. It feels brilliant, we took a little bit of a gamble earlier in the year to pull out of a few regattas and make this one the focus, so it’s nice to come away being successful!

Luke Patience – GBR – 470 M: It was an exciting race – offshore and shifty at the Nothe with some good breeze. The Aussie boat just extended away in the first part of the race and were gone, the Croatians then caught up and it was more of a three way battle. We needed to try and get a boat in between us and the Aussie boat, and the fact that we were first and second at the windward mark by quite a long way meant it was going to be very difficult to do!

Overall were happy and it fills us with confidence with just under 50 days to go until the Games.

We are certainly getting closer to the Aussie’s and have a few secrets up our sleeves which we will be working on between now and the Games. We can certainly take confidence away from this regatta.

Stuart and I are great buddies and were enjoying this journey together – it’s a great hoot, but we will definitely mean business come August. We cannot wait for the Games to begin now –Wish it was tomorrow!'

Ali Young – GBR – Laser Radial: It was quite tight up the first beat, I just took the shifts and rounded the windward mark in second and it was just a case of keeping the main girls behind me.

It’s a great confidence boost in terms of my preparation for the Games; I’ll just look to build on a few things between now and August.

I’ve had a great programme and have been working hard with my coaches, so now I’ll just continue to build on my performance. There are certainly a few little things which we need to tweak from this regatta, so we will be working hard ensuring everything is ready to go in August.

It’s a good result, you always aim to do your best and if you best mean that you win then it’s pretty cool!
I would certainly like to think I can produce the same performance and result at the Games. The fleet is very competitive with it being extremely close between a few of the top girls, so no doubt the racing in August will be very tight all week.

Annalise Murphy – IRL – Laser Radial: I went out today knowing that I had to have a really good race and one of the girls in the top three had to make a mistake for me to win a medal, so I went out there and sailed as hard as I could and managed to get ahead on the first beat, then just pulling away from the fleet. It did mean I couldn’t really effect what was going to happen in the race, so when I finished I just had to wait and see what happened and the Chinese girl finished eighth which meant I finished third overall, so I’m delighted.

To win a medal at the Olympic venue is brilliant and a huge confidence boost for the Olympics in August, anything could happen then but it’s definitely a good stepping stone.

This year has been hard and I’ve really had to step up my game, as the girls I’m racing against have got a lot more dominant. I’m going to have to work pretty hard over the next couple of months but I’m really looking forward to it!

Peter O’Leary – IRL – Star: It’s big wind today, but good racing. Two of the guys in front of us got stuck into each other.

We’ve based ourselves here for a long time so as this is our last regatta before the Olympics which are here at the venue in Weymouth so it’s been great for us to realise and familiarise ourselves with what’s to come with the conditions here. It’s great to win.

The last 3-4 months we’ve been progressively working on our equipment and technique. We’re back here at the end of June for more training.

Iain Percy – GBR – Star: It was a shorter week with seven races compared to the usual eleven which was a shame in our preparation for the Olympics. We had a few issues at the beginning of the week with our set up so got that sorted and started to come back but didn’t have many races to do the catching up.

We went into the medal race with a narrow lead but came off worse after a big smash from picking the wrong side of the beat and we generally have to sharpen our strategy, although the course we raced on isn’t going to be the course in the used in the Olympics for our class so we were caught out with our lack of knowledge.

We always enter a competition to try and win, the notebook was out every night trying to make improvements and it’s all irrelevant as it’s what happens in a month. There is something a lot more important happening this year that we want to try and win which we can start worrying about now.

A lot of good things have come out of this week and were still very confident in the lead up to the Games, yet we were very scrappy today and it wasn’t an impressive display of racing so there is still a lot of work to be done.

Giles Scott – GBR – Finn: It was good, quite an interesting medal race and its nice to be able to pull through in the end and win. Ben had a bit of a mishap at the bottom mark and capsized which allowed me to just focus on my race. I’ve had consistent firsts and seconds all weeks so I couldn’t really hope for much more, obviously being able to end the week winning the medal race is a nice feeling.

Overall Ranking top 3
Womens Match Racing
1st AUS Olivia Price, Nina Curtis, Lucinda Whittly 2-1
2nd FRA Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand, Marie Riou 1-2
3rd USA Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, Debbie Capozzi 1-0

Laser Class
1st – AUS Tom Slingsby – 26 points
2nd – AUS Tom Burton – 43 points ?
3rd – GER Philipp Buhl – 43 points

470 Men
1st – AUS Mathew Belcher, Malcolm Page – 14 points
2nd – GBR Luke Patience, Stuart Bithell – 19 points
3rd – NZL Paul Snow-Hansen, Jason Saunders – 28 points

Laser Radial
1st – GBR Alison Young – 26 points
2nd – FIN Sari Multala – 28 points
3rd – Annalise Murphy – 36 points

470 Women
1st – NZL Jo Aleh, Olivia Polly Powrie – 32 points
2nd – USA Amanda Clark, Sarah Lihan – 52 points
3rd – GBR Hannah Mills, Saskia Clark – 53 points

49er
1st – AUS Nathan Outteridge, Iain Jensen – 31 points
2nd – FRA Emmanuel Dyen, Stephane Christidis – 33 points
3rd – GBR Dylan Fletcher, Alain Sign – 52 points

RS:X Women
1st – POL Zofia Noceti-Klepacka – 10 points
2nd – ESP Marina Alabau – 37 points
3rd – ISR Lee Korzits – 40 points

RS:X Men
1st – NED Dorian Van Rijsselberge – 31 points
2nd – FRA Julien Bontemps – 31 points
3rd – GBR Nick Dempsey – 43 points

Finn
1st – GBR Giles Scott – 9 points
2nd – GBR Ben Ainslie – 39 points
3rd – NED Pieter Jan Postma – 40.3 points

Star
1st – IRL Peter O’Leary, David Burrows – 23 points
2nd – BRA Robert Scheidt, Bruno Prada – 23 points
3rd – GBR Iain Percy, Andrew Simpson – 30 points

Sonar
1st GBR John Robertson, Hannah Stodel, Steve Thomas – 14 points
2nd NED Udo HESSELS, Mischa ROSSEN, Marcel VAN DE VEEN – 16 points
3rd CAN Bruce Miller, Logan Campbell, Scott Lutes – 23 points

Skud
1st GBR Alexandra RICKHAM, Niki BIRRELL – 5 points
2nd CAN John MCROBERTS, Stacie LOUTTIT – 10 points
3rd Daniel Fitzgibbon, Liesl TESCH – 13 points

2.4m
1st NED Thierry SCHMITTER – 15 points
2nd GBR Helena LUCAS – 15 points
3rd FRA Damien SEGUIN – 19 points

Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta website


by Jo Grindley / Sail-World.com

  

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