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Sail for Gold day 2 - Testing endurance + Video

'Day 2 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth and Portland, the 2012 Olympic venue.'    onEdition ©    Click Here to view large photo

Sailors endurance was tested on day 2 of the Skandia Sail for Gold in Weymouth. It was a day to test the focus and commitment of even the toughest of athletes.

The British weather turned it on for the Queen’s 60th Jubilee celebrations with steady and occasionally torrential rain, cold temperatures and a steadily increasing breeze.


Perhaps it was unsurprising then that the Laser Radials saw some more famous names coming to the front, with Belgium’s Evi van Acker taking a first and a third to move into the overall lead. She’s being chased hard by Lijia Xu of China – bronze medallist in Qingdao and second at the recent Laser Radial World Championships. Xu had a great day in Weymouth with two firsts. Finland’s Sari Multala now holds third, with 2012 World Champion Gintare Scheidt in fourth, and double Skandia Sail for Gold winner, Marit Bouwmeester in fifth.

It’s a tough fleet, but van Acker isn’t fazed. 'I don’t really care about the other girls, I am just here to do my best but it is really difficult not to look at the rest especially those who I have seen improve. My main focus is just on me and trying to be the best I can be. Sailing against Marit isn’t great, she is a great sailor but then I am too so we will see who wins.'

The Laser Men had a particularly tough time, not even getting their racing underway until late afternoon, in the worst of the weather, and then doing three races. It was the Australians that coped best with the conditions, with Tom Burton posting a first, second and a third to take a four point overall lead from his countryman, Tom Slingsby – multiple world champion and unbeaten on Weymouth and Portland waters.

Slingsby wasn’t finding it easy though, 'It was a ok day for me, with a one, three and five and plenty of speed, but plenty of errors too. I think I made more and more errors as the day went on. I was too tired and not thinking straight. A lot more wind and rain today as well as big waves, so yes it was tough conditions. We were doing three lap races, so it was really hard on the body as well as it being freezing cold and raining meant it wasn’t great. The visibility made things harder, in the second race I couldn’t see the top mark along with 30-40 other guys who were in the top group. I think it was quite unfair to race in these conditions; perhaps we should have waited for better conditions.'

It was a big day in the Finn, after only completing one race yesterday, they had three scheduled today and they were all sailed. It was Giles Scott’s day, the Brit winning all three races – he still has a 21st from yesterday, but will move up the rankings once enough races have been sailed to allow him to discard his worst result. Meanwhile, the top of the Finn table has it’s normal look, with Ben Ainslie (GBR) leading Zach Railey (USA) by five points, after the British triple gold medallist scored a fifth, second and third for the day; Scott is in third.

There was also drama overnight, with an important redress decision for Pieter Jan Postma, who explained, 'I had a big collision with Martin Robitaille yesterday, and he made a big hole in my transom and I took on a lot of water and they granted me redress for that. I also had some water in today but I wasn’t sinking, and I am quite happy with my day.’ Postma now lies fourth overall after the Jury decision.

The Star class share the most distant course on the Weymouth and Portland sailing waters with the Finn, and they too had three races scheduled, and sailed them. It was the Irish team, – perhaps enjoying the weather more than some of their competitors – that had the best day. Peter O’Leary and David Burrows scored a first, second and fourth to hold a two point lead from the World Champions, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada.

Robert Scheidt was one of those not enjoying the weather so much. 'We are really happy with those results but also quite tired with it being a rough day and doing three races. Six- seven hours on the water so I am very much looking forward to a shower!' Another man having a touch day was the 1988 Star Gold Medallist, Mike McIntyre, whose return to the fleet ended badly – he was on port tack on the first beat of the second race when John Gimson tried to duck behind him. The manoeuvre went badly wrong and Gimson crashed into the gold medallist – fortunately McIntyre had borrowed the boat from Gimson!

Out on the Paralympic course for the SKUD 18 it was a Jubilee day for Britain’s Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell – they won all three races in a remarkable performance that took them past John McRoberts and Stacie Louttit (CAN) and into a four point lead. Rickham commented, 'We were really happy with our performance today – we worked hard and basically feel like we deserved those three race wins. The areas we have been having trouble with we’ve progressed since Hyeres, but really we’re more happy with our consistency across the races.'

The Sonars also sailed three races in the tough conditions, and the Netherlands trio of Udo Hessels, Mischa Rossen and Marcel van de Veen held their overnight lead with two fourths and a third. Chasing them are the French team of Bruno Jourdren, Nicolas Vimont Vicary and Eric Flageul in second, and Norway’s Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Solberg in third. Gold and silver medallist, Damien Seguin of France convincingly won the day in the 2.4mR with two wins. It still wasn’t enough to overtake arch-rival, the Netherlands Thierry Schmitter though – the two are now separated by four points. Britain’s Megan Pascoe is in third, another five points behind Schmitter.

The RS:X fleet got two more races in this morning and it was another absolutely dominant performance from Poland’s Zofia Noceti-Klepacka, posting another second and first to take a 16 point lead from Spain’s Marina Alabau, with four-time Olympic medallist Alessandra Sensini of Italy another two points adrift in third. Overnight third-placed Bryony Shaw broke her mast extension in the first race and didn’t finish, but recovered to a fifth in the second.

Shaw commented afterwards, 'It is quite a rare thing that the equipment can break as it did today. It is typical that it never happens in training, most importantly we weren’t too frustrated to be honest, it is something that you kind of get on with and I think I kept cool enough to race well in the second race.'

The RS:X Men’s contest is taking a familiar shape, with France’s Julien Bontemps holding a five point lead over Britain’s Nick Dempsey. The pair just topped the table at the recent world championships with Bontemps winning it by a couple of points. But Demspey had the better of the day, with a first and a seventh to Bontemps who scored a comparatively poor fifth and eighth. In third is Germany’s Toni Wilhelm.

In the Men’s 470 class they got another two races completed and it was the three-time World Champions Matt Belcher and Malcolm Page who continued to dominate overall with a second and a fourth. But the day belonged to Kiwis Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders, who posted back-to-back wins to move up into silver, seven points behind Belcher and Page. Not far behind were Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente from Argentina, with a second and a first, now in bronze.

The 470 Women got their two races done by early afternoon and it was another top day for the British World Champions, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark. They scored a third and a seventh to hold a four point lead from second placed Camille Lecontre and Mathilde Geron. In third are the Americans, Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan, who won the fourth race, leaving them ten points adrift of the French.

Saskia Clark commented, 'It’s certainly different to Barcelona where we won the Worlds – the weather is just so miserable! It’s good racing though and good to have some good strong breeze. We’re still pretty calm and want to do as well as we can, the podium is in sight but the key for us at this regatta is to pick out the learning points for our next training before the big one in August!'

In the 49er fleet the day belonged to American’s Erik Storke and Trevor Moore, who threw down a first, second and a third to lift themselves onto the podium. Moore commented, 'Obviously the wind today was very different to what we had yesterday but we had good boat speed and really good starts. We managed the good starts yesterday but couldn’t quite put it away, so today we sailed clear of the other boats as much as we could and used our boat speed to our advantage. It worked out for us.'

The British pair, Dave Evans and Ed Powys had another solid day with a first, third and fifth to hold their ten point overnight advantage over Australia’s multiple World Champions, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) – the latter scored a first, second and sixth to exactly match the Brits. Outteridge wasn’t entirely happy with his day, however, 'I was a bit disappointed with the sixth because we were winning that middle race by quite a bit and had a capsize just before the finish. We had a good recovery, got up and finished in sixth but it was big waves out there… [and there] was just one that caught us out.'

Despite almost heroic efforts and another long day on the race course, the Women’s Match Racing didn’t get their round robin completed. The racing ended at flight 22, and there are four more flights to sail before the repecharge, so nothing is settled yet – but some are looking in better shape than others. The Russia team of Ekaterina Skudina, Elena Oblova and Elena Siuzeva have won nine of eleven races, not far behind are the British team of Lucy and Kate MacGregor, and Annie Lush, and the Australian team of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty – both teams have only lost two of ten races.

These three are currently contending the top of the leaderboard with the French team of Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou with eight wins from eleven races. Also in contention are the Finns, Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva and Mikaela Wulff with seven wins from ten races. While the surprise strugglers are the USA’s Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi – many people’s favourites ahead of the event, but currently with just five wins from ten races.

Full results at website

20120605 Copyright onEdition 2012©
Free for editorial use day 2 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth and Portland, -  onEdition ©   Click Here to view large photo

Tom Slingsby; Laser, Australia. 'It was an ok day for me, with a one, three and five and plenty of speed, but plenty of errors too. I think I made more and more errors as the day went on. I was too tired and not thinking straight. A lot more wind and rain today as well as big waves, so yes it was tough conditions. We were doing three lap races, so it was really hard on the body as well as it being freezing cold and raining meant it wasn’t great.'

'The visibility made things harder, in the second race I couldn’t see the top mark along with 30-40 other guys who were in the top group. I think it was quite unfair to race in these conditions; perhaps we should have waited for better conditions. I’m looking forward to doing some more racing on this course, I think I’m shaped ok and I’m just going to keep trying to catch the leaders. I’m not going to be back in Weymouth much before the Games, but this week I just want to sail on the course against my main rivals and acclimatise, it is very cold here which is different to Australia!'

Alexandra Rickham; SKUD 18, Great Britain: 'We were really happy with our performance today – we worked hard and basically feel like we deserved those three race wins. The areas we have been having trouble with we’ve progressed since Hyeres, but really we’re more happy with our consistency across the races.'

'Yesterday we definitely made some mistakes, but we picked ourselves up – we took today as day one, and disregarded what went before. Our aim from the racing is to get top threes so we’re ticking that box so far, although it was a little annoying that the Australians got past us on the final downwind yesterday. Today we had them breathing down our necks again, but we managed to hold on this time which was pleasing. All in all we’re pretty happy so far.'

Trevor Moore; 49er, USA: 'Obviously the wind today was very different to what we had yesterday but we had good boat speed and really good starts. We managed the good starts yesterday but couldn’t quite put it away, so today we sailed clear of the other boats as much as we could and used our boat speed to our advantage. It worked out for us.'

'We’re aiming for the podium but at the same time this is really just a practice for the Olympics for us, we’re going to be back here in August so any additional training we can get fighting for a podium position is a bonus.'

'This is proper British weather that we’re having at Sail for Gold but we’re enjoying the wind and it looks like we’re going to have a bit more of it this week, so we will just try to keep going as we are.'

Nathan Outteridge; 49er, Australia: 'We had a pretty good day, with a first, sixth and second. I was a bit disappointed with the sixth because we were winning that middle race by quite a bit and had a capsize just before the finish. We had a good recovery, got up and finished in sixth but it was big waves out there and every now and then you had to flog the spinnaker to avoid them although we flogged quite a few times there was just one that caught us out, but apart from that it was a good day.'

Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic; Finn, Croatia: 'It was quite a difficult day. The conditions were not so nice for sailing to be honest. It was patchy and the pressure was moving around. In the end it was always a bit better on the right but there were no rules and I had a few moments when I was in good situations but then even in a top place it was hard to control so in the first two races I struggled a bit.'

'In the third race I went on the right hand side of the course, tacked with a group and had really good speed and ran over that group. Giles rounded first and Ben and I were really close in second, but I ran him over on the layline and he lost 50 metres on me, because I was backwinding him, but we finished in the order we rounded the top mark.'

Pieter Jan Postma; Finn, Netherlands: 'I had a big collision with Martin Robitaille yesterday, and he made a big hole in my transom and I took on a lot of water and they granted me redress for that. I also had some water in today but I wasn’t sinking, and I am quite happy with my day. We had 14-17 knots and I got a 3, 8 and 7. It wasn’t perfect but it was all right. It was also a great day for my coach. It’s Stefan’s [de Vries] birthday today.'

Saskia Clark; 470 Women, Great Britain: 'It was a tricky day out there today, quite patchy and so there was some big gains and losses going on and not really knowing why. We didn’t have a great start in either race, both very safe starts but had good speed throughout both races and pulled up throughout the racing.'

'We found it a little hard to find our downwind mode which normally comes quite easily and we normally really enjoy that in these wavy conditions but that wasn’t working great for us today so it was a definite scrap!'

'It’s certainly different to Barcelona where we won the Worlds – the weather is just so miserable! Its good racing though and good to have some good strong breeze. We’re still pretty calm and want to do as well as we can, the podium is in sight but the key for us at this regatta is to pick out the learning points for our next training before the big one in August!'

Luke Patience; 470 Men, Great Britain: 'It was a great day for us today – Stuart and I absolutely love these conditions coming from Scotland, wet, windy and rain – what more could you ask for? So we were really pleased with our performance today.'

'It’s only day two so we can’t get carried away, our main goal coming into this regatta was to learn all we can about the venue and our performance so it will be an added bonus to end up on the podium come the end of the week. We will go away and evaluate everything we can from this regatta, making sure everything is in place in time for the Games in August.'

'If the conditions are like this come the Olympics– it will suit us down to the ground, being Brits we’re used to this so it’s no big deal, however come rain or shine we will certainly be ready to go and win that gold medal in two months’ time.'

Evi van Acker; Laser Radial, Belgium: 'My aim is to sail the best I can as this is my last ISAF World Cup event before the Games as well as getting to know the venue. However, we had a south-easterly wind today which is pretty unusual but I am happy we have had that and we learned a lot about the conditions. I have given my best and will try to win!'

'I love the venue, it feels like home because it is raining so that isn’t too bad; I have always loved sailing on the English Channel. There are some great courses here, it is great that we are going to experience these all during the Olympics. Portland is cool, it’s like a small city. I don’t really care about the other girls, I am just here to do my best but it is really difficult not to look at the rest especially those who I have seen improve. My main focus is just on me and trying to be the best I can be. Sailing against Marit isn’t great, she is a great sailor but then I am too so we will see who wins.'

Marit Bouwmeester; Laser Radial, Netherlands: 'So we are here at Skandia Sail for Gold, it is a great opportunity to race at the Olympic venue and to learn more about the weather here. I hope to do well this week and see some different situations with it being light today and lots of current and a south-westerly wind it will be good to experience what else this week has to offer. The Olympics is shaping up to be a great event, it is going to be very challenging with the different race courses; you really can expect anything.'

Alison Young; Laser Radial, Great Britain: 'I had a fairly solid day, could have done a little better as there were a few little silly mistakes in there but I’ll take the lessons learnt from today into the rest of the week. The first race was a close race between the three of us at the front of the fleet, the second race I managed to pull myself up through the fleet all the way around.'

'I think I’m continually improving, there’s 50 plus days to go to the Olympic Games so it’s just key for me to keep learning the lessons, to keep improving and to get a result at the Games in August.'

'It’s a very competitive Radial fleet being a one design boat and there are a number of girls who are in the mix for a medal. Skandia Sail for Gold is the last real opportunity to test yourself in a highly competitive environment before the Games.'

'There’s a lot of racing still to go so the key is to keep learning, take the opportunities as they come and to keep moving forward for the Games. It was a great confidence boost being selected but I’m here this week so aim to get on with the job and to keep moving forwards.'

Bryony Shaw; RS:X Women, Great Britain:
'I had an equipment break in the first race, it was the mast extension so I couldn’t continue racing. So my coach and I had to re-rig for the second race and in that race I sailed really well. It is quite a rare thing that the equipment can break as it did today. It is typical that it never happens in training, most importantly we weren’t too frustrated to be honest, it is something that you kind of get on with and I think I kept cool enough to race well in the second race.'
'This week is all good experience for the Games, we certainly hope that the break isn’t something that will happen in two months time, but then that is hopefully what a discard is for. I really need to stay consistent and not be too risky for the rest of the series.'

'I feel much better after overcoming a chest infection, thank you. Over the last month or so I have been getting my strength back in the gym and feeling good out on the water especially with all the cold spells we have had, so it is a case of monitoring how everything is going and keeping my health good. I have also had some hay fever recently and that affects your respiratory system. I am conscious I don’t want to have another bad spell, but overall it has been much better since the spring.'

Nick Dempsey; RS:X Men, Great Britain: 'It was a very cold day, really shifty, really difficult. Quite a challenge for everyone, I had a good first race and then struggled bait on the second race because the visibility became bad, which made it really hard to orientate yourself with the shifts but I think I salvaged an ok results.'

Robert Schiedt; Star, Brazil: 'We won the first race which was quite nice, the second race we were in second place but we got a yellow flag and got a penalty and dropped to sixth. On the third race we had a great comeback, after the start we were in about tenth place but finished third. We are really happy with those results but also quite tired with it being a rough day and doing three races. Six- seven hours on the water so I am very much looking forward to a shower!'



day 2 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth -  onEdition ©   Click Here to view large photo

day 2 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth and Portland, the 2012 Olympic venue. -  onEdition ©   Click Here to view large photo

day 2 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth and Portland -  onEdition ©   Click Here to view large photo

Full results at Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta website


by Jo Grindley

  

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