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A waiting game as Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland kicks off

by RYA on 8 Jun 2016
Izzy Hamilton sails out to the race course before racing was abandoned - 2016 Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
Weather conditions in Weymouth and Portland were better suited to holidaymakers than elite sailors as the fourth leg of the 2016 Sailing World Cup series got off to a slow start on British shores on Wednesday (8 June).

The London 2012 sailing venue this week welcomes 330 sailors from 43 nations at what is the final showdown before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and competitors found themselves enjoying the warmth of the British summer, albeit with light winds disrupting the opening day’s racing schedule.

Just one race proved possible in the late afternoon sea breeze, with the RS:X Men’s windsurfing fleet posting the only scores of the day.

The British Sailing Team’s Joe Bennett got his regatta underway with a fourth, with teammate Tom Squires in seventh.

For Bennett, the regatta is his first event back following an injury sustained six months ago and he enjoyed his competitive comeback.

“I had an accident with a knife and cut the tendon in my fingers,” the Rotherham sailor explained.

“I’m feeling good, no soreness, no pain, I’m just lacking a bit of strength in my forearms but other than that it’s all good.

“I was going pretty quick, just pretty tired by the end.

“This is my first World Cup in a while but it was really nice to be racing, it was really fun.”

Nick Dempsey is missing the early days of competition due to illness, with the medical team taking a precautionary approach with Rio on the horizon.

For other members of the British Sailing Team, the overall regatta format and today’s light wind conditions provide great practice for what they might expect at the Olympic venue in two months’ time.

“You get tricky conditions out there and I’m sure we will experience days like this so we’re used to it by now,” said 49er sailor Dylan Fletcher, selected for his first Olympic Games last month alongside Alain Sign.

The 49er fleet sailed out to their race course but were unable to get a race started as the breeze diminished.

“We’ll stick to our processes, chill out and make sure we are ready when the gun goes,” Fletcher continued.

“I think it could be pretty similar all week, pretty tricky conditions, we thought the sea breeze might come in really good today and it didn’t so we will see what we get predictions wise I think it will be the same.”

Finn World Champion Giles Scott is also drawing parallels between World Cup racing in Weymouth and Portland and conditions he might expect in Rio.

“Obviously the venue as a whole here in Weymouth is very different to how Rio will be, but actually the forecast this week is about as similar as what we’d expect in Rio as Weymouth could offer.

“We’ve also got spring tides here, there’s a lot of tidal flow so again it will tune you in to those skills which you’ll need to get you around race courses well in Rio.”

“It also marks a change from racing around in 80 boat fleets to what is a lot closer to the Olympic sized fleet of 23,” Scott continued. “It’ll serve as a great opportunity to train those small fleet skills so I think the relevance of this is useful particularly when you compare it to how the Games will be.”

Thursday’s racing schedule has been amended in an attempt to catch up on Wednesday’s lost races, with all fleets barring the 49er starting from 1100hrs. The 49er class is scheduled to race four races from 1400.

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