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Epic 470 racing pushes teams in big breeze day at Rio Olympics

by World Sailing on 12 Aug 2016
470 Women on Race Day 2 - Rio Olympics Matias Capizzano
On race day two for the 470 Men and 470 Women, the Olympic sailing competition again produced giant wind and size-of-a-house waves out on the Niteroi course on Thursday 11 August.

Racing tested every extreme of a sailor's ability, which is exactly what the Olympic competition should be. The conditions saw the 470 fleet steaming around the race track in the high, steady breeze and large swells.

Racing continues on Friday 12 August, with two more races scheduled for each of the 470 Men and 470 Women fleets, back inside the bay on Escola Naval race course. The men are scheduled to start at 1300 hours, with the women at 1310 hours.

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470
The defending Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) sailed an excellent day two and met their simple goal for some of the toughest conditions they have ever experienced. 'It was just keep the mast pointing upwards,” said Aleh. 'It was pure survival out there, keep Polly on the side of the boat because crews were getting washed off the side all the time. The wind was big. The waves were big. It couldn't have been more of a contrast to all the fluky stuff from yesterday, but this regatta is getting to be fun.”

The Kiwis have replaced the Japanese at the top of the scoreboard, with Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka just two points behind New Zealand. Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) could have dominated the day with two wins, except that in the second race they capsized whilst in the lead and did well to hold on to a sixth place. A missed opportunity that could come back to haunt the British crew later in the competition, but for the moment they sit in third place, just five points off the lead.

On equal points with the Britons are the reigning World Champions, Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA). 'We don't normally like those conditions very much so we're pleased to have come out of the day better than we expected,” said Lecointre.

The 2014 and 2015 World Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) would be hoping to do better than their current eighth overall. 'In three years of training we've never seen any of the conditions that we saw yesterday or today,” said Vadlau. 'The first day was fluky and you needed some luck to do well, and today was about surviving. I tried to enjoy it but when you see people capsizing in front of you, you try to keep calm and keep on doing what you normally do. You can't get scared, because if you get scared you will capsize too.”

470 Women - Top five after four Races
1. Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) - Six pts
2. Ai Kondo/Miho Yoshioka (JPN) - Eight pts
3. Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) - 11 pts
4. Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance - 11 pts
5. Tina Mrak/Veronika Macarol (SLO) - 11 pts

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470
Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) had the best day in the survival conditions, the Croatians' 4,1 scores lifting them to three points clear of their Aussie rivals and reigning Olympic Champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan.

Race four was close, with the Crotians finishing just one second ahead of France's Sofian Bouvet/Jeremie Mion (FRA), who are in fifth overall.

But it's all very tight, with Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) just a couple of points behind in third. Others are ready to pounce on any mistakes, with Sweden and France not far off the podium.

The London 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience (GBR) was grinning from ear to ear after coming ashore from the biggest waves he'd ever seen. 'They were three or four metres, as big as houses. You could see the front door, two windows, a kitchen and the bedrooms upstairs. When you were in the trough you couldn't see the boat next to you.”

470 Men - Top five after four Races
1. Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO) - Four pts
2. Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) - Seven pts
3. Panagotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) - Nine pts
4. Anton dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE) - 14 pts
5. Sofian Bouvet/Jeremie Mion (FRA) - 14 pts

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