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2016 Princess Sofia Trophy - Young guns going for gold in medal races

by Lindsey Bell on 2 Apr 2016
Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter, 470 Women Sailing Energy/Sofia
2016 Princess Sofia Trophy - Rising British talents Tom Squires and Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter will be in the hunt for gold in the Princess Sofia Trophy medal races on Saturday (2 April).

Windsurfer Squires extended his lead to 11 points at the top of the RS:X men’s table on a disjointed penultimate day of racing in Palma Bay, while Seabright-Carpenter kept their cool in a tightly-fought 470 women’s fleet to head into the final race tied on points with the Brazilian series leaders.

The Podium Potential squad sailors are among eight British Sailing Team crews to have qualified for the Palma medal races, with Helena Lucas also in final day action in the 2.4mR Paralympic event.

There was disappointment, however, for Finn World Champion and defending titleholder Giles Scott, whose title hopes disappeared when a broken rudder pin forced his retirement from Friday’s final fleet race.

Scott heads into the medal race in fourth place, and will be fighting it out for the lower podium spots, with New Zealand’s Josh Junior having already secured gold ahead of the medal race.

In spite of a break in proceedings due to heavy rain showers and shifting winds, Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter continued their impressive run in the 470 Women’s event. They opened their day with a fourth place and maintained their consistency in the second race of the day after a wait ashore to post a third place, leaving them tied on 36 points at the top of the table with Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan of Brazil.

Carpenter admitted she was pleased with the duo’s progress this week: “We’re pretty fast in the breeze and it’s been quite a breezy week but even in what was probably the lightest race of the week we won that one, so that’s been good.

“Stuff’s just been coming together for us – we won the Arenal regatta in the run up to this so things have been going well.”

“It feels really nice to actually finally feel like we belong in that front group,” added the 24-year-old Seabright. “It’s been really good racing up with that front group. There are a few good people missing but that’s given us more confidence and motivation to feel like we can be part of that top five or top ten.”

But with the points margins close around the podium places, Carpenter knows Saturday’s medal race will be a hard-fought affair, and not a simple shoot-out for gold with the Brazilian pair.

“We are tied on points with the Brazilians who are winning but actually we could quite easily fall out of the medals – I think third and fourth places are maybe four or five points behind us. So probably match racing will be a bit of a risky tactic!

“We’ll probably just go out and sail the race as best we can, keeping an eye on the people around us.”

After a long wait ashore, the men’s windsurfing fleet saw just one race of their scheduled two on Friday. Tom Squires, who’s led the series from the outset, posted a discard score of 23rd, but with key rival Pawel Tarnowski also having an average race, Squires’ lead has extended to 11 points, with Greece’s Byron Kokkalanis now behind him in silver position and France’s Thomas Goyard in third.

Giles Scott will wish the Finn fleet had stayed ashore after their first race of the day, as his good luck unraveled rapidly in the second race.

Having won the first race of the day to eke out a gap over New Zealand’s Junior, Scott was in a comfortable position over his Kiwi rival in the second race of the day when his rudder pin broke after the first lap, forcing him out of the race and out of gold medal position.

“Josh went on the aggressive in the pre-start and we had one recall,” recounted Scott of the second race.

“I kind of felt I did a good job with him and in both starts I managed to come off the line ahead and had the option to tack off. In the second start that's what I did and sailed clear, and by the gate Josh was about tenth and I was in second or third and as I rounded up my rudder pin snapped.

“It is a bit annoying but these things happen and it’s better it happens now than in a few months’ time.

“The bit that broke was a three month old fitting and is something that I check regularly. It didn't have any wear and it just decided today it was going to break, so I'll need to work on the boat tonight to be able to sail tomorrow. The event is lost and I suppose that's the way it is but it's always a frustrating way to lose a regatta that way.

“We'll go away and look at it to make sure it doesn't happen again. It's certainly something you'd kick yourself even more if it happened again.”

In spite of having to count a hefty 45 points from an earlier race, Scott still remains in the mix for the podium spots in fourth overall and ten points from silver. But the 28-year-old is pragmatic about his regatta and his overall progress towards Rio.

“We have been experimenting quite a lot this week and are pretty happy with what we've been doing. (My coach) Matt and I still think we are in a very strong position.”

With no racing for the 2.4mR fleet on Friday, Helena Lucas will come out hungry in Saturday’s final two races in the Paralympic class. She’s currently level on points with Germany’s Heiko Kroeger after four races.

Alison Young will head into the Laser Radial medal race in overall fifth, eight points from the podium spots, while Luke Patience and Chris Grube are also in fifth place in the 470 men’s event.

Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth made the medal race cut in seventh place in the 49erFX event, with Tom Phipps and Nikki Boniface also in seventh in the Nacra 17 event. Podium Potential sailor Jack Wetherell made the final day cut in the Laser event, in eighth overall.

Medal racing is scheduled to start from 1100hrs (local) on Saturday 2 April.


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