Ireland's Olympic Sailing Team will be hoping that the prospect of slightly more wind for the second day of racing tomorrow might boost some poor opening results scored today at the Sailing world Cup in Weymouth. There is still plenty of racing to try to catch up over the next three days and tomorrow Friday will be used to continue the catch up on Wednesday's missed races. Ireland's best result was in the mens 49er skiff where Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern are mid fleet.
All of the ten Olympic fleets took to the water to tackle a bumper day of racing. Wednesday's little to no breeze and bright sunshine was replaced with strong easterly winds and fog on Thursday morning. As the day progressed, the breeze dipped and the fog disappeared as a full schedule of 34 races spread across all ten Olympic fleets concluded.
For all but the Men's RS:X, it was the start of the competition after Wednesday's frustration and the serious Rio 2016 Olympic contenders took to the front of the packs.
For the Irish Olympic team bound for Rio, Annalise Murphy of the National YC is well capable of improving on her 37 from 39. She is a place behind Rio trialist Aoife Hopkins of Howth in 36th. After three Radial races, the top three nationalities replicate the positions of the flags at London 2012, China, the Netherlands, then Belgium. The familiar faces of Lijia Xu (CHN) and Marit Bouwmeester (NED) remain but Emma Plasschaert is leading the charge for Belgium with the London 2012 bronze medallist, Evi Van Acker, 15th after a black flag in the opening race. Each sailor took a race win and Xu leads on three points. Bouwmeester follows on four and Plasschaert on seven.
Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern are 16 from 30 but they will rue the black flag disqualification in race 2. The 49er fleet touched back ashore at 18:20 after four light and tricky races. New Zealand's Logan Dunning Beck and Jack Simpson continue to fly the flag for the nations 49er sailing, leading the 30-boat fleet on 12 points. Spain's Diego Botin and Iago Lopez and Great Britain's Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign follow behind the Kiwis.
In the womens 49erfx, Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish YC are 14 from 15. Sailing World Cup Hyères winners Lisa Ericson and Hanna Klinga didn't immediately pick up from where they left off just a few short weeks ago as they were OCS in the opening race. However, they quickly found the form that helped them win in Hyères, following up with a third and double bullets to lead the fleet.
"It's the beginning of the regatta so anything could have happened today,” explained Klinga. "Apart from the OCS, we are happy but we will take less chances now because we can't afford to get another bad result, but we will think exactly the same as normal, just race and look forward.”
The Swedes have moved into serious contenders for an Olympic medal and have got their spot at Rio all sewn up. They were involved in a long running battle for national qualification, facing up against Julia Gross and Cecilia Jonsson, one in which Ericson and Klinga triumphed. However Gross and Jonsson are still keeping their rivals on their toes and sit one point behind them on the leader board.
Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) follow, two points off the leaders with Norwegian twin sisters Ragna and Maia Agerup occupying fourth overall.
The Agerup sisters will be heading to Rio 2016 and are using Weymouth and Portland to sharpen up, "We wanted to have some racing before the Olympics so that's why we decided to come here. We only got selected a few days ago by the Olympic Committee so it's been pretty full on. We have been training in Rio the past couple of weeks and we will go out again soon.
"We take this regatta as good training and we will push it and see how far we can go
Full results are here
As the 2016 Olympic Sailing campaign builds up to its climax in Rio in August, Afloat.ie has agreed that until the Olympiad is over, our Sailor of the Month contenders will automatically be considered under two basic categories: Olympics and “others”. As regular readers will be aware, in an exceptionally successful month, there may be several sub-divisions covering “others”, but for April we have just two clearcut sets of winners.
The Olympic category sees an outstanding Sailors of the Month for April accolade going to northern sailors Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern for their Gold Medal in the 49er skiff event in a keen fleet at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma on April 2nd.
The two Ballyholme YC sailors provided their supporters with a nail-biting finish in the medal race, for though they made a superb and clean start, their lead at the end of the first beat was zapped down to a ninth on the water after they’d to take a penalty turn for hitting the mark.
The final race was taking place after a confusing overnight situation in which overall places seemed to changing place on an hourly basis as protests were decided and redresses provided accordingly. Thus at one stage before the race was even sailed, the Ballyholme duo were told that the Gold was their’s. But after another hearing, it became clear that only a placing in the final race which put them not more one place adrift on Australian stars Nathan Otteridge and Iain Jensen would secure Gold.
Fortunately Otterridge and Jensen were at fifth as Seaton and McGovern began their recovery from their setback to ninth on the water. They milled their way through the fleet and at the finish it was still the Ausyralians fifth, but with the Irish right behind them in sixth to clinch the Gold and ensure they were Olympic Sailors of the Month for April.