Ireland's Paralympic sailing team secored a ten and 14 in the first two rounds of the three person keelboat regatta yesterday. Kinsale Yacht Club's Sonar crew of John Twomey, Ian Costelloe and Austin O'Carroll now lie 12th from 14 with two more races in the series today and plenty of opportunity for a prized top ten finish. Results are here.
With compatriot Matt Bugg going well in the 2.4 Norlin OD and the SKUD18 team leading the way in their fleet, it was down to Colin Harrison, Russell Boaden and Jonathan Harris to carry the baton for Australia in the Sonar to end a good day for the land down under.
The Australians led at every mark on the Escola Naval race area in race one to take the bullet and followed it up with a second place to sit on top of the leaderboard with three points.
Explaining the key to success for his team, Harrison said, "It was about getting a clear lane early, focusing on boat speed and then just working the shifts. It wasn't tough in that they were huge shifts but there was enough pressure and you had to be on the right side of it.”
Even with the good start, Harrison knows the battle for gold won't be an easy one with top competition to deal with as well as difficult race areas, "It's very challenging racing in Rio, out of all the venues we have sailed around the world in the Sailing World Cup series, Rio is the most challenging.”
Recovering from an eighth place in race one, Trans-Tasman neighbours, New Zealand's Richard Dodson, Andrew May and Chris Sharp, came back with a bullet in race two to move up to second overall on nine points.
New Zealand may be the second name on the leaderboard, but they sit on the same points as Vasilis Christoforou, Anargyros Notaroglou and Thodoris Alexas (GRE) who scored a 3,6 and Lasse Klötzing, Siegmund Mainka and Jens Kroker (GER) who scored a 4,5.
World champions, USA's Alphonsus Doerr, Hugh Freund and Bradley Kendell have ten points which leaves them in sixth overall while Canada's Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes are above them in fifth on the same points tally.
Racing continues on Tuesday 13 September with two races scheduled for all fleets. There will be a switch in the race areas as the 2.4 Norlin OD and SKUD18 race on the Escola Naval area and Sonar's move to the Pao de Acucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) race area.