Shaw steals the show on day one in Abu Dhabi

Written by RYA | 27 November 2014

Bryony Shaw tops the leaderboard at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final

British windsurfer Bryony Shaw set the pace for the British Sailing Team on an action-packed first day of racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (Thursday 27 November).

Shaw, who clinched gold at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami in January, counted all three race wins in a strong RS:X Women’s fleet to see her take an early overall lead, while Alison Young, Nick Thompson and 49er sailors Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign also got solid starts to the event.

The 31-year-old Shaw, who is competing in the Emirati capital for the first time, revelled in the 10-15 knots on one of the outside course areas which threw up a mixture of swell and waves. Competing against an 18-strong fleet which includes Olympic, World and European champions, Shaw finished the day high on confidence at the top of the leaderboard.

“I was pleased to be sailing fast. I got a good start in the first race, not such a good start in the second race. The first two races I rounded first and was able to extend my lead. In the last race we had lighter winds so the girls were on the daggerboard so a slightly different mode,” Shaw explained.

“I had a great start by the boat and really good height and speed and managed to round first again. It was quite a physical race that one. I kept it quite simple and stayed between my competitors and the mark and managed to win that third race. It was a really good day.”

With this event being the first of its kind as well as the British number one’s first time racing off Lulu Island, off the UAE capital's stunning Corniche, Shaw confirms she has been impressed with what she has seen so far.

“I’ve tried to immerse myself in the culture and we’ve been going out for dinners and the people here seem really friendly. The conditions today were fantastic. To be sailing out there in board shorts and for it to be warm, sunny and to be sailing in planing conditions is the best for windsurfing. I’ve had a great time here so far.”

Alison Young opened her regatta series with a race win in the Laser Radial event, followed by a ninth in her second race to sit her in second place overall, while Nick Thompson sits third overall in the Men’s Laser event.

“It was a tricky day of racing today, we were on the inside course which was pretty shifty and pretty puffy but great fun racing against all the great sailors that are here this week”, she said.

“It is always good to be back in the boat competing. I had a bit of time off earlier on in the year so it is just great to be here and to be racing.”

The Radial class this week welcomes nine of the world’s top ten Laser Radial racers, and the 27-year-old London 2012 Olympian Young admits there was very little separating the fleet in today’s two races.

“I’m here this week to learn as much as possible. There are 18 great sailors here so every race is really tight and every boat counts. It was such tight racing today out on the water with boats crossing the line in packs and I expect that will be a similar story for the rest of the regatta.”

The racing on the 49er race course was exceptionally close with little separation of the fleet across the three races. Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign sit second overall after picking up the first race victory before finishing second behind Poland’s Tomasz Januszewski-Jacek Nowak in the second. The Brits did not sail the third race due to equipment problems, leaving the Polish team to take their second race win and the overall lead. John Pink and Stuart Bithell sit sixth overall, with Dave Evans and Ed Powys in eighth.  

Returning to the water after a three month absence, Sophie Weguelin and  Eilidh McIntyre marked their competitive return with a 9-3 to sit fifth overall in the 470 Women’s event while Finn sailor Ed Wright is currently sitting just outside the top ten in 11th. Nick Dempsey is poised in eighth in the RS:X Men’s event, with Tom Squires 10th.

In the 49erFX women’s skiff event, Kate Macgregor and her new crew Kirstie Urwin occupy 16th after three races, with Lucy Macgregor-Andrew Walsh and Ben Saxton-Nicola Groves eighth and ninth respectively in the Nacra 17 class. Oliver Bridge sits third overall in the Kiteboarding event.

Click here for the full list of results from the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final.

Racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final continues tomorrow (Friday 28 November), with the final medal races on Sunday 30 November.

For the latest news and information from the British Sailing Team follow us at www.britishsailingteam.com, on Facebook or on Twitter @BritishSailing.

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