Alison Young

Battling with the breeze as Rio Test Event hits the halfway stage

Written by RYA | 18 August 2015

Weather disruptions hit the fourth day of Rio racing

British Sailing Team Manager Stephen Park described the Rio Olympic Test Event so far as a ‘week of learning’ as the regatta hit the halfway stage amid a second day of weather disruptions on Tuesday (18 August).

Light wind conditions once again dogged the 2016 sailing venue, with just a handful of races possible across five of the eight classes originally scheduled to compete on the fourth day of the Aquece Rio International Regatta.

Event organisers are now playing catch up with the racing schedule in the majority of the ten Olympic classes, with all ten now scheduled to race on Wednesday across the six course areas both inside and outside of Guanabara Bay.

“There’s been a lot of learning going on from a lot of sailors and it’s been a very challenging week for sailors from all nations in all classes so far,” explained Park of the testing conditions teams have been experiencing at the 2016 Games venue.

“For most people there’s been a real battle with the wind.  It’s a sea breeze that we’ve had so far this regatta, and that means it’s been quite different inside and outside the harbour, and also different on the different courses.  

“The wind has been patchy across the courses and also we’ve been on the turn of the tide a lot of the time in the early afternoon, which means that the course has paid on different parts of the course at different stages of the race.  It’s very difficult for sailors to keep track of all of that and execute their best performance.”  

“Results for most fleets for most sailors have certainly been up and down, and that’s no different for our team as it is for other top sailors from around the world.”

There was insufficient wind to race on any of the outside courses once again on Tuesday, but all three courses inside the bay managed to host racing in the mid to late afternoon sea breeze. The 49erFX class managed their two planned races, with Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth posting a 10,14 to sit in overall tenth place. 

Nick Dempsey’s RS:X men’s windsurfing fleet also managed two races, which yielded 14,9 for the double Olympic medallist, who is poised 11th overall. 

“Tactically I’m making much better decisions that I was at the beginning of the week, and I don’t think I’m a million miles off,” Dempsey explained. 

“I’m just not quite there with the pace so that makes it quite difficult.  But it’s alright, I love racing and I’m learning a heap so it’s all relatively positive.”

Just one race was possible for the women’s RS:X fleet, with Bryony Shaw picking up a seventh to see her into ninth place overall.

Alison Young has advanced to third overall in the Laser Radial fleet following a sixth place in the sole planned race for the women’s single-handers, while Nick Thompson is fifth in the tightly contested Laser event.  He posted a 15th the class’s only race of the day. The Finn sailors saw none of their three planned races, in spite of sailing out to the Sugarloaf course, while the 470 Men’s and Women’s fleets, due to race outside the bay, never left the shore due to insufficient breeze.

“Tomorrow’s forecast is not fantastic so there’s a good chance we’re going to lose some more races tomorrow.  For the last three days of the regatta it’s going to be all on and it’s going to be full speed ahead right to the finish line,” team manager Park continued.

“From a British perspective, we’re still in the hunt in most of the classes, and hopefully we’ll see a few of the ones where we’re in the bottom half of the top ten make some progress up towards the medal places by the medal race, and those that are in the top few positions consolidate those positions and get themselves in a position ready to challenge to win gold.”

Schedule for Wednesday 19 August:
RS:X Men, P. Acucar 4 Races 1310
RS:X Women, P. Acucar 4 Races 1300
Laser,  Copacabana 2 Races 1310
Laser Radial, Copacabana 2 Races 1300
Finn, Niteroi 3 Races 1300
470 Men, Pai 2 Races 1300
470 Women, Pai 2 Races 1310
49er, Ponte 3 Races 1300
49erFX, Escola Naval 3 Races 1500
Nacra 17, Escola Naval 3 Races 1300

Competition at the Aquece Rio International Regatta continues from 1300 on Wednesday (19 August), with final medal races scheduled for the RS:X windsurfing events on Thursday (20 August); Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 on Friday (21 August); Finn, 470 Men and 470 Women on Saturday (22 August).

For all the latest news and updates from the British Sailing Team, follow us at, on Facebook or on Twitter @BritishSailing.


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