Race Day 7 Round up from Weymouth
Brits holding firm on day seven
Nick Dempsey moved into silver medal position in the RS:X Men’s windsurfing class after a productive day seven of the Olympic Sailing Regatta at Weymouth and Portland today (Saturday 4 August).
Dempsey returned to action after yesterday’s rest day lying fourth overall and immediately set about trying to reel in the top pack by taking a second behind leader Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) in the opening race of the day.
The Athens 2004 bronze medallist then in engaged in a thrilling head-to-head battle against Van Rijsselberge, keeping the Dutchman in third while he retained second place until the final set of marks when Van Rijsselberge managed to edge ahead.
Dempsey’s second and third from the day saw him leap into second overall, tied with Toni Wilhelm (GER) on 24 points, with Van Rijsselberge looking increasingly comfortable in first after eight races.
But with two races and the double points’ medal race still to come, Dempsey will keep giving it his all.
He said: “I’m joint second at the moment and you don’t win the regatta in the first few days so you’re just doing everything you can at the moment. I’m still staying in it and I’m sailing well. It’s good to be up there but the gold medal is getting further and further away so I need a very special day tomorrow or we will be racing for seconds.”
Birthday boy Luke Patience insisted the 470 Men’s contest was not “a two horse race” despite the British and Australian boats eking out a big advantage today.
The Brits collected scores of three and four from their two races today to sit in second place overall with 12 points after six races and heading into their rest day tomorrow. The Australian triple World Champion pair, and pre-event favourites, Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, lie in first position with eight points, while Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders (NZL) currently sit third with 31 points.
Patience, who turned 26 today, and Bithell are not about to start getting carried away.
Patience said: “We’re pleased, it’s out first Games and it’s always a nerve racking thing. We’ve been wearing the coloured bibs so far for the first three days so we will take that. The Aussies are good at getting on a roll and we’re good at that too. They have had a string of three bullets in a row but their catchable. As I have said every day it’s not a two horse race. Currently we’re doing a good job right now and we would take that going into the medal race but there are plenty of races left.”
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark overcame gear failure to sit pretty in silver medal position at close of play today.
After an opening race fourth today the Brits came out in determined fashion in race two, carving out a commanding lead in the early stages of the race. But Mills and Clark suddenly started to slow down on the first downwind leg with Clark spending several minutes seemingly tackling an equipment problem in the boat.
The girls got going again and managed to secure a creditable sixth place finish in that race – their fourth race in total – to leave them two points behind Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (NZL) in first.
Saskia explained: “We had a bit of gear failure, which we are really disappointed about. It’s something which we check every day but the shackle on the mainsheet came undone so halfway down the first run we wasted a lot of time with me trying to fix it with Hannah flying the kite [spinnaker]. We couldn’t get it fixed so we had to sail the second half of the race with Hannah operating the boom and the mainsheet.
Hannah added: “It was all about damage limitation and we just wanted to grind out another result as best we can and we did that so were still in the hunt.”
The British Match Race Girls admitted it was a “massive relief” after booking a quarter-final showdown against Russia at the Olympic Sailing Regatta next Tuesday (7 August). The Poole trio of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor progressed through to the knockout phase of the London 2012 Women’s Match Racing event despite slipping to defeat against their final round robin opponents, Netherlands and USA, at Weymouth and Portland today (Saturday 4 August).
The Brits, who are seeded seventh, will now face the second seed Russian team of Ekaterina Skudina, Elena Syuzeva and Elena Oblova, who defeated the Brits in the round robin on Wednesday. But the girls insist that with a couple of rest days now, they will regroup and start a fresh in the quarter-finals.
Bryony Shaw still has her sights on a top five finish. With two races of the RS:X women’s event to come – plus the final double points medal race – Shaw lies in seventh place overall, 16 points from a podium position with two races plus the double points medal race to follow.
Debutant Alison Young admits she is looking forward to her first Olympic medal race on Monday (6 August). Ali sits fifth overall, 18 points off bronze medal position, and contests the final double points’ race bidding to guarantee the highest finish possible at her first ever Olympic regatta.
Paul Goodison insisted he wants do himself “proud in the medal race” after his dreams of making it on to the London 2012 podium were ended today. He collected scores of ninth and eighth in what were the Laser’s final two series races, leaving him sixth overall but an insurmountable 27 points from bronze medal position heading into Monday’s final double points’ medal race.