A strong day for Britain’s Finn sailors at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyeres on Thursday (25 April) sees Giles Scott and Andrew Mills move into the top two positions in the heavyweight dinghy class with two days of racing to go.
The British Finn squad dominated proceedings on this fourth day of action, with Scott, Mills, Ed Wright and Mark Andrews all posting top seven results in both of the day’s two races, while a steady day for the 49er FX pairing of Charlotte Dobson and Mary Rook sees them hold on to the yellow leader’s jerseys for a second day.
Scott, winner of the Palma World Cup earlier this month, won his first race of the day to advance to the top of the leaderboard in the heavyweight dinghy fleet ahead of Dutchman Pieter Jan Postma, while in the second of the day’s two races it was 27-year-old Mills who claimed victory, with Scott in second.
Mistakes by close rivals Postma, Frenchman Jonathan Lobert and Slovenia’s Vasilij Zbogar, who were all black-flagged at the start of the second race, aided the British improvement in the overall standings, with Scott now occupying the top spot by five points over Mills.
Ed Wright is just three points away from the podium spots in fifth overall, with 4,7 on the water today, with Mark Andrews also eyeing a spot in Saturday’s medal races for the top ten boats. He’s currently placed in 11th, posting a second and a fifth from his two races.
“A first and a second - I couldn’t really ask for much more than that,” said Scott of his efforts on Thursday.
“There were a few of the guys who’d been up there all week got a black flag in that second race as well, which is helping us out a little bit but I’d imagine it’s still pretty tight up at the top.
“There’s still the double medal races to go as well as two more gold fleet races before that, so we’ll see. I’ll just try and take it steady like I did today.”
British Sailing Team Finn coach Matt Howard was impressed with his charges: “Millsy’s race win at the end [of the day] was great on the back of his first race,” he said.
“In both races he had great starts and in the first race he was a bit unfortunate with a wind shift. For him then to come and win the second race was really good. The other standout would be Giles who had a really solid day, and also with three of his main competitors on OCS’s and not competing in that race for him to really capitalise on their mistake with a good, solid counter in second was exactly what we needed.”
Charlotte Dobson and Mary Rook hang on to a slender one point lead in the 49erFX class, with scores of 4,7,4 from their three races, with Penny Clark and Sophie Ainsworth also posting a race win today to see them into sixth.
Alison Young improves to second overall in the Laser Radial event thanks to a third and a second from her two races today. She’s now six points behind the Netherlands’ Olympic silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester.
“The breeze didn’t really come in quite as forecast, but I had two good races today with a third and second so I’m pretty pleased with that,” explained Palma World Cup winner Young.
“A lot of the Olympic girls have come back for this event, so it’s been good to see how everyone is stacking up.
“For me it would be good to keep the momentum going here, keep moving things on from Palma. We’ve got a lot of racing still to go with another day of the finals series and then two double-points medal races so we’ll have to see!”
Meanwhile in the Paralympic classes, medals will be decided on Friday. Germany’s Heiko Kroger almost has gold in the bag in the 2.4mR class, but the fight is on for the silver and bronze medal spots which are currently occupied by Britons Helena Lucas and Megan Pascoe. Two more fleet races are scheduled for tomorrow which will decide the final standings in the Paralympic one-person event, and also in the three-person Sonar event where Britain’s John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas are in fifth place at their first regatta back since the Games.
An up-and-down day for all in the 49er fleet sees a change at the top of the standings after day four. Overnight leaders Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign hand their yellow jerseys to the Spanish duo of Carlos and Anton Paz, and head into Friday’s penultimate day for the Olympic Classes in second overall, with teammates Stevie Morrison-Ben Rhodes in fourth and Dave Evans-Ed Powys in sixth.
Bryony Shaw remains in second place at the end of Thursday’s racing in the RS:X women’s windsurfing event, just two points adrift from France’s Charline Picon, while Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond improved to fourth overall in the Nacra 17 multihull event with 4,8,4 on their scorecard today.
It was a day chalked down to ‘experience’ for Britain’s 470 men’s pairings – a testing first race saw Luke Patience-Joe Glanfield and Nick Rogers-Elliot Willis finish 14th and 19th respectively before a boom breakage for Patience and Glanfield forced their retirement from the second race. Rogers and Willis were also disqualified for a premature start leaving them in 18th overall, and Patience and Glanfield in 11th.
Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre are in sixth overall in the 470 women’s event, while Nick Thompson has his sights trained on a top ten medal race position, with 6,14 from his two races seeing him into 13th overall after a difficult start to the week. RYA Youth National Champion Kieran Martin is 26th in the RS:X men’s windsurfing event.
Racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup, Hyeres, continues on Friday 26 April with the final races for the 2.4mR and Sonar Paralympic classes, while the places for Saturday’s medal races in the Olympic Classes will be up for grabs.
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