470 duo Luke Patience and Chris Grube were among the British Sailing Team athletes
who took control of their respective fleets on a wet and wild day third day
of the World Cup Series Miami.
pair moved to the top of the 470 rankings with a masterclass of heavy weather
sailing as a fresh breeze of more than 20 knots blew through Biscayne Bay on
Thursday, a stark contrast to the light winds of the first two days.
and Grube dominated day three’s two races, winning the opener and finishing
runners up in the second.
impressive performance moved them into pole position with a healthy six-point
buffer over closest rivals Kevin Pepponet and Jeremie Mion of France with
three fleet races left before the concluding medal race.
won the day with a first and a second – we’re pretty happy,” said Patience, a
silver medallist from London 2012. “It was booming windy out there and the
boats were flying. It was fun but tiring. The key was to get to maximum boat
speed as quickly as possible. That one thing can get you ahead of the fleet
and you can just do simple things from there. We didn’t do anything heroic,
we just stayed calm.”
World Cup Series Miami is only the second major outing for Patience and Grube
since returning from a year-long break following Rio 2016.
well as providing a benchmark for winter training, the regatta is a good test
of where the pair sit ahead of 2018’s biggest test – the Hempel Sailing World
Championships taking place in Aarhus, Denmark, this summer.
still early in the Olympic cycle and this is the first event of the year, so for
us this is about establishing where we sit in the world fleet and giving us
an indication of what we need to work on ahead of the world championships,”
Finn class Olympic gold medallist Giles
Scott and 49er world champions Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell have also
taken the lead, each bagging a race win among a string of top results.
Fletcher and Bithell bounced back from
a capsize in the opening race of the day to finish 12th, then
followed it up with a 1, 3, 8 as downwind speeds topped 20 knots in the high
Team mates James Peters and Fynn
Sterritt, the world number two-ranked 49er pair, notched up a race win along
with a 6, 7 but had to settle for 23rd in the third race when a
trapeze wire snapped.
Windsurfer Tom Squires showed his
potential in the men’s RS:X class, finishing inside the top ten in all three
races despite picking up a penalty in race four, and rounding off the day
with a win.
“It was the first proper breezy day racing
since the European Championships in May – we’ve had a real bout of light
winds of late and it was refreshing to stretch the legs and push some power
down,” said Squires, who goes into day four in sixth overall. “
last race was a relief more than anything. Making mistakes like in race one
isn't acceptable at this level. You really get punished for those mistakes,
every point counts.”
In the women’s RS:X Saskia Sills
clocked three top ten finishes, while Emma Wilson finished fifth in the opening
race. Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre won their first race of the regatta with
a lead of over a minute to move up to eighth overall in the women’s 470.
The battle for glory in the foiling
Nacra 17 class got even more intense with all four British crews now inside
the top ten overall. John Gimson and Anna Burnet remain in
third while Chris Rashley and Laura Marimon move into sixth thanks to four
top ten finishes including a race win.
“We stopped trying to sail as if we
were in Miami and just approached racing like it were any other event,”
Rashley explained. “We treated it as a fresh day and came with fresh ideas,
and it worked. There are three more fleet races left, so we plan to
capitalise on where we are.”
In the Laser fleet Nick Thompson lies
in third overall, while in the Laser Radial Alison Young got two race wins
under her belt to move up to fifth.
The top ten in
each fleet will qualify for the medal races, held on Saturday 27 January for
the 49er, 49er FX, RS:X and Nacra 17 classes,
and on Sunday 28 January for the Laser, Laser Radial, Finn and 470 classes.
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