A brisk northwesterly breeze on day five of the Rolex Miami OCR helped organizers make up for the races that were lost on day four at Biscayne Bay.
The conditions, though chilly by Florida standards, played out perfectly for medals to be determined in the three Paralympic classes. While the ten other Olympic events fought their battles for the right to compete in today's Medal Races, which comprise of the top ten in each class and Finals and Petit Finals for Elliot 6m (women's match racing.)
For France's Damien Seguin
, a two time 2.4mR IFDS World Champion who is currently ranked #1 in the world was looking good to comfortably win gold in the 2.4mR class when he lead over his 30-boat fleet from day two. Clinching the title, however, was not as straightforward as the scores reflect.
Following seven boat lengths behind leader John Ruf
(USA) at the finish in the first race of the day, Seguin was determined the actual winner when Ruf was disqualified for starting the race prematurely and neglecting to exonerate himself.
"After that, for my next two races, my score was such that I needed only to loosely cover Thierry Schmitter (NED),"
said Seguin, further explaining that only if he finished worse than sixth he would foil his own plot. Schmitter, another IFDS World Champion, took the silver medal, finishing fourth in the first race and winning the next two, each time with Seguin behind in second.
"There were many different winds here,"
said Seguin. "We started in strong wind, then there was light wind and today medium-strong. I am very happy for that and for the competition."
Taking bronze was Canada's Allan Leibel
, who is able-bodied and allowed to compete here, since the class is declared open for this event.
, Hannah Stodel
and Steve Thomas
(GBR) took the gold in the Sonar class but only after an intriguing twist. With two races in the day completed, Udo Hessels
, Mischa Rossen
and Marcel Van de veen
(DEN) were in the lead, and surprisingly, they did not sail the third and final race.
"There were two points between us and the Dutch, so no one will ever know how it would have played out on the water,"
said Robertson, explaining that he understands Hessel's middle crew Rossen, a single-arm amputee, had been having problems with his opposite shoulder and the team had decided beforehand to race no more that two races in the day.
Robertson's team, which took the silver in Miami last year, posted a final score of 30 to the 36 points posted by silver medallists Bruno Jourden
, Eric Flageul
and Nicolas Vimont Vicary
(FRA). The Dutch team took the bronze.
The Australian Paralympic Skud 18 team of Dan Fitzgibbon
and Liesl Tesch has led their fleet since day one and boasted six victories in their nine-race score line to take the gold medal. They finished 1-1-2 on Friday.
"We didn't really walk away with it but we were comfortably ahead,"
said Fitzgibbon, who won a paralympic silver medal with a different crew in Qingdao, China.
The pair came together after Tesch gave up Paralmypic basketball, for which she is a two time medallist, and have only been together on the Skud 18 for a few weeks. "We didn't expect to have done so well with such a new combination. It's a new challenge for her and a breath of fresh air for everybody,"
Taking silver was US Sailing Team AlphaGraphic's Scott Whitman
and Julia Dorsett
(USA) with Alexandra Rickham
and Niki Birrell
(GBR) taking the bronze.
Medal Races Tomorrow
Top-ten finishers from Friday in each of nine events will get only one chance in a 30-40 minute race to make or break their claim to a podium position. Emulating the Olympic format, the medal race counts double points and cannot be counted as the one allowed discard race when it is added to a sailor's score line from the rest of the series.
In women's match racing, US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics members Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer and Deborah Capozzi (USA) will meet Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and marie Riou (FRA) in a first-to-three points Finals match today to determine gold and silver medalists.Lucy Macgregor, Mary Rook and Kate Macgregor (GBR) and Sally Barkow, Alana O'reilly, Elizabeth Kratzig (USA) will be fighting for bronze in the Petit Finals.
Match racing starts on its own course at 09:30 local time, with fleet racing starting at 11:00 local time on two additional courses. Fleet races are planned to be approximately 30 minutes in length and start 40 minutes apart. No racing will start after 13:40 local time.
To watch video highlights of the fourth day in Miami visit our Youtube channel.
And keep up-to-date on all the ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas here www.sailing.org/worldcup