With two days of racing completed at the Rolex Miami OCR the strongest players are rising to the top. In the morning flags ashore stood straight from their staffs as sailors enjoyed up to 18 knots of breezes on Biscayne Bay, where seven race courses are accommodating 716 sailors in 13 classes.
Paralympic sailors continue with two fleet races a day through Friday, and Olympic sailors pare down to top ten for Medal Races on Saturday with women's match racing in the Elliot 6m featuring Finals and Petit Finals on Saturday.
Paralympic sailor Liesl Tesch (AUS) is a newcomer to the SKUD 18 class and she is leading with her skipper Dan Fitzgibbon
(AUS) after four races. A three-time Paralympic Medallist in wheelchair basketball, Tesch only began racing with Fitzgibbon three weeks ago.
Fitzgibbon became a quadriplegic 13 years ago and uses special systems on the boat to compensate for his limited ability to pull with his arms. "He is a legend,"
said Tesch about Fitzgibbon, "I'm catching on, but he's the brain, I'm the arms."
Tesch has full upper-body strength, but the 21-year-old suffered serious damage to her legs when she broke her back in a mountain bike accident aged 19.
In the 2.4m Class, top world ranked Damien Seguin
(FRA) posted two first place finishes, rising from third to first in the overall standings to displace Thierry Schmitter
(NED), the 2010 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Champion and ranked fifth in the world, from top spot.
In the Sonar the British crew of John Robertson
, Hannah Stodel
and Steve Thomas
lead the Danish trio of Udo Hessels
, Mischa Rossen
and Marcel Van de veen
by seven points. And Stodel has a "bone to pick"
with the Dutch team. Stodel said, "They beat us in the World Championship last year by one point, so we certainly want to beat them here."
It was a British sweep in the Finn class, with two victories for Giles Scott
he added to his two from yesterday to give him a 10-point lead over his national teammate Ben Ainslie
. After winning Skandia Sail for Gold at the Olympic Games venue in Weymouth last year and picking up a bronze at the 2010 World Championship, Scott is one of the main challengers trying to stop Ainslie from sailing at a fifth consecutive Olympic Games. Only one point behind Ainslie in third is US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member Zach Railey
After two races in the Star class, Robert Scheidt
and Bruno Prada
(BRA) hold their lead from yesterday, with Fredrik Loof
and Max Salminen
(SWE) five points behind. Scheidt is a five-time Olympic medallist while Loof is an Olympic medallist and a two-time world champion.
"There is still a long way to go, but we are happy,"
said Scheidt. "The event has grown a lot since I was last here in 2006. The only top players we are missing here are Iain Percy (GBR) and Mateus Kusznierewicz (POL). We are ranked #1 but Kusznierewicz is the current world champion, so he is the man."
Evi Van acker
(BEL) had another great day in Laser Radials. The leader going into day two, she won both races. "I was very fast on the downwind legs, which gave me a comfortable lead to go into the second beat,"
said Van Acker. "From there on I controlled the fleet and won both races with a pretty big lead. So a great day for me, I really had fun."
In the other events in Miami:
Laser: Top-of-the-charts newcomer Clay Johnson
(USA), finished 3-3 to secure his spot at the top of the overall leader board.
49er: Yesterday's leaders Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith (GBR) fell to third today after John Pink and Richard Peacock (GBR) won both races to top the scoreboard.
Men's RS:X: Yesterday's leader Nick Dempsey (GBR), with two fourths today, was usurped by Dorian Van rijsselberge (NED), with two firsts.
Women's RS:X: Marina Alabau (ESP) won another two races for a perfect score line. She is the 2009 RS:X World and European Champion and also the defending champion here.
Men's 470: Nic Asher and Elliot Willis (GBR) maintain their lead while Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS), the 2010 Delta Lloyd 470 World Champions moved up to third.
Women's 470: Ingrid Petitjean and Nadège Douroux (FRA) also still lead on the strength of a 3-4 today.
Elliott 6m (women's match racing):
Groups B and C completed a full round robin today, with Group A still having a match each to sail tomorrow before the top two in each group move on to tomorrow's scheduled gold fleet racing. (The next two teams in each group will commence racing in the "repechage.")
This means that in Group B Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva and Mikaela Wulff (FIN) and Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou (FRA), each with win-loss scores of 5-2, move on to gold fleet.
As well, from Group C, Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor (GBR) and Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer and Deborah Capozzi (USA), each with a 6-1, will race in gold fleet tomorrow.
To watch video highlights of the second 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