It was a tense fourth day of Skandia Sail for Gold, the sixth ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta, as the Standings leaders firmly positioned themselves at the top of the 13 Olympic and Paralympic class leader boards.
The bigger fleets were split into gold and silver fleets for the penultimate two days of racing, before the decisive medal races on Saturday.
In the 470 Men the overnight leaders, Mathew Belcher
and Malcolm Page
(AUS) and the third-placed French team of Pierre Leboucher
and Vincent Garos
swopped places, moving around the static, second placed Anton Dahlberg and Sebastian Ostling (SWE). Leboucher and Garos now hold a four point lead from Dahlberg and Ostling, with the Australians another five points adrift.
The Kiwi women, Jo Aleh
and Olivia Powrie
owned the Women's 470 course today with a superb couple of victories that took them past the British pairing of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark and into the lead. The Brits had their worst day so far with a 16th and an eighth, but held onto second ahead of the Israelis Gil Cohen
and Vered Buskila
The Gold 49er fleet managed to get in four races and it was the Australian World Champions, Nathan Outteridge
and Iain Jensen
who turned on the style with two firsts, a fourth and a sixth to take the overall lead. The overnight leaders, Italy's Pietro Sibello
and Gianfranco Sibello
brothers could post nothing better than an eighth and slipped back to fourth. Skandia Team GBR's John Pink
and Richard Peacock
held onto second, with France's Stephane Christidis and Peter Hansen moving up from fifth to third.
In the Laser Men the Gold fleet did two races and Britain's overnight leader Nick Thompson
had a day he will want to forget with a 32nd and 34th to drop all the way back to ninth. It was left to Australia's World Champion Tom Slingsby
to move up to the lead after posting a super consistent 1, 3. Kiwi Andrew Murdoch also had a good day with a first and a fourth and is now just six points behind the leader. Dutchman Rutger van Schaardenburg
is in third, another nine points behind.
In the Laser Radials, Ireland's Annalise Murphy
slipped back from her overnight lead to third, after a 13th in the first race, but she wasn't raising the white flag and came back with a win in the second and final race of the day. It was Evi Van Acker
who posted the best performance of the leading group to go to the top of the table. ISAF Sailing World Cup leader, the Netherland's Marit Bouwmeester
remains in second, but now only a point off the lead.
It was all change again on the RS:X Mens race course, New Zealand's Jon-Paul Tobin
and Dutchman Dorian Van rijsselberge
both moved back above overnight leader Nick Dempsey
(GBR), who slipped back into third. The leading group have a ten point cushion to fourth placed Przemek Miarczynski (POL).
In the RS:X Women, it was Spain's Marina Alabau
who mastered the tricky conditions, posting a third and a first to slide past Lee Korzits of Israel and into the lead. Alabau now has a four point lead going into the final day ahead of the medal race split. Zofia Noceti-Klepacka
remained in third nine points behind Korzits.
The Women's Match Racing had a lot of catching up to do after the strong wind and waves curtailed yesterday's racing. It meant an early start and a late finish. The Gold Group was completed along with the Repecharge Round Robin, and so we know tomorrow's quarter final pairs. The Gold Group winners, Sally Barkow
(USA) will race against Silja Lehtinen
Next up, it will be the second placed team in the Gold Group, Australia's Nicky Souter
will sail against Claire Leroy
(FRA). Anna Tunnicliffe
(USA) were third in the Gold Group and will sail against France's Anne-Claire Le berre
. And that leaves Lucy Macgregor
(GBR) against the Netherlands' Mandy Mulder
The Finn class saw Britain's triple Olympic gold medallist, Ben Ainslie
increase his lead over compatriot Giles Scott to 13 points - despite recording what for Ainslie was an average day's scores of 1, 6, 4. Scott could only manage a 2, 4 and 9 but that was enough to move him from a tie with third placed Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic
to a single point lead.
In the Stars, Brazil's multiple Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt
and Bruno Prada
saw their five point lead over Sweden's Fredrik Loof
and Max Salminen
cut to a single point. Loof and Salminen posted scores of 4, 1 and 2, and Scheidt had to pull out all the stops to win the last race from the charging Swedes and hold onto his overall lead. Poland's Mateusz Kusznierewicz
and Dominik Zycki
remained steady in third, but 15 points off the lead.
The 2.4mR's raced first on the Paralympic courses, and the leading pair overnight both had an average day. But it was Damien Seguin (FRA) who got the better of his Dutch rival, Thierry Schmitter to snatch the overall lead, while Paul Tingley had a solid day (3, 4) to move up into third and onto the podium ahead of their final day tomorrow.
The SKUDs and Sonars took their turn on the Paralympic course in the afternoon, and the former in particular had some serious sailing to do to catch up with their schedule. So it was well into the evening by the time the SKUDs completed their third race. It was Australia's Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch that showed everyone the way home with three straight bullets. They extended their overall lead to four points ahead of Britain's Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell. Jamie Dunross and Rachael Cox (AUS) remain in third, a further five points behind.
The Sonars also raced three today, and were also out there late - Britain's John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas didn't have a particularly good day with a 5, 8, and 1, but they did enough to hold off the Dutch and French, tied in second. Udo Hessels Marcel van Veen and Mischa Rossen are now four points adrift, tied with the French team of Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont Vicary - all to play for on the final day of racing tomorrow on the Paralympic course.
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