Contrasting conditions challenge Miami sailors


Tuesday’s second day of the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta saw a marked change of conditions, and mixed fortunes for the British sailors in the hunt for medals.


The steady 12-15 knot breezes which greeted competitors on Monday’s first day of racing were replaced with shifty and light conditions on Tuesday (23 January), with winds hovering around the 6 knot mark following a postponement to the start of racing until the early afternoon.


British sailors currently occupy nine top three spots across the 14 Olympic and Paralympic classes competing at Biscayne Bay, with four days of racing still to go.


Windsurfer Bryony Shaw, Athens 470 silver medallists Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield, and 2.4mR Paralympic sailor Megan Pascoe currently top their respective results tables, while British Sonar crew Dan Parsons, Tom Pygall and Guy Draper – tuning partners to Skandia Team GBR’s Paralympic campaigners John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas – lead their teammates by one point at the top of the Sonar leaderboard.


Pascoe and her 2.4mR compatriot and world silver medallist Helena Lucas occupy the top two positions in the 2.4mR results table, with Lucas describing Tuesday as “tricky – a real head out of the boat day”.


Bryony Shaw took at step toward the defence of the  RS:X women’s crown from the 2006 event thanks to a fourth from the windsurfing fleet’s only race of the day, while an 11th in the sole 470 men’s race was enough for Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield to hold on to the top spot, ahead of Spaniards Gustavo Martinez and Dimas Wood.


After a strong start in the breeze on Monday, Skandia Team GBR’s 49er European Champions Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes got to grips with the lighter conditions today, posting a first from the only race once the eager fleet had finally been released from the shore. 


“We’re really happy with today’s race,” said the 28-year-old Morrison afterwards.  “It was a bit on the light side after yesterday’s champagne racing, but we’re pleased with how we adjusted out techniques to cope with the change in conditions.


“But my legs didn’t enjoy all the crouching, that’s for sure!”


Morrison and Rhodes are now in second place overall, just one point behind the series leaders Tim Wadlow and Christopher Rast and with Italy’s Sibello brothers and Spanish Olympic Champions Iker Martinez and Xavier Fernandez right behind them.


The world number two Yngling trio of Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson are currently in third, following a 6,5 from their two races of the day, while windsurfer Nick Dempsey is in fourth place, on equal points with the third ranked Przeymslaw Miarczynski of Poland, after crossing 13th in the men’s RS:X fleet’s only race of the day.  SKUD-18 Paralympic sailors Allan Smith and Jackie Gay are poised in third place – they were adjudged to have had a premature start to their first of three races, before going on to post a 7,4.


Development squad sailor Ed Greig, in 13th place, is still the top Brit in the Finn class, although European Champion Ed Wright had a better second day with results of 8,3 moving him inside the top 20 after suffering gear failure yesterday.


Paul Goodison struggled with the shifts in the Laser fleet, while Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson got off to a strong start in the Star class and showed good speed upwind before being caught by a wind shift and left with no opportunity to pass back – they finished ninth.


Lizzie Vickers in the Laser Radial and 470 women Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark sit in seventh position in their respective classes, while the Tornado leaderboard remains unchanged from Monday as the catamaran sailors saw no racing today due to the light winds.  Leigh McMillan and Will Howden are the top British crew, in fifth place after two races.


Racing at the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta runs through until Saturday 27 January.


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