Day four review: British sailors fight back
RS:X windsurfer Nick Dempsey put in an impressive display to see him move up the leaderboard to fifth place, with 3,2 from his two races on Tuesday. The Athens bronze medallist was buoyant after a tough first day, in which he posted opening scores of 11,9.
“I’m pleased to be where I am. Yesterday was OK – it was quite solid – but to be in the medals at the end of the week, today had to be a good day, so I’m pretty happy.
“Out on course B, because it’s a little bit further away, the wind’s a bit more stable and it meant everything was a bit more simplified and there was perhaps more margin for error.
“I think the difference is just going to be who keeps it together mentally for the rest of the week. Some people are already finished, but it’s just about keeping it steady over the coming days.”
Bryony Shaw endured a tough day to stay in the hunt in the women’s RS:X fleet – she’s currently in fifth place, posting 11,6 from her two races, with Chinese windsurfer Jian Yin still topping the table having amassed a nine point lead after four races.
Things might not have gone completely to plan for the British 470 crews in Qingdao on their opening day, but they certainly hit back in style on Tuesday (12 August).
The Team GB women’s pairing of Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark were left in 15th place at the end of their first day of racing on Monday, after an unexpected protest from the Slovenian crew saw them disqualified from their opening race of the regatta.
Vesna Dekleva and Klara Maucec claimed that Bassadone and Clark had failed to give them adequate room at the final turning mark of the first race, with the jury finding in their favour. Picking up 20 points for the race disqualification left the British duo determined to bounce back in races three and four on Tuesday – and they did not disappoint.
They finished their two races in third and fourth, seeing them move back up the leaderboard to eighth place overall.
“I was pretty surprised that the Slovenian girl went for the protest, because it could have swung either way,” Bassadone explained.
“It certainly gave us some fire in the belly and we came out firing on all four cylinders this morning!”
After one more race they will be able to discard their first race disqualification, so the pair hope to keep things on an even keel in the days to come.
“I think we were both mad for it really,” Clark said of the day. “Yesterday we were both pretty frustrated and the protest frustrated us even more, and we were ready to prove a point today to everyone.
“We’re pleased with today – wish we could have had the same yesterday – but it’s something to build on, and takes us forward into the week. There’s more to come!”
Athens silver medallists Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield also put in a determined performance today in the 470 men’s fleet. They too had a bad opening race to their regatta, finishing 19th, but firmly put that behind them with a 1,4 in Tuesday’s two races for the men’s double-handed class.
Rogers and Glanfield are now in fifth place overall, with the discard set to kick after the next race.
“We did sail well today, we made some good decisions,” said Glanfield. “None of it was particularly easy – especially the second race. That was a hard-fought fourth – it could have easily been a 20th.
“I think we rounded the top mark in about 15th and caught quite a few down the first run and then a few more on the next beat and a couple more on the last run, so we moved forward through the fleet the whole race.
“Our main opposition did well as well, but we can’t control that,” Glanfield continued. “We’ve just got to keep doing well ourselves.”
The Laser and Laser Radial classes saw their first day of Olympic action on Tuesday, with four-time European Champion Paul Goodison, and Olympic debutant Penny Clark both within the top eight after their first two races.
Clark saw a superb start to her Olympic regatta, finishing second in the first race of the day for the women’s single-handed Laser Radial fleet. The second race proved tougher in the light winds, with the 33-year-old finding the wrong side of the course to where the main pressure was. She finished 20th to see her into eighth place overall.
“It is really difficult when you are down in the pack because it is so, so difficult to go anywhere. I proved that in the second race today but hopefully I’ll learn from it and move on and get some better results.
“The first race was fantastic – I proved to myself I can do. We know it is going to be a pretty high scoring regatta and so no one is going to run away with it. You just have to bounce back and it is who can bounce back best who will win in the end.”
For Goodison, on the other hand, the day got better as it went along. With a 15th place in the first race, he rallied to a second in the second race to finish the day in sixth overall.
“Unfortunately I was never quite in the right position on the first leg and never settled into it after that,” said the 30-year-old of his opening race. “It was then just a case of trying to minimise the damage after that.
“The second race was a bit better the breeze was a lot more solid, a bit fairer race and I started reasonably well. It was a bit tricky half way up and I clawed my way back into it and got second.
“Today was really just about getting into it,” Goodison continued. “It has been a long time waiting and I would like to have started better than I have, but the conditions were tricky out there, and I have fought back and did not pick up any flags or letters.
Asked about his main opposition, Goodison replied: “It is tricky to try and think about the other guys out there and you can’t really try and influence them. I am surprised Tom [Slingsby] was not a little better, but then that is no bad thing.”
You can follow the racing online at www.rya.org.uk/beijing2008, where you will get updates from the dinghy park and the results as they come in, as well as the news from the Team GB camp. You can also leave messages of support for the team and your comments on the racing and Team GB’s prospects.