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Skandia Sail for Gold 2011 - And So It Begins

This year's Skandia Sail for Gold regatta is almost as big as the Olympics, according to triple gold medal legend Ben Ainslie. The reason is that many national teams are using the event as a crucial component of their selection process.

So anticipation was high this morning when the sailors arrived at the Olympic centre, but the wind had other ideas, toying with the race officials as they tried to set fair race course in the light and shifty conditions. The Match Racing got started on time, others were not so lucky with the Laser Radial’s waiting ashore until 17:00 before being sent afloat.

But while the Women’s Match Racing might have got started on time, it was still going when almost everything else was done. The usual names found their way to the top of the round robin, with stand-out unbeaten performances from Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou (FRA); Anne-claire Le Berre, Alice Ponsar and Myrtille Ponge (FRA); and Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva and Mikaela Wulff (FIN) all on 3-0, and Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor (GBR); and Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vendemoer and Debbie Capozzi (USA) on the slightly more impressive 4-0.

The RS:X fleet got going at a reasonable hour, and managed a couple of races for both the men and the women. Blanca Manchon from Spain showed the class that made her the 2010 World Champion with two bullets to lead overall from France’s Charline Picon, hot on her heels with a first and second. In the RS:X Men it was Poland’s Piotr Myszka that matched Manchon’s results with two wins, but with a slightly bigger advantage, this time to his countryman Lukasz Grodzicki, who is in second overnight with a first and third. Britain’s Nick Dempsey won the second race to pull himself into third overall.

All three Paralympic classes were sailing early in the harbour – the wind was a lot stronger near the shore in the morning - and completed two races in all the fleets. In the Sonar it was Australia’s Colin Harrison and Russell Boaden tied with the US’s Rick Doerr and Brad Kendell, both teams with a first and a second. In the SKUDs it was Beijing silver medallists Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch leading from their Aussie compatriots Jamie Dunross and Rachael Cox – the former benefitting from a three point margin. In the 2.4mR’s it is Damien Seguin of France leading from the Netherland’s Thierry Schmitter and his countryman, Andre Rademaker.

The 49ers were also the beneficiaries of a race course close to Weymouth beach, and got a couple of races in for both flights. There was another outstanding performance in this fleet, this time from Italy’s Sibello brothers posting two seconds and a first to lead overall from the Austrian pair of Nico Luca Marc Delle Karth and Nikolaus Leopold Resch.

The 470s started mid-afternoon with some of the fleet’s most recognisable names struggling in the conditions. It was the Croatian pair of Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic that topped the day with a second and a third, closely followed by Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos of France. Portugal’s Alvaro Marinho has been combining his match racing on the World Tour with the 470, and posted a third and a fourth with crew Miguel Nunes and hold third overnight. Aussie World Champions Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page were back in 15th. The 470 Women saw stronger performances from the superstars with 2010 Dutch World Champions Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout leading overall from Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos of Spain.

The Star and Finn classes were not released until 15:00 hrs and had the longest sail out to their course. They finally got underway at 17:30 after the wind had settled, and managed a single race. No one was particularly surprised to see Britain’s triple gold medallist Ben Ainslie lead for the first lap, but then New Zealand’s Dan Slater slipped through on the final round when Ainslie sailed to the wrong gate, and took the win. In the Stars it was all about Brazil’s Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, winners of their one race from Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki, with Canada’s Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn in third.

The huge Laser fleet was out late, a combination of split flights - and the multiple starts required to get some of them away cleanly - making for a long day. In the end it was Germany’s Franziska Goltz that took the gun in the single Radial race, beating China’s Lijia Xu and Sari Multala. In the Men’s fleet, Netherland’s Rutger van Schaardenburg won their single race from Britain’s Nick Thompson and New Zealand’s Andy Maloney.
Provisional Results
Monday 6th June
49er   Sailed: 3
1st ITA 3   SIBELLO Pietro / SIBELLO Gianfranco  5pts
2nd AUT 84 DELLE KARTH / RESCH    9pts
3rd FRA 1162 D’ORTOLI Julien / DELPECH Noe   13pts

470 WOMEN  Sailed: 2
1st  NED 11  WESTERHOF Lisa / BERKHOUT Lobke  6pts
2nd  ESP 696  PACHECO Tara / BETANZOS Berta  7pts
3rd  USA 1757  MAXWELL Erin / FARRAR Isabelle  17pts

470 MEN  Sailed: 2
1st  CRO 83  FANTELA Sime / MARENIC Igor    5pts
2nd  FRA 44    PIERRE Leboucher / VINCENT Garos  7pts
3rd  POR 81  MARINHO Alvaro / NUNES Miguel  7pts

FINN   Sailed: 1
1st  NZL 1   SLATER Dan      1pt
2nd  GBR 3   AINSLIE Ben      2pts
3rd  CRO 524  KLJAKOVIC GASPIC Ivan    3pts

LASER  Sailed: 1
1st  NED 192625  VAN SCHAARDENBURG Rutger   1pt
2nd GBR 198211 THOMPSON Nick      2pts
3rd  NZL 198109  MALONEY Andy     3pts

1st  GER 198982  GOLTZ Franziska     1pt
2nd  CHN 177117  XU Lijia      2pts
3rd  FIN 199059  MULTALA Sari     3pts

STAR   Sailed: 1
1st  BRA 8255  SCHEIDT Robert / PRADA Bruno     1pt
2nd  POL 8417  KUSZNIEREWICZ Mateusz /  ZYCKI Dominik  2pts
3rd  CAN 8361 CLARKE Rochard /  BJORN Tyler    3pts

SKUD 18  Sailed: 2
1st  AUS 47  FITZGIBBON Daniel / TESCH Liesl   3pts
2nd  AUS 52  DUNROSS Jamie /  COX Rachael    6pts
3rd  GBR 45  RICKMAN Alexandra / BIRRELL Niki    6pts

SONAR  Sailed: 2
1st  AUS 788  HARRISON Colin / BOADEN Russell   3pts
2nd  USA 674 DOERR Rick / KENDELL Brad    3pts
3rd  NOR 1   WANG-HANSEN Aleksander / KRISTIANSEN Per Eugen 8pts

2.4   Sailed: 2
1st FRA 13 SEGUIN Damien       5pts
2nd  NED 12  SCHMITTER Thierry     8pts
3rd NED 11  RADEMAKER Andre     9pts

RS:X MEN  Sailed: 2
1st  POL 82 MYSZKA Piotr Myszka     2pts
2nd POL 738 GRODZICKI Lukasz      4pts
3rd GBR 1  DEMPSEY Nick      5pts

RS:X WOMEN Sailed: 2
1st  ESP 1  MANCHON Blanca      2pts
2nd FRA 4  CHARLINE Picon      3pts
3rd  ESP 5  ALBAU Marina      4pts
Quotes of the Day
Dan Slater (NZL) - Finn
The race went well today and that was all down to getting a good start. I started at the pin end which was significantly biased, and allowed the first three place getters in the race to effectively ‘port tack’ the fleet. Then I managed pull alongside the leader (Ben Ainslie) on the downwind which forced us to different gates. The gate I rounded appeared to be favoured which gave me margin for the last upwind, and I retained that to the finish.

Ben Ainslie (GBR) - Finn
There were a few issues on the start and I made quite a bit of an error going into the wrong gate which gave Dan (Dan Slater, Race 1 winner) a big break. I did manage to catch up quite a bit but Dan ended up winning by about four boat lengths so it was a bit frustrating doing that after making a solid result. In the end the conditions were ok and it was good to finally get out racing after a morning of postponements. I’m pleased to get a decent result in the first race and I look forward to the breeze filling for the rest of the week

Rick Doerr (USA) – Skud
I have competed in Skandia Sail for Gold for the last three years now and have had some pretty mixed results in Weymouth. We have only been here for three days which is a late start for us, but we have had some great practice with our head coach who had a really thorough plan and it seems like she was right on it.
I think we are feeling good about everything today, our rig set up, the way we are sailing, and our boat handling was fantastic.  We are a pretty new team and have only been sailing together for a year and a half and we are competing against teams who have been together for ten years so we are feeling great that everything came together for us on the water today. It can take a while to get the crew mechanics down and we have worked really hard training against the rest of the US Sailing team which has really improved our boat communication.

Robert Schedit (BRA) – Star
There was a lot of current on the start line so we were very careful not to be over the line. We didn’t get a great start but that actually put us in a position where we could play the fleet a little. First we were playing in the middle but we managed to round the first mark in the lead followed by the Polish team. That was key to winning the race – it meant we had clean wind when we were sailing downwind so we could extend our lead quite significantly. By the time we were on the third beat we had extended enough that we made it difficult for the rest of the fleet to make up that water.

Iain Percy (GBR) – Star
We just never got into it today and we made a schoolboy error when we overstood the windward mark by half a mile and ended up reaching in against the tide. It was a very short course and we’re not used to that, but we were aware of it so we should have thought, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. When you make an error on a short course it becomes hard because then you are playing catch up which is really hard. We never gave up trying and I think over a series that pays off. They breaks just didn’t fall our way today.

Paul Brotherton (GBR) – 49er
The conditions weren’t ideal today but that’s sailing and we rolled with it. We didn’t get many breaks in the first race but the second was better and that is going to be reflected in the results. But the important thing is that we went out there and enjoyed ourselves and didn’t burn each other out in the first day.
What happens on the first day rarely reflects on what happens at the end of the week but we enjoyed ourselves out there. We are going to get a good range of conditions this week and the best people are going to end up winning, there is no doubt about that. The ups and the downs will even themselves out over the week and our job is to make the best of every single opportunity that presents itself.
I love coming to the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta and it is great to be a part of this team and it is an honour to be wearing the GBR jersey and a privilege to be a part of it all. I missed last year through injury after tearing my medial meniscus cartilage last year in July so it is great to be back - I am certainly the oldest in our fleet by some margin so you just have to enjoy it and go out there with a smile on your face because you never know when it will be your last.

Rutger Van Schaardenburg (NED) - Laser
The conditions are really challenging, in this weather everyone can sail fast and everyone knows what side of the course to choose and what position they need to be in on the start line, so it is all about having a good start. I have put a lot of effort into practicing my starts and it paid off today so I am happy with that.
We were on a different course that we haven’t sailed on before and there seemed to be less waves and less tricky winds so it is different game, but the race we did was really good– we had good conditions and nice wind. It was a shame we only got one race in today as the wind has really picked up tonight but we should have some good conditions tomorrow so I am looking forward to that.



6/6/2011 22:14


Photo © OnEdition

6-11 June 2011, Weymouth, UK

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