Preview of Race Day 4 in Rio
Published on August 11th, 2016
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (August 11, 2016) – The RS:X Windsurfers return to competition after a rest day, and according to the forecast it should be a different style of racing from the light and shifty stuff of the early days of their competition.
There is 14 to 17 knots forecast from the south-west, gusting up to 20 at times, although the wind didn’t seem to reach the inner courses as much as expected on Day 3. The rain of Day 3 has also gone away, so the backdrop of Rio should be back to its photographic best. Competition starts at 1300 hours.
At the halfway stage of their competition, the gold and silver medalists from London 2012 are locked in a close battle for supremacy in Rio, except that it’s Nick Dempsey (GBR) who holds a one point advantage over the reigning Olympic Champion Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED).
There are plenty of others still in contention including third placed reigning World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL), Byron Kokkalanis (GRE), and Pierre Le Coq (FRA). With the breeze forecast to be stronger and waves expected on the Escola Naval race course, perhaps this will be a chance for others to shine.
The Escola Naval race course should deliver the windiest and waviest conditions yet seen by the Women’s Windsurfer fleet, which will come as a welcome relief to those who struggled in the lighter flukier conditions from early in the competition. Charline Picon (FRA) dominated day one, Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) ruled day two, and these two sailors have pulled a bit of a gap on the rest of the pack.
It’s only the halfway point though; so third placed Stefania Elfutina (RUS) and a number of others still have a good opportunity to attack. Sixth-placed Marina Alabau (ESP) has kept all her scores inside the top ten but has yet to win a race, something she’ll have to start doing if she’s to put pressure on the series leaders.
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
The debut of the Mixed Multihull was a baptism of fire, or rather rain and incredibly fluky conditions for the 20 crews who must have developed a love-hate relationship with the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) race course during their first two races. They should have raced three heats on day one, so now they’re playing catch-up with an energy-sapping four races scheduled on the Ponte course.
Most will be hoping for a steadier and more predictable ride on the Ponte further into Guanabara Bay, although it’s still likely to be pretty shifty. The Swiss and the British are tied at the top of the leaderboard with Matias Buhler/ Nathalie Brugger (SUI) and Ben Saxton/ Nicola Groves (GBR) looking to capitalise on their early lead.
The oldest competitor in the sailing competition at Rio 2016 is Santiago Lange (ARG), and the 57-year-old double Olympic medallist made the most of his experience to be sitting in third place with his co-pilot Cecilia Carranza Saroli. Some of the favourites had a torrid time on day one, including four-time World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA).
Carrying a painful back injury, Besson is struggling to walk, let alone leap around the trampoline of a 17ft catamaran, and the French are lying in 15th overall. Even worse though for the Spanish crew of Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco who are in 18th overall, not a great start for Echavarri whose last appearance at the Games was in Beijing 2008 when he won the gold medal.
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
The defending Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) were sitting pretty at the end of their first day when they came ashore with a 6,1, bettered only by Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) with 1,4. However the Kiwis were protested by the Austrians for a port-starboard crossing incident in the first race, and the Jury found against Aleh and Powrie, their subsequent disqualification knocking them down to tenth overall.
The misfortune of the Kiwis has elevated Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) to second overall ahead of Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) in third. The conditions on the Niterói course should be more steady, with the challenge today being to keep the boat fast and upright in the strong winds and big waves expected further out to sea.
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have been on fire all year, and they were on fire for the first day of 470 men’s competition when they scored a first and second in conditions that seemed completely random and unpredictable at times. The Croatians are the 2009 and 2016 470 World Champions, but the Australians have won all six world titles in the intervening years.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) found themselves struggling at times on day one, yet managed to grind their way back through the fleet and ended up second overall with scores of 8,1. Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (NZL) lie in third overall. Others looking to make amends for a difficult first day include the London 2012 silver medalist Luke Patience (GBR) who with Olympic first-timer Chris Grube will probably enjoy the windier and wavier conditions expected out on the Niterói course for day two of their competition.
Heavyweight Men’s One Person Dinghy – Finn
It was a big day out for the Finns on day 3 and the big men in the Heavyweight Men’s One Person Dinghy can expect similar conditions out on the Copacabana course for races five and six of their competition. Giles Scott (GBR) will be hard to beat, judging by his devastating 2,1 performance in the big waves of the previous day. Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) also looked comfortable in the tough stuff and could move into the top three if the Greek can repeat that level of performance today.
Currently ahead of Mitakis is second-placed double Olympic medallist Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) and the less experienced Alican Kaynar (TUR) who is sailing an excellent regatta. Lying in fifth and sixth places overall are respectively the bronze and silver medalists from London 2012, Jonathan Lobert’s (FRA) and Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN). The Dane missed out on a decent score in race four after his sail shredded, so he’s looking for better luck in conditions that usually play to his strengths.
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Source: World Sailing