Team GB’s sailors enjoyed the best day in Rio so far as Giles Scott sailed into pole position in the Finn, Nick Thompson moved into the silver medal spot in the Laser and the Nacra 17s got their Games off to a flyer yesterday.
Four-time World Champion Scott threw down the gauntlet to his Finn rivals yesterday as a dominant day two display, in which he picked up a second and first, propelled him to the top of the leaderboard.
In the big breeze and waves on the outside ocean courses for the first time in the regatta, Scott banished all memories of his event opening 17th day on Tuesday and he was not about to waste the chance to begin his regatta in earnest.
He said: ‘It was quite nice to get some windy conditions just to dig your heels in and grunt up. Rio was quite kind to us on the outside courses. But there is still an awfully long way to go and the racing in Rio is particularly tough, it is going to throw all sorts at us so we really just have to be mindful of that and prepare as much as possible.’
Britain also sat in silver medal positions in two further classes at the end of racing today as Nick Thompson took full advantage of the ocean breeze to get a second and first place to move up from 12th overnight to second, as the series discard kicked in after three races.
Thompson said: ‘The biggest thing for me was just trying to knock in two decent results. I have been there and thereabouts in every race but today I have managed to show what I can do.
‘It was nice to get out there, get some decent breeze and some good waves and Rio really delivered today, it was fantastic conditions. I think if I can keep plugging away we will be in good shape.’
Meanwhile Britain’s history-making Nacra 17 pair Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves declared themselves happy after ending day their first ever day at an Olympic Games also sitting in silver medal position.
Opening event scores of third and fifth place finishes showed their medal potential in the fleet and the pair admitted they were delighted to be underway.
Saxton said: ‘We are happy with how we sailed. I was just excited to actually sail at an Olympics and I was ready to get going, it’s cool. This is what we dream of, racing the best people in the world at the most important events is why we do this.’
Groves added: ‘I was nervous but Ben knows me quite well so he said ‘Come on, time to go sailing’, so he did a good job of keeping me calm and I did it right.’
Also starting their Rio campaigns today were the 470 Men and Women, featuring London 2012 silver medallists Luke Patience, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark.
The 470 Girls ended the day in fifth overall after fourth and seventh place scores today – the fourth coming after the defending Olympic champions, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) were disqualified from race one in the protest room.
Meanwhile Patience and Chris Grube recovered from a challenging first race, in which they finished 21st, to sail to fifth place in race two and end the day 11th overall. Today marked Grube’s Olympic debut eight months after he and Patience re-teamed up after Patience’s crew Elliot Willis was diagnosed with cancer in late 2015.
Grube said: ‘My first day at an Olympics is awesome, it’s been a long time coming. We’re in a good position, working hard and now is the time when all that hard work means you’re able to relax and race as hard as you can. Luke’s experience is helping us through, especially on days like today when it would be easy to panic.’
Clark added: ‘It was a very tricky day. It’s going to be a big, epic week so we are just going to need to keep fighting. Today might look like a good day at the end of this week. So far both of our scores are counters.’
Alison Young also had her best day in the Laser Radial with two top 10 scores – 6, 9 – placing her 13th overall.
Leaderboard shake up
Windsurfers Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw will be looking to make hay in the waves as they resume their Rio 2016 campaigns after yesterday’s rest day. But neither sailor is in the same points situation that they went into their lay day with after numerous protest and redress hearings over the past 24 hours.
Dempsey goes into today’s racing with a one-point lead at the top of the Men’s leaderboard. Having successfully received redress after being knocked of his board in race six, the International Jury’s decision was appealed by four other sailors, which resulted in the decision being adjusted so that Dempsey is awarded eight points for that race.
Shaw meanwhile ended Tuesday’s races in 10th overall, but after the International Jury awarded redress to Marion Lepert (USA) following an incident involving Patricia Freitas (BRA) in race 5, Shaw now sits in 11th place.
Racing resumes at 5pm (BST) today. The RS:Xs, 49er, 49erFX and Nacra classes are scheduled to contest 13 race series, with other five classes 11 races each.
The showdown medal races begin with the two RS:X classes on Sunday 14 August, while the regatta is set to come to a close with the 49er and 49erFX medal races on Thursday 18 August.
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