Morning Nerves Shaken Off By Beautiful Breeze - Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech, NZL, Women's Skiff (49erFX) at Day One of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth & Portland.
There were a few morning nerves amongst some of the competitors at ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland with the forecasted 30 knots never materialising ensuring a beautiful day of racing.
A north easterly breeze, not shy of a shift or two, came in at 14-17 knots ensuring another day of strong competition with a full complement of racing completed.
At the midway stage of the fleet racing, the leaderboards are starting to shake up and give an early indication as to who will come away with the ISAF Sailing World Cup medals, a share of the prize fund as well as an Abu Dhabi Final qualification spot.
Live Medal Races on Sunday – that will be available to view from 11:00 local time here – will bring the competition to a close.
49erFX and 49er
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) were the stand out performers in the 49erFX, taking a pair of bullets and a second.
The Kiwis move up from second to first overall and have a slender advantage over World #1 pair Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA).
"We had a really good day today. Everything kind of felt easy and we were going quite fast and that always helps,” smiled Meech. "It was quite good racing and everyone was going really fast. If you made a mistake you were going to get passed but if you didn't, then you were always going to pass people.”
In advance of the docking out a few of the 49erFX sailors had helmets at the ready in anticipation of big breeze but things turned out a little differently as Meech explained, "Most of the weather forecasts today said we were expecting 30 knots. I know for our fleet most of the girls don't handle that stuff so well so we were all nervous heading out. In the end it turned out to be a glamour day with 12 knots and really nice waves. It was perfect.”
Maloney and Meech are amongst the leading competitors in the 49erFX and have the potential and know how to medal at each event. Most recently they finished seventh at World Cup Hyeres and have been working hard to get back on the podium, "We've got a few things to work on for the rest of this regatta. Our starts have been a focus for us and things are starting to come together. We'll look to push on from that and try to get a great result from this regatta.”
Grael and Kunze, 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year, are snapping at the heels of the Kiwis and trail by three points. They took the day's other race victory and coupled with a second and a third remain firmly in the hunt.
Overnight leaders Maiken Foght Schütt and Anne-Julie Schütt (DEN) slip to third overall following a 6-(8)-4 scoreline.
Six fleet races remain in advance of Sunday's Live Medal Races so anything can and will happen.
Victor Bergstrom and Victor Vasternas (SWE) have amassed three bullets from six races in the 49er and subsequently lead. They took the first two race victories on the second day and discard their 12th to sit on 23 points.
Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski (NZL) claimed the days other race victory and are second overall on 26 points. Their compatriots Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) are third overall on 30 points.
Men's and Women's 470
The Women's 470 also feature a couple of Kiwi girls topping the billing after a steady day of racing. Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) lead the way by a single point over Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) following a second and a fourth, which they discard.
"It was an okay day,” explained Aleh. "We weren't really that happy with it as there were a few missed opportunities. The results are okay still but we're still not that happy.”
After their opening day double bullets the Kiwis posted a second and fourth. "An okay day” for them, an outstanding day for others. But when you're Olympic gold medallists racing on the same waters as your glory, standards remain high.
Aleh continued, "It's great to be back here. It's been three years since we've been here and it's not changed that much. It's nice to be back and everything's really familiar. We spent so much time here last time that it's like another home.
"I guess Weymouth is a lot like New Zealand. There's the cold breeze and the cold water. It's a lot like Takapuna where we sail at home. We're all quite comfortable here. It's been offshore for the last couple of days and we've always found that Weymouth is like home and we fit into it pretty easily.”
London 2012 Olympic silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) sit in second overall following a sixth, which they discard, and a bullet. Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) remain in third overall.
In the Men's 470 Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (USA) and Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) shared first and second in both of the day's races. The Americans took the first bullet followed by the Aussies whilst the roles were reversed for the day's other race.
The Americans lead on five points followed by the Australians on 10 points. Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (NZL) are third on 14 points.
Giles Scott (GBR) was back on the money in the Finn, doing what he does best, winning sailboat races.
He opened the day with a second and hit back with a bullet to move into first overall. "We've had two very similar days now with 10-15 knots and it's very very physical racing,” commented Scott on the competition.
"I think everyone is feeling pretty tired today. But today for me was a bit better than yesterday. I managed to come away with a 1 and a 2, so I can't really grumble.”
The Finn fleet features 24-boats in Weymouth and Portland and with the Rio 2016 Olympic fleet comprising of one less it's the perfect opportunity to race in an Olympic sized pack with an exceptional calibre of competitors, "We have 24 boats, so it surprising how everything seems to be close up and everyone is super punchy on the start line. So you have to watch that a little bit.
"Of course everyone here is quick so it is very easy to find yourself on the back foot and not so many people behind you. But with that said it makes the racing super good. I think in one of the races today the whole fleet was round in 30 seconds. It's tight street fighting really.”
Jonathan Lobert (FRA) took the days other race victory and coupled with a third he sits second overall, two points off Scott. Josh Junior (NZL) is pushed from first to third by the British and French racers.
Men's and Women's RS:X
In the Women's RS:X, Great Britain's Isobel Hamilton stays ahead of the field following another consistent day on the water. From the day's three races she notched up three second place finishes.
Maintaining the British 1-2 is Bryony Shaw who is two points behind her compatriot.
But while Shaw had another good day with a 3-3-1, Italy's Flavia Tartaglini moved up to joint second on 12 points with two bullets and a fourth place finish.
London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Tuuli Petaja-Siren drops down to fourth on 16 points.
In the Men's RS:X Tom Squires (GBR) moved a point ahead in the battle of the Brits with a 1-2-4 scoreline. Squires is above fellow Briton Nick Dempsey who was on a 6-5 on the day until a win in the last race improved his fortunes.
Italy's Mattia Camboni stays in third position whilst Brazil's Ricardo Santos had a much better day, taking first place in the second race to go with his 2-3 finishes. The Brazilian sits in fourth.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) had a strong day in the Nacra 17 posting a 7-1-5 scoreline. They lead on 19 points.
Switzerland's Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger are second on 21 points followed by Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT), who claimed the final race victory of the day.
Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) claimed the days other race honours and are fourth overall.
Laser and Laser Radial
It would seem that Marit Bouwmeester (NED) is taking the experience she has gained from the London 2012 Olympics in Weymouth and Portland and applying it to the fullest effect taking both bullets.
Those two wins have kept Bouwmeester's score down to three points with an unbeaten run of four from four races so far this World Cup.
Her nearest challenger is Belgium's Evi Van Acker who finishes the day in second overall on nine points after a 9-4 finish.
Ireland's Annalise Murphy dropped to sixth with an eighth and a discarded 16th. Murphy's third place is now held by Great Britain's Alison Young on ten points following a strong 4-2 day to help move her up the leader board.
In the Laser, New Zealand's Andy Maloney is still in top spot despite a sixth and an 18th. He drops his 18th and remains at the top of the pile with nine points.
Jesper Stalheim of Sweden had a good day moving up from fourth to second with a 2-10, dropping his 14th from the opening day. His 13 points sits him alongside Germany's Philipp Buhl on the same points tally. The German finished with a 7-3 scoreline for the day.
Sitting just behind on 14 points is Charlie Buckingham (USA). The bullets went to New Zealand's Michael Bullot and Australia's Matthew Wearn.
In the Sonar, double bullets for Australia's Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden move them to the top of the leaderboard with four points ahead of Norway's Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen on six.
The Norwegians are just one point in front of Great Britain's John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas who lay in third on seven points following a fourth and second place finish.
In the SKUD18 nothing separates Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti (ITA) and Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) who each take a bullet and second, yet again mirroring the opening day results. They both sit on four points with Will Street and Megan Pascoe (GBR) third overall on nine.
London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR) controlled the 2.4mR again with four wins from four races following her two bullets today.
Sitting behind and taking four consecutive second places is Antonio Squizzato of Italy on six points.
Malaysia's Al Mustakim Matrin remains third overall with a third place finish and a discarded fifth.
Racing resumes at 11:00 local time on Friday 12 June.
Photo : onEdition