Other classes get some racing in
While the south coast of England is battered by strong winds today, Qingdao’s infamous light winds have frustrated Ben Ainslie’s quest for his third successive Olympic title with the Finn class medal race abandoned after 30 minutes with Ainslie in gold medal position.
Ainslie and the Yngling trio of Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson, who were also supposed to sail for their medals today, will now go for gold tomorrow as the medal races are postponed for a day.
After two postponements during the Finn class start sequence, racing eventually got underway with Ainslie, who needs to finish no more than five boats behind second-placed Zach Railey (USA) to win gold, immediately going on the attack and doing exactly what he had promised in “sticking to Zach like glue”, forcing his American rival to the back of the fleet and pinning him in 10th and last place in the 10-boat medal race fleet.
But with 30 minutes of the race elapsed and with the boats taking part in what had effectively become a drifting race as the wind disappeared, officials took the decision to abandon the race.
With both the Finn and Yngling medal races scheduled today, the latest time a medal race can commence is 9.30am (BST) meaning officials had an hour-and-a-half after the abandonment to try to sail the race. Despite staying out on the water for another hour, the Finns eventually were towed back to shore and racing was canned for the day.
If either or both classes fail to complete their medal race tomorrow for whatever reason, the medal race can be rolled over one more day to Monday.If no race has taken place by the end of Monday, the gold medallists would be determined by current standings. Both British boats are currently leading their respective fleets.
Meanwhile elsewhere on the racecourse, Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes finally got some racing in the 49er class after two days of postponements. However, after a frustrating and disappointing regatta for the Brits, they scored 8, 11, 15 in their three races this morning and qualify for tomorrow’s scheduled medal race in ninth place, with a highest possible finishing place of seventh overall.
In the 470 the British women Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark also lie ninth overall with a 15th and 5th today, and two more opening series races scheduled to sail before Monday’s medal race. Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield got three races under their belts today, picking up two extreme scores in the first two – OCS and second – and then scoring a race 10 third to be placed fourth overall three points off the medal places.
With one Laser and Radial race sailed apiece, Penny Clark fared best in the women’s event picking up a third to move up from 10th overall to six after five races while Paul Goodison posted a race five ninth to drop from the top of the Laser leaderboard to fourth.
Both the Tornados and Stars contested two races today and their third of the regatta. Tornado boys Will Howden and Leigh McMillan added an eighth and 13th to their opening race sixth yesterday to be placed 10th overall. Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson in the Star finished 13th in their first race of this morning, following that up with a second, to move to eighth overall.
The RS:Xs, who had been scheduled three races today, endured a fruitless day with no racing to add to their overnight scores. Nick Dempsey currently lies in bronze medal position in men’s event and Bryony Shaw fifth in the women’s.
Image: Ingrid Abery/hotcapers.com