Sunday, 30 January 2011
Jessica Crisp on day two in Miami. Image copyright Rolex/Daniel Forster.
by Craig Heydon
Australian sailors have made good progress on day two of the Rolex Miami OCR, the second round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, with the majority taking the opportunity to move up the leader board.
The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crew of Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Olivia Price continue to lead Group A in the opening Women’s Match Racing round robin, extending their winning streak to six straight races.
The Australian trio is assured a place in the next stage of the competition with just one race remaining to finish the opening round.
“We had a good day with three wins from three races and have put ourselves through to the Gold fleet,” said skipper Souter. “We had average starts and found ourselves behind in all three races but had good speed on the water which brought us back through to the lead.”
“We’ve got one race tomorrow morning against Skudina of Russia who is also through to the next stage so it will be a no pressure race which is good as she’s a strong opponent and we like to get as much racing in against the stronger teams as possible,” she said.
The two Australian entries are competing in their first World Cup regatta since changing crews around and Souter said the move is going well.
“Our crew work on the boat is going very well, we’re going fast on the racecourse and out sailing the other teams which is really positive,” said Souter.
Fellow Women’s Match Racing crew Katie Spithill, Nina Curtis and Angela Farrell are in a three-way tie for third position with just one race remaining, and will be keen for a win to secure their progression to the next stage of the competition.
Spithill and crew had a tougher day on the water, winning just one of their three races but know that a win against Bossard of France, who is tied with them on points, on Wednesday morning will see them through.
Day two of racing on Miami’s Biscayne Bay was forecast to greet sailors with winds above 20 knots but for the majority of the day the crews raced in breeze between 10 and 14 knots.
In the 470 men’s fleet the Australian Sailing Team crew of Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page moved up from their overnight position of fourth to end day two in third overall.
Belcher and Page, the reigning 470 World Champions, began the day with a 10th before jumping up the ladder with a third in the final race of the day. The Australian pair is hot on the heels of the two leading Great Britain crews and find themselves just 12 points off the lead with seven races still to complete.
The Australian Sailing Development Squad crew of Sam Kivell and Will Ryan finished the day in 12th position with a 15th and a 14th seeing them drop two positions from their overnight 10th but they are still well in contention for a second straight World Cup medal race.
Brendan Casey continued his good form in the Finn class, holding on to his fourth overall following a third and a seventh in Tuesday’s two races.
“I had a good performance today and am happy with how the two races went,” said Casey. “I started well in both races and we had some really close racing which was good.”
“In the first race I picked up a third but lost a boat up the second beat and couldn’t get back past him so it could have been one spot better,” he said. “Giles Scott of Great Britain is just winning everything at the moment but it’s been really close the whole way through the fleet.”
“I’ve been over in the States since Christmas and this regatta comes at the end of a good, long, build up and I’m feeling good,” he said.
Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch continue to lead the way in the Skud 18 class, with a fourth and a first giving them a two point lead over the second placed American crew.
The new pairing is gelling well as a team with their win in the second race on Tuesday making it three wins from four races for this regatta.
In the RS:X women’s class Jessica Crisp has moved up to fourth overall, with a seventh and a third in a highly competitive fleet.
“In that last race today I was first around the top mark in planing conditions which is a plus,” said Crisp. “I didn’t hold on for the final downwind but I came away from both races feeling quite positive.”
“We’ve had some really close racing for the last two days, Bryony Shaw of Great Britain is going really well and Marina Alabau of Spain is consistent and grinding everyone down,” she said. “It’s supposed to be raining tomorrow and then different wind conditions for the rest of the week which will mix it right up which is good.”
Krystal Weir has jumped up to seventh overall in the Laser Radial class, after two top 10 finishes on day two. Weir had a fifth and a seventh to close in on the leading sailors and end the day just 13 points off third position.
Australian Sailing Development Squad members Ashley Stoddart and Gabrielle King are 19th and 20th respectively but both sailors are still within reach of the top 10 with six fleet races and the final medal race still to go.
Australian Sailing Team