Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Skandia Sail for Gold : Slater opens with a Win

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) competing in the 49er fleet. Image copyright onEdition.

by Jodie Bakewell-White with additional information by SailRaceWin

One of the year’s key events for the NZL Sailing Team is underway in Weymouth, England where racing at 2011 Skandia Sail for Gold started overnight. Dan Slater made the best start of the 30-strong kiwi team opening the regatta with a win to hold the lead in the Finn event.

The ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta is being staged at the 2012 Olympic sailing venue and everyone vying for a shot at the 2012 Olympics is in Weymouth right now for six days of on-water combat.

The wind was light and it was a long day for sailors, officials, coaches and spectators.

Finn: NZL Sailing Team’s Dan Slater has made a great start to the regatta and tops the Finn leader board after kicking things off with a win. Just one race was possible however, and there’s plenty of water to pass under the bridge yet. GBR’s Ben Ainslie is in second.

“The race went well today and that was all down to getting a good start. I started at the pin end which was significantly biased, and allowed the first three place getters in the race to effectively ‘port tack’ the fleet,” said Slater after racing. “Then I managed to pull alongside the leader (Ben Ainslie) on the downwind which forced us to different gates. The gate I rounded appeared to be favoured which gave me margin for the last upwind, and I retained that to the finish.”

Laser: A massive entry list in the men’s single-handed dinghy event sees the fleet split into three for qualifying. Just one race was possible in each.

Andy Maloney made the best start of the kiwi contingent all looking for a top result from this important regatta in Weymouth. A 3rd on the water gives Maloney a share of 5th overall.

Mike Bullot returned a 6th, Andrew Murdoch a 13th, Sam Meech a 14th and Josh Junior a 27th in the opening race of the series.

Radial: Also sailing just one race on day one Sara Winther placed 6th and shares 11th position on the leader board.

RS:X Men: The usual suspects head the Men’s RS:X fleet including the NZL Sailing Team’s two representatives Tom Ashley and Jon-Paul Tobin both in the top five after day one. The Olympic champ was 3rd and 2nd overnight to hold 4th place, Tobin placed 6th and 2nd and just behind in 5th overall.

Piotr Myszka of Poland took two guns for a perfect scorecard and the lead at this early stage.

RS:X Women: Natalia Kosinska has made the strongest start of the four kiwi entries in the Women’s RS:X - finishing 6th and 7th in the two races sailed, Kosinska is in 12th position.

Women’s 470: Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie made a decent start in the Women’s 470 event where it appears most struggled with consistency on day one. Two races were sailed and the kiwi girls sit in 7th overall in the 45-strong fleet after placing 9th then 12th.

2009 World Champions Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout of the Netherlands lead the fleet.

49er: Black-flagged in race one of the regatta Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have set themselves the come-back trail from the outset. Finishing 7th and then 12th in races two and three the kiwi pair, who collected a bronze medal at the most recent ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta in the Netherlands, are lying 33rd after day one.

The Sibello brothers of Italy have the early lead.

Elsewhere: Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders placed 16th then 17th overnight and are lying 33rd in the Men’s 470 event. It was a long day over on the Women’s Match Racing course with the NZL Sailing Team competing in Group C round robin. They took a win over Meldgaard, but their three other match ups.

In the Star class, Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk climbed to 14th after a poor start in the sole race of the day.

2011 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta
New Zealand’s provisional standings after day one

470 Women (45 entries)
7th Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie

470 Men (77 entries)
33rd Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders

49er (63 entries)
33rd Peter Burling and Blair Tuke

1st Dan Slater
36th Matt Coutts
49th Bradley Douglas

Laser (123 entries)
5th Andy Maloney
11th Mike Bullot
25th Andrew Murdoch
27th Sam Meech
53rd Josh Junior
105th Spencer Loxton

11th Sara Winther
43rd Miranda Powrie

Women’s Match Racing
Stephanie Hazard, Jenna Hansen and Susannah Pyatt (Group C – 1 win/3 losses)

RS:X Men (86 entries)
4th Tom Ashley
5th JP Tobin
78th Carl Evans

RS:X Women (59 entries)
12th Natalia Kosinska
39th Justina Sellers
49th Stephanie Williams
55th Jazmine Lynch

14th Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk

2.4 metre (34 entries)
22nd Joshua McKenzie-Brown

SKUD18 (17 entries)
9th Tim Dempsey and Jan Apel

About this regatta:

Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta is the sixth event in the 2010-11 ISAF Sailing World Cup series and given this is the venue for the 2012 Olympic Games Sailing Regatta the entry list is long and star-studded. Everyone is doing their homework on Weymouth!

Here are the numbers

752 Entries
62 Nations
1067 Athletes
314 Coaches

Yachting New Zealand