It was a day of waiting for the breeze and abandoned races for our Paralympic crews competing in Rio today.
Racing was initially postponed for over an hour as the sailors waited for the sea breeze to fill in. When racing finally got away, it was in light conditions of around 5-7 knots.
In the 2.4mR, there was frustration for the fleet with no racing completed today. Race three was started in light conditions about an hour and a half after schedule, and Australia’s Matt Bugg had a great start; however the race was abandoned as the breeze dyed away. With no steady breeze in sight, the race committee sent the sailors ashore and will be looking to make up some additional racing tomorrow.
Meanwhile in the Sonar class, Australia’s Colin Harrison, Russell Boaden and Jonathan Harris had a tough start to their only race of the day. The Aussies were seventh around the first mark, but ultimately fought their way back up to fifth at the finish line. The result keeps the Australians in first place overall, three points ahead of Canada.
“Today was a very different day,” said Jonathan Harris. “There was a northerly wind and a lot of current on one side of the course. We were deep at the top mark – we didn’t have a good first leg and we managed to crawl our way back up and on the final run we got back up to fifth. We were happy with our recovery. A lot of the top competitors finished down the back of the fleet.”
Defending Olympic champions, Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch showed the SKUD fleet why they are the ones to beat at this regatta, with a dominant performance in their third race. The Aussies led from start to finish, with a big lead over the fleet at the finish, over 160 metres ahead of the second-placed boat from Poland.
“It doesn’t get any harder than that,” said Fitzgibbon at the conclusion of racing. “The waiting around – we’re not sailing….we are sailing, then all of a sudden we were racing out there. We broke the boat on the way to the start line so we had a bit on. Then we got to the race course and had massive tides and no wind. That’s the hardest racing conditions there are!
“I’m pretty proud of us as a team. We thought it through and made some really good decisions – that’s a good day for us!”
Racing continues tomorrow, with three races scheduled and an earlier start time of midday Rio time (1am AEST).