A relative calm descended on Weymouth Bay yesterday morning, after the battering from the day before. But there was no less tension or aggression in the racing in Day Four of Skandia Sail for Gold, as the fleets moved into the endgame.
In the Stars, Brazil’s multiple Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt and his crew Bruno Prada saw their five point lead over Sweden’s Freddy Loof and Max Salminen cut to a single point. Loof and Salminen posted scores of 4, 1 and 2, and Scheidt had to pull out all the stops to win the last race from the charging Swedes and hold onto his overall lead. Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki remained steady in third, but 15 points off the lead. The world names are showing their teeth now and placings, as forecast, have changed. Peter O’Leary and David Burrows are now in 9th position overall and still well in contention for a place in the top ten for the medal race tomorrow (Sat). Eight races have been sailed with the final three scheduled for today.
In the Laser Radials, Ireland’s Annalise Murphy slipped back from her overnight lead to third, after a 13th in the first race, but she wasn’t raising the white flag and came back with a win in the second and final race of the day. It was Evi van Acker who posted the best performance of the leading group to go to the top of the table. ISAF Sailing World Cup leader, the Netherland’s Marit Bouwmeester remains in second, but now only a point off the lead. Here again, Annalise is the one to watch today and hopefully can regain her lead position and barring any calamities should take her place in the Medal Race tomorrow.
Today the Penultimate Day – Weymouth is full to the brim with the world’s best Olympic sailors, with Olympic medalists and World Champions wherever you look. But past performance is no guarantee to success at the next event and today is the day when the top 10 across the Olympic Class fleets who proceed to the final Medal Race tomorrrow will be determined. It has been a grueling four days of racing so far and there is still another day of battle today with the three races for the Star Class. With many nations counting Skandia Sail for Gold as part of the team selection for the 2012 Olympics, the pressure is immense.