5.40AM Race Eight for Star completed in 15kts with Peter O’Leary and Stephen Milne finishing in eighth position. The results sheet for mark rounding has been altered a number of times with O’Leary not even showing as finishing at one stage. The final overall list for Race Eight shows them 8th in this race and 13th overall, ten points behind the 10th placed competitor. Race Nine is currently running. Current leaders Britain, Sweden and Brazil.
7.05AM Race Nine details: Tantalisingly close but difficult to achieve. In a topsy turvy race of this white hot fleet O’Leary and Milne fought back strongly to be 6th at the weather mark but slipped during the frustrating conditions to finish in 11th position. To demonstrate the changes that took place, their training partner Iain Percy of Britain was lying 9th at the weather mark to be 1st at the leeward, went to 5th at the second windward to finally finish in 2nd position. Germany led at the first windward, dropped to 12th at the first leeward to finally finish in 6th place. These results illustrate the vagaries of the conditions. Sweden and Britain currently lead the charge to coveted medal race positions and the match racing that could ensue should be an interesting sight. The Irish pairing now lie in 12th position overall 8 points off entry to the medal race.
8.30AM It’s over, the final hill proved a tad too steep to climb. O’Leary and Milne finished the final race in in 12th position to lie 13th overall. In this small syndrome fleet the Irish pair battled bravely counting 91 points from 9 races and yet, with a lowest score of 13th, also including four top ten placings, the results sheet after 10 races, with one discard, could only show a 13th overall. We thank them for their wonderful effort and their heads can be held very high. It certainly says something for their prowess with results showing them beating the current Star World Champion in two races and double Gold Medalist Robert Scheidt behind them in other races. Not to mention other world names going up and down the snakes and ladders. At the end it was the oldest competitor in the competition, John Dane aged 58 of the USA and his son-in-law crew who helped spoil the party for the youngest competitors by fnishing 4th in the final race to drop O’Leary and Milne a place. On a personal note my heart is breaking for them but I know they will be back next time around stronger than ever.
The Medal Race for the Star Class promises to be a high noon showdown to-morrow (Thurs). Fredrik Loof and Anders Ekstrom of Sweden are leading Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson of Britain by two points. With the medal race counting for double points this could in effect mean they are going in on an equal footing. Unless some other competitors come up the line to overtake them, whichever of them beats the other will take gold. The question of possible match racing has already been mentioned above but neither of these two teams can afford to do much of it. Robert Schedit and Bruno Prada of Brazil are sitting 12 points behind Percy and Simpson and Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau of France lie another four points behind them. By calculation any one of these can have a shot at gold. All four teams have won the Star World Championships and all four have won olympic medals although of the four only France won in the Star, taking a bronze medal in Athens four years ago.