By World Sailing (as amended by SKUD18)
On the second day of competition, the frontrunners will want to continue where they left off and further assert themselves. In order to do that, they’ll have to battle their competitors in a lighter south easterly breeze, ranging from 4-9 knots, with temperatures soaring up to 37 degrees.
A wait onshore was all the morning could offer for the expectant sailors as the wind took its time to materialize for suitable racing conditions. Although, there are worse places to wait onshore because in Rio, sailors are surrounded by the stunning backdrop to admire. With a delayed start, time was not on the Race Committee’s side to complete a full schedule, with only 1 race completed for the SKUD fleet.
London 2012 gold medallists, Australia’s Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch, just seem to be in the mood for another SKUD18 Paralympic gold medal. It was another dominant performance by the pair as they led at every mark to take the bullet on the Escola Naval race course.
The win today, and the great start on day one, has not gone unnoticed by the fleet, especially Canada’s Jackie Gay, “They looked so fast and sleek today. They just had some wheels underneath them. They didn’t really have anyone to fight. They were just out there in front. They came off the line with wheels. Dan [Fitzgibbon] is a really smart sailor and made some good decisions and just extended.”
Being out in front, it looks like the Aussies are the team to beat, but can they be beaten? Gay certainly thinks, knows so, “Nobody is unbeatable. We beat them [in race two],” laughed Gay, “but they are looking very good, there is no question about that.”
Concentrating on her own day with partner John McRoberts, Gay said, “Well it was tricky, obviously light and lots of current. It was heads out the boat and keep an eye of what’s going on and try and sail as fast as you can.
“We had a decent start about half way down the line so we were okay, but then the wind went a little bit to the right so the Polish gained on the inside of us.”
Poland’s Monika Gibes and Piotr Cichocki continued to push once they passed Gay and McRoberts to finish in second, a position that will help them up the leaderboard as a protest late on day one wiped off a third from their overall score.
With Australia blazing a trail in front, and Poland in second, it was down to the Canadians to hold off the rest of the fleet. It wasn’t easy, but it was fun as Gay explains, “We had a little scrap with the Brits on the way down and that was fun. We won the scrap, coming in third. It was really fun racing.”
Fitzgibbon and Tesch sit in first on four points after three races. McRoberts and Gay are in second with nine points, while the team they did battle with, Great Britain’s Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell, are third with 11 points.
Three races are now scheduled for day 3, which will start earlier.
Here is a link to a live blog, tracking and results on the World Sailing website.http://www.sailing.org/paralympics/rio2016
Photo © Richard Langdon / World Sailing