470 MEN AND WOMEN LEADERS EXTEND LEAD ON DAY 4 IN MIAMI30 Jan 2015
Luke Patience/Elliott Willis (GBR) and Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) enjoyed a consolidation day on Thursday, as they extended their winning points margin over their fleets from the day's two races. Just two more races on Friday 30 January to decide the Medal Race line-up.
It was again challenging racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup with the wind back in the east at 13-15 knots all day.
The rich got richer in the Women's 470 fleet, where the familiar series leaders had a 1-3 day to further tighten their grip on first. That would be the 2012 Olympic gold medalists from New Zealand, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, who are sitting on the enviable scoreline of 2-2-1-(7)-1-1-3. Pressure outweighed direction shifts, in Powrie's thinking, but shifts were nothing to ignore, Aleh said, "Get both right and you were really looking good.
"There was a lot of close racing," Aleh said. "We had downwind legs where the whole fleet was right there."
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark of Great Britain, silver medalists at the 2012 Games, are 13 points back, with a 10-point margin over Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntire. Also from the UK, Weguelin and McIntire have the Japanese duo of Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka breathing down their necks.
Non-athletes need not apply. Trapeze boats make extreme demands in changeable conditions, with the sailors trimming sails and, we might say, trimming their body weight in and out for balance in a sort of ongoing emergency triage. Or as Aleh put it, "There was a lot going on out there."
Men's 470 results echoed Women's 470 results, with the rich getting richer. In this case, it was 2012 silver medalist Luke Patience and crew Elliot Willis sailing a throw-out 18th and keeping a race eight first.
Patience won his 2012 silver medal with Stuart Bithell, just two weeks after the pair teamed up. The new team of Patience and Willis wrapped up the European 470 Championship in 2014 with races to spare, and this pair from the UK are in form again.
Australians Mat Belcher and Will Ryan are 9 points back and still in touch. Then it's an 18-point jump to Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera of Spain.
Racing on Friday 30 January will see the 470 Men kick off first at 1230 hours, followed by the 470 Women at 1245 hours. Click here to view live tracking.
One measure of the success of Olympic class racing on Biscayne Bay is the steadily growing participation. The numbers in 2015 make this a record turnout.
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