BRITS BACK ON TOP AND KIWIS HOLD LEAD ON DAY 3 IN MIAMI29 Jan 2015
There's a world of difference between skiing a long, smooth run and skiing on moguls. Today, forget the waves, it was the breeze on Biscayne Bay that was "moguls." Shift upon shift upon shift upon shift.
This is the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, presented by Sunbrella, with 599 boats and 768 sailors who were adjusting all day to one thing or another. If it wasn't the wind direction that was changing, it was the wind speed. Which made it all the more notable that three classes produced back-to-back race winners.
Dave Ullman, among many things the 1996 US Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and a three-time 470 world champion, is now coaching U.S. Olympic hopefuls. He was a keen observer of the day's events. The direction shifts, he said, were coming at "15 to 20 degrees, but more than that it was about velocity-on and velocity-off. Downwind, if you were in the velocity, you could make big gains.
"It was much windier today than the forecast called for," Ullman said, "but the racecourse is fine. The race officials are doing a good job with some challenging circumstances.
"But, it was cold out there."
He wasn't the only one who said so.
Wednesday was the third of six days of racing for ten Olympic classes. Top qualifiers will sail a Medal Race on Saturday. Competitors in three Paralympic classes will conclude their racing on Friday.
A second win in six races settled Luke Patience and Elliot Willis of Great Britain into a six-point lead in their 44-boat fleet, and they had reason to be glad that race six went as long as it did, and ended when it did. They had boats to pass. And then it was over. Second-place skipper Mat Belcher of Australia observed that Patience and Willis had a good second weather leg, "They went heavily to the right, and that got them around a lot of boats."
With four more races scheduled before Saturday's Medals Race, Patience and Willis have scores of 1-2-(5)-4-3-1 to a count of 5-1-2-(12)-2-7 for Belcher and crew Will Ryan. The six-point delta allows for discarding worst scores. Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis dropped out of their leadership position (two firsts on Tuesday) and now are looking at (25)-4-1-1-8-10 for third place.
Farther down in the lists, Matthias Schmid's Austrian crewman, Florian Reichsteaedter, like everyone out there in a 470, spent his day balancing on the wire, adjusting in and out with the puffs. "There was no system to it" he said. "Sometimes you had to be on the left. Sometimes you had to be on the right. And it was up and down, up and down all day. Eight knots. Eighteen knots.
"And it was cold out there."
His handshake proved that.
And we may have already mentioned that. But, to be fair, it was Miami-on-the-water cold. Readers in northern climes, please hold those cards and letters.
The London 2012 gold medalists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, aka Team Jolly, tightened their grip on the lead in the Women's 470 with a pair of firsts, demonstrating that, yes, there must be an answer to the dilemma of a dicey racecourse. "We're sort of getting used to the wind being up and down and shifty," Aleh said.
She offered, "If you can't pick the right place to be on the racecourse, try to not pick the wrong place. We didn't always have the best start or the best first leg, but we would keep chipping away and chipping away until we could look around and say, Oh, we're in front. We'll take it."
Team Jolly, sailing out of Auckland, New Zealand, has placings of 2-2-1-(7)-1-1. The London 2012 silver medalists, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark of Great Britain, are nine points back at 6-1-(7)-1-3-5.
Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntire, also of Great Britain, are in third, another ten points back.
Racing on Thursday 29 January will see the 470 Women kick off first at 1230 hours, followed by the 470 Men at 1245 hours. Click here to view live tracking.
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