Tuesday 27 September 2016

Giles Scott takes 'tricky' Olympic debut in his stride

Published 10/08/2016 | 01:11

Team GBR Olympic sailor Giles Scott pictured racing his Finn class dinghy on day two of the ISAF Sailing World Cup at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, Weymouth.
Team GBR Olympic sailor Giles Scott pictured racing his Finn class dinghy on day two of the ISAF Sailing World Cup at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, Weymouth.

Giles Scott's first taste of Olympic sailing did not go to plan, but the overriding favourite for Rio 2016 gold is not getting carried away with first-day frustrations.

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Few debutants at these Games have arrived shouldering as much expectation as the 29-year-old, competing in the Finn class dominated by Great Britain since Sydney 2000.

Sir Ben Ainslie's heir to the throne has failed to win just two regattas in this Olympic cycle, getting silver in those two events, making him overwhelming favourite with the bookmakers to triumph in Rio.

Such dominance was not evident on the tough waters of Guanabara Bay, though, as Scott crossed 17th in his first race of the Games.

A marked improvement saw him finish third in the second race and end the day 10th overall in the Finn fleet.

"It was tricky," Scott said. "The Sugarloaf course we were on today is notoriously difficult.

"Unfortunately, unlike yesterday, the wind was that little bit further right, which basically means the breeze comes straight down over the hill.

"It just provides really tricky, unpredictable winds.

"I think the vast majority of the sailors today had a good one and one bad, other than the Slovenian (leader Vasilij Zbogar) who did really well.

"I am not massively happy with the way today has gone, but there's still a long way to go and plenty to play for."

Scott says the course was about "as tricky as it gets", joking it was probably not printable what he said after his first race.

"It is certainly not how you want to start an Olympic Games, with a 17th," he said. "Let's just say I wasn't particularly happy.

"But I mean unfortunately these things happen in regattas and they've certainly happened to me in regattas over the past four years.

"It certainly doesn't make things easy but there is still a lot to play for."

Such unpredictability and strength in depth in the fleet is precisely why men's RS:X leader Nick Dempsey is not getting ahead of himself.

A double bullet and second-place finish was the ideal start for 35-year-old on Monday, and he followed it up with another race win before posting a fourth and 14th - the latter of which is chalked off as it was his worse of the regatta.

"It is as it looks really - it started well and ended badly," Dempsey said. "The first and fourth were good, you just don't want to lose your discard too early.

"It is slightly too early but it is all right and still a good day. I feel brilliant, I feel great, I feel the best I have ever felt on the board.

"The third race, it was a joke, it was ridiculous. There was no wind and they should've abandoned the race.

"It was one tack on the first beat and one tack on the second beat and that is not what the Olympics is about, they should've abandoned that race.

"The wind had got really unstable and it was fine when we started but it was pretty apparent half way up the first beat that it was not raceable and not fair racing."

Beijing 2008 bronze medallist Bryony Shaw is 10th overall in the women's RS:X, having finished seventh, 14th and 12th in Tuesday's races.

Two-time Laser world champion Nick Thompson is 12th overall, while reigning Laser Radial world champion Alison Young sits 18th.

Things are going far better for Ireland's Annalise Murphy, who is second in the Laser Radial fleet after finishing fourth and seventh on Tuesday.

Several hours after racing completed, British Sailing confirmed Dempsey had been awarded a redress for the final race of the day.

The RS:X sailor will now be given average points from his first nine races, strengthening his position at the top.

Press Association

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