Tuesday 24 April 2018

Sailing: Winds blow Star pair to second spot after bright early show

James Hall

The Olympic sailing events pick up pace on Weymouth Bay today as more classes begin their racing programmes.

Ireland's Peter O'Leary and David Burrows have races three and four in the Star keelboat, where they placed second overall after yesterday's opening rounds.

Today sees Annalise Murphy begin racing in the women's single-handed Laser Radial event. Conditions are generally favourable, with fresh winds expected to continue for most of the week.

However, the wind direction off the land means unstable patterns across the race course and frequent wind-shifts to catch unwary crews off-guard. O'Leary and Burrows benefited yesterday by a major wind difference in their first race as they sailed up the left-hand side of the course and could see leading boats drop behind as they had less breeze. That enabled the Irish crew to sail into second place by the end of the first race behind the French team.

In the second race, the Irish boat led from shortly after the start but just before the end of the first lap, four-time Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt with Bruno Prada from Brazil and Britain's Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson took over the lead. As the new leaders match-raced to the finish, O'Leary and Burrows were caught by the fleet and slipped back to sixth place.

However, the combination of second and sixth places for the day leaves the Irish pair second overall behind the Brazilians. And a row over the finishing order of the second race between the British and Brazilians, who finished alongside each other, had last night moved to a protest hearing to decide which of the two had won the race.

Eight races still remain in the fleet series and the top 10 boats will progress to a single Medal Race conclusion. It will also mark the end of the Star class in Olympic competition.

Irish Independent

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