There were testing times on the water for Team GB’s sailors in Qingdao on Monday (11 August), with crews enduring mixed fortunes on this third day of the Olympic sailing regatta.
Yngling trio of Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson finished the day on top of their respective fleets, while Bryony Shaw’s first day of Olympic competition in the RS:X women’s windsurfing event sees her in third place after two races.
The Yngling girls once again got off to a conservative start in their first race of the day, picking their way through the fleet from tenth at the first mark to finish in third. Their closest rivals in this regatta are proving to be the Dutch trio of Mandy Mulder, Annemieke Bes and Merel Witteveen, who led the first race of the day from start to finish, with the two teams equal poised on equal points when the discard came in after race five.
But Ayton, Webb and Wilson nudged ahead with a second in the final race of the day to pull three points ahead of the Dutch heading in to their layday on Tuesday.
A smiling Ayton said of the day: “It was a really tricky day but we started off, four fleet races down, six to go, knowing that we had to put in a solid performance and it definitely was that, so we’re feeling pretty cool now.“
“We are enjoying it,” she continued. “We’re an awesome team and we get on really well, and when we hit the water we’ve got a job to do and we get on and do that.”
“We’re not thinking about the end result – we’ve just got to take each day as it comes,” Ayton explained, asked whether she’s already thinking her second Olympic gold is in within reach. “We’ve got four races left in the fleet race, and then the medal race so we’ve got a long way to go. We’re sailing really well, we’re sailing strong as a team and all of us can’t ask for anything more than that.”
It was a also tough opening day for the Team GB 470 pairings of Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark, and Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield who are in ninth and tenth places respectively in the women’s and men’s fleets after two races.
But Bassadone is remaining upbeat: “It wasn’t the first day we’d have hoped for, but with the inconsistent women’s fleet we’ve got and a long way still to go, we’ve got to be ready to pounce on the opportunities and put today behind us.
“It’s a long regatta,” Clark added. “Lots of people had ups and downs today so lots of opportunities still in the week to come.”
You can follow the racing online at www.rya.org.uk/beijing2008, where you will get updates from the dinghy park and the results as they come in, as well as the news from the Team GB camp. You can also leave messages of support for the team and your comments on the racing and Team GB’s prospects.