Racing for the Paralympic classes drew to a close at the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta on (Friday 1 February) with Helena Lucas and Niki Birrell-Alexandra Rickham gaining the advantage in the chase for British Paralympic selection in the 2.4mR and SKUD classes.
Lucas, who was competing with Megan Pascoe for the single British berth in the 2.4mR event, finished strongly, scoring 3,3 in the final two races of the regatta for the single-handed Paralympic class.
photo Helen Lucas / Rolex Dan Nerney
Although her overall fourth place wasn’t enough to see her into the medals in this open fleet, comprising both able-bodied and disabled sailors, Southampton-based Lucas was the third placed sailor eligible to compete at the Paralympic Games, with Pascoe finishing in seventh and overall victory going to Damien Seguin of France.
In the two-person SKUD class, Skandia Team GBR’s Niki Birrell and Alexandra Rickham consolidated their position as the top British boat in the fleet, with results of 8,5 ensuring a fifth place finish in their very first regatta together in this new Paralympic class. Allan Smith and Jackie Gay finished just behind, in sixth place on the overall leaderboard, while John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas couldn’t quite hold on to the third place they took into today in the three-person Sonar class and finished fourth overall.
RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park, observing the Miami event as part of the British selection trials for the Paralympic Games, commented: “It’s been an interesting few days watching our Paralympic hopefuls in action.
“It’s certainly been a tricky week for the sailors, and the RYA’s Paralympic selectors will now consider the outcomes of this regatta to determine what the next steps will be for all those concerned – whether that be to select, or to continue the trials process at future events.”
Meanwhile in the Olympic classes, Penny Clark strengthened her position as the top British boat in the Laser Radial class heading into tomorrow’s final 10-boat medal race. The Miami event is part of a potential three-regatta series of trials events for four Skandia Team GBR sailors, of whom three will compete in Saturday’s final.
Clark’s position as the top British boat is now unassailable, and the Royal Navy Officer can finish no worse than her current position of fourth, with bronze within her grasp if she can finish ahead of Sweden’s Karin Soderstrom in tomorrow’s medal race. Charlotte Dobson goes into the final race in sixth place, and Lizzie Vickers in tenth.
A steady performance of 8,8 from their two races today boosted Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson into third from their overnight position of sixth in the Yngling class, with the trio looking to protect their bronze medal prospects in the medal race on Saturday.
Shirley Robertson, Annie Lush and Lucy Macgregor will miss out on the final race after finishing outside of the top ten places in 15th, with Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson also missing out in the Star class. A fourth in their only race on Saturday pushed up them up to 13th overall, but it was not enough to see them through to the ten-boat final showdown.
Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta
Laser (23 boats) -- 12 races
1. Maciej Grabowski (POL), 32pts
2. Kyle Rogachenko (USA), 38pts
3. Charlie Buckingham (USA), 41pts
Laser Radial (39 boats) -- 11 races
1. Paige Railey (USA), 27pts
2. Anna Tunnicliffe (USA), 42pts
3. Karin Soderstrom (SWE), 56pts
4. Penny Clark 57pts
6. Charlotte Dobson 79pts
10. Lizzie Vickers 98pts
16. Andrea Brewster 141pts
Star (66 boats) – 8 races
1. Eivind Melleby/Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR), 24pts
2. Xavier Rohart/Pascal Rambeau (FRA), 28pts
3. Flavio Marazzi/Enrico De Maria (SUI), 30pts
13. Iain Percy/Andrew Simpson 74pts
Yngling (28 boats) -- 12 races
1. Mandy Mulder/Mary Faber/Merel Witteveen (NED), 62pts
2. Ekaterina Skudina,/Diana Krutskikh/Natalia Ivanova (RUS), 66pts
3. Sarah Ayton/Sarah Webb/Pippa Wilson (GBR), 95pts
15. Shirley Robertson/Annie Lush/Lucy Macgregor 146pts
2.4mR (25 boats) -- 12 races
1. Damien Seguin (FRA), 35pts
2. Stellan Berlin (SWE), 50pts
3. Paul Tingley (CAN), 61pts
4. Helena Lucas 65pts
7. Megan Pascoe 82pts
SKUD-18 (10 boats) -- 11 races
1. Nick Scandone/Maureen McKinnon-Tucker (USA) 14pts
2. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (USA), 21pts
3. John McRoberts/Stacie Louttit (CAN), 33pts
5. Niki Birrell-Alexandra Rickham 53pts
6. Allan Smith-Jackie Gay 60pts
Sonar (11 boats) -- 10 races
1. Jens Kroker/Tobias Schuetz/Siegmund Mainka (GER), 19pts
2. Bruno Jourden/Herve Larhant/Nicolas Vimont Vicary (FRA), 33pts
3. Paul McCarthy/Richard Whealey/Paul Ryan (IRL), 41pts
4. John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Stephen Thomas 42pts
– but the sailors praise the new boats