Photos: On Edition

Brits rule the RS:Xes

As London 2012 female medallists score double bullets on the opening day of the ISAF Sailing World Weymouth & Portland

Wednesday June 10th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

The first day of racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland sprung a few surprises with an uncommon northeasterly breeze testing the fleet. Ranging from 10-15 knots, the wind, coupled with glorious British sunshine, resulted in some exceptional racing on the 2012 Olympic waters.

The stakes have been described as "high" by the competitors competing and rightly so with internal Rio qualification battles on-going, ISAF Sailing World Cup honours, a share of the prize fund and Abu Dhabi Final spots up for grabs.

Racing commenced at 11:00 local time and wrapped up early evening with the ten Olympic, three Paralympic and Kiteboarding events completing their full race schedule.



New Zealand's Andy Maloney came out with intent in the Laser, taking the day one lead with a strong performance. As he explained: "We had good breeze between 10 and 15 knots. It was pretty shifty on the course but I had good pace and played the shifts and managed to come away with a first and second which is pretty solid. It was a good day.”

The Road to Rio is a hard one and as well as international threats, Maloney also has to contend with domestic rivals on his journey. With the likes of his compatriots Sam Meech, Mike Bullot and Thomas Saunders all capable of challenging for medals, Maloney feels no internal pressure: "It's good for us and the Australians to have a good squad and we're all pushing each other hard. It's exciting more than anything now in the Laser because it's coming down to the final part of the cycle so it's crunch time now.”

Yachting New Zealand named six crews for the Olympic Test Event on 18 May and stated, that it will consider nominations for the Laser following the World Cup Weymouth and Portland. A good performance by Maloney could go a long way for selection with Bullot in 15th, Saunders 20th and Sam Meech 21st after the opening day.

Nick Thompson of the British Sailing Team was not far off of Maloney's pace, finishing behind him in both races to end the day second overall. For Thompson – a four-time World Championship medallist – a winning performance at a home World Cup is a tempting target, but he has his eyes on other prizes in the coming weeks. “I have come so close to winning the World Cups and it would be really nice to win one on home waters,” the 28-year-old admitted.

“Having said that the World Championships are not too far away and obviously I am still working on a few some little things [for that]. To win the Worlds would mean a lot. It’s another case where I have come so close and not quite done it. So the Worlds are really the focus and, if selected, the Test Event. It would be nice to do well here however it’s all about Rio and the Worlds.”

“It really is a tough fleet,” said Thompson of the competition as this week’s regatta. “It’s very rare that you turn up to a Laser event and there aren’t several good guys there. We are missing a few, not many, but it is really nice to be back – for a lot of people it’s a bit of nostalgia from the Olympics and you can tell a lot of people are enjoying it. Weymouth’s delivering at the moment, nice sunshine and really good conditions and it’s nice to have everyone here.”

London 2012 Olympic Laser silver medallist Pavlos Kontides, Cyprus' only ever Olympic medallist, was almost as strong in Weymouth and Portland's conditions as he was three years ago. A seventh and a fourth puts him third overall, but he's got his eye on the top: "I'm satisfied with my performance and races today but there's still a long way to go and I hope to move up. Having 40 top guys with this new ISAF World Cup, the stakes are high.

"You have to push to the end and every race counts. You can win this event without winning any races. Consistency will prove vital in the end.”

The day's remaining race win went the way of Jesper Stalheim (SWE) who lies fourth overall.

Laser Radial

The last time Marit Bouwmeester (NED), Evi Van Acker (BEL) and Annalise Murphy (IRL) competed against each other at Weymouth and Portland they were locked in a battle for Olympic medals. Fast forward three years and they're fighting it out again at the ISAF Sailing World Cup.

Bouwmeester was assertive on the race course today, winning both races by a comfortable margin. The Dutch sailor, who won silver at London 2012, now sits atop the pile with Evi Van Acker, the London 2012 bronze medallist, trailing five points behind with a 3-2 scoreline.

Murphy came through in second in the opening race and followed it up with a sixth in Race 2. She is third on eight points. Great Britain's Alison Young sits fourth on 13 points.

49er and 49erFX

On the face of the 49er results it would be quick to assume that Polish leaders Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski were the stand-out performers of the day. However, regattas aren't won on the first day. It takes a consistent performance across five days of racing to come out on top and the most consistent team of the day were the first-placed John Pink and Stu Bithell (GBR).

The pair recorded a 8-3-9 scoreline and were the only team to record three single digit scores: "On the first day of the regatta it's always nice to start well and we're thrilled to bits with three top tens. We're fifth overall which is great and tomorrow brings another challenge because it's going to be windy and we'll be pushing on and hopefully get into that top three.

"It's a great fleet, the top boats in the world are here and no one is really missing. It's great that everyone is competing in the ISAF Sailing World Cup.”

Bithell won silver in the Men's 470 at London 2012 and on his home waters he knows what the venue is all about: "You could argue that I know Weymouth fairly well,” he said with a smile. "I've lived here for some years now, did the Olympic Games here and is there a home advantage,” he pondered, "yes there probably is but incidentally we don't always get the wind direction we had today.”

The Polish crew lead on seven points, with Pink and Bithell four points behind. London 2012 gold medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) and Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) are tied on 8 points in second and third.

Maiken Foght Schutt and Anne-Julie Schutt (DEN) lead the way in the women's 49erFX, on three points following scores of 6-2-1 (and one discard). Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) follow in second place on six points with Sarah Steyaert and Aude Compan (FRA), Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) and Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) all tied on seven points from third to fifth.

Men's and Women's RS:X

It's a British 1-2 in both the Men's RS:X and Women's RS:X. Nick Dempsey and Tom Squires are locked on three points apiece in the men's class while in an unexpected turnaoround Izzy Hamilton leads British no1 Bryony Shaw by a single point in the women's.

From three races Dempsey and his hodium Potential squad training partner Squires took a race victory each with the third place Mattia Camboni (ITA) taking the other.

"We had nice racing, very close,” exclaimed Dempsey. "Tom and I are quicker than the fleet. Our training's gone really well and we're starting to sail well. It's nice and quite good fun racing.”

The pair train together on a daily basis which has helped them in the build-up to the regatta as Dempsey explained: "It's nice having a competitive training partner. When we train we know we're training against one of the fastest people in the world. You never have to compensate. If you're beating Tom then you know you're going fast. That is what we've always missed having with our training partners so it's brilliant news. It's nice and quite good fun racing Tom.”

In the Women's RS:X, Hamilton enjoyed a solid day on the water, staying at the front of the pack notching up a 6-2-2 scoreline. "It was definitely my best first day at a World Cup so far,” said the smiling Hamilton, "I would love to be able to hold on to first for the whole week.

"It was really good racing and it's really nice to be racing at home. Weymouth is a fantastic venue and it's really great to be back here.”

With the RS:X European Championships coming up the week after this ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland, Hamilton is using this week’s competition as a springboard.“This week is a really good training opportunity for us, because we go to our Europeans pretty much the day after the event finishes so it’s a bit of a warm-up regatta for that. Lots of goals and lots of learning points!” she concluded.

Shaw is a point off of Hamilton after her 4-1-4 with London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Tuuli Petaja-Siren third overall. The day's race wins went to Joanna Sterling (AUS), Shaw and Ingrid Puusta (EST).


Andrew Murdoch (NZL) opened his Weymouth and Portland account with a strong display in the Finn, notching up a 3-2 to lead the 24-boat fleet. Murdoch, a 2012 OIympian in the Laser, used his experience to full effect at the front of the fleet to open up a four point lead over France's London 2012 bronze medallist Jonathan Lobert.

Finn favourite Giles Scott (GBR) claimed the opening race victory but followed it up with an uncharacteristic 12th, to finish third overall. The World Champion fell foul of a big wind shift in the unusual northeasterly wind conditions across Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour: “I didn’t really have a great race and it was pretty frustrating, but it was good to come away with a win in the first one which keeps me in the mix towards the top of the leader board. It would have been nice to come away with two consistent results but that didn’t happen but hopefully tomorrow will be a bit better.”

The remaining race victory to Josh Junior (NZL) who lies sixth overall, just three points off the third placed Scott.

Men's and Women's 470

It's like London 2012 repeated in the Women's 470 with the gold and silver medallists occupying the same spots they claimed three years ago: Gold medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) dominated the day by taking both bullets while silver Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) were forced to look at the back of the Kiwi boat in both races as they settled for two seconds.

“We had a really good day today. It was really tricky, so to come off the water with two seconds is a really solid day and we will take that any day,” Clark reflected.

“The wind was right off the cliffs,” Mills continued. “Our windward mark was right up under the cliffs. So the top of the beat was very shifty – there were people capsizing upwind just on a shift that hit their boat.”

Mills and Clark are hoping their strong start will continue this week, so they can add to their podium finishes at the Miami World Cup and the Princess Sofia Trophy earlier this year.

“This is the first big event in Weymouth since the Olympics, which is cool in itself,” said Mills. “Every event is important but to perform on home waters is a biggie. We have come here to try and up our game and get on the top of the podium.”

Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) sit in third after the opening two races following a 4-3.

In the Men's 470, Stu McNay and David Hughes (USA) have a tasty six point lead over World #1 Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE). A fourth and a second gives them the lead at the early stage but with their experience, they won't be getting carried away.

Victories on the day went to the Greeks and Ferdinand Gerz and Oliver Szymanski (GER) who are sixth overall.

Nacra 17

As of 19:20 local time, Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT) lead the way in the Nacra 17, however, many of the competitors sailed the wrong course in Race 1 with Race Committee protests and vice versa. A handful of protests remain open that may result in further amendments.

As it stands the Austrians top the pile on four points followed by Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI) and Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS).

Paralympic Events

London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR) began her World Cup campaign with intent. Double bullets give her a two point lead over Antonio Squizzato (ITA) who finished directly behind the Briton in both of the days races. Malaysia's Al Mustakim Matrin sits in third overall.

In the SKUD18, Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti (ITA) and Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) are level on three points. The Italian and British teams shared the top two places on the day, taking a bullet and a second apiece. Will Street and Megan Pascoe (GBR) are third overall.

It is tight at the top in the Sonar with four crews locked on five points. Norway's Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen took the opening bullet of the day and followed it up by a fourth. John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) took the second bullet of the day but like the Norwegians also count a fourth. Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) and John Twomey, Austrin O'Carroll and Ian Costelloe (IRL) notched up a second and a third each and are also tied with the Norwegian and Irish crews.

The ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland is part of UK Sport’s #EveryRoadtoRio events series, which will feature over 30 world class sports events the length and breadth of the UK, with over 900,000 tickets available to the British public to support their athletes.

Racing continues on Thursday 11 June, with the Paralympic Classes concluding on Saturday 13 June and the final ten boat medal races for the Olympic Classes on Sunday 14 June.


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