Aussie Women’s Match Racers make perfect start to London 2012 campaign
Racing is underway in the sailing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Australian crews in action in two classes on day one.
Australia’s Women’s Match Racing crew of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty kicked off their London 2012 campaign in perfect fashion with two wins from two races.
The Australian trio is currently in a three-way tie for the lead, alongside their Spanish and Russian competitors.
Price and crew began the day with a strong win against the current World Champion Finnish crew, led by Silja Lehtinen, on the Nothe course in front of a large spectator crowd. The Australians led throughout the race after good pre-start manouvring.
Next up the Australians faced Claire Leroy from France, who they beat to win the Sail for Gold Regatta at the same venue last month.
The French led narrowly on the first downwind when the Australian crew forced a penalty for a rule infringement. The Australians sailed a smart race to stay in close touch with the French and pounced for the win as the French had to execute their penalty turn just before the finish.
On Monday Price, Curtis and Whitty will face off against the 2011 World Champion American and 2010 World Champion British crews.
The Finns were the first fleet in action at London 2012, completing one race on the Nothe spectator course before moving offshore for race two.
Australia’s Brendan Casey had a mixed day on the water, being forced to retire from race one with boat damage but bouncing back well in race two to cross the line seventh.
“I made an unforced error and capsized the boat,” said Casey. “While righting the boat deck and gunnel were pulled apart and it was filling with water. I had to retire from the race and prepare it for the next one.
“We ‘Macgyvered’ the boat back together with a roll of duct tape and tried to get as much water out of it as possible, I then calmed myself down and tried to put a good race two together,” said. Casey was in third position for the early part of the race but lost some ground on the two downwind legs to finish seventh.
The results leave Casey 16th overall after the opening two races, with races three and four scheduled for Monday.
“Luckily it’s a long event, you can come back from this position, it’s a matter of scoring consistent results,” said Casey. “I’ve got one, a seventh, that’s fantastic, so we regroup tonight, let the shore team do their job and follow the normal routine, come down in the morning and get back into it.”
Day two of competition is set to be a busy one for Australia’s sailors with crews racing in five classes.
While the Finn and Women’s Match Racing competition continues the Laser, Laser Radial and 49er classes get underway.
Tom Slingsby is representing Australia in the Laser fleet, in the Laser Radial it’s Krystal Weir and Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen line up in the 49ers.
For more on Australia’s sailors visit www.australiansailingteam.com.au and follow the team on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AusSailingTeam and Facebook at www.facebook.com/AustralianSailingTeam.