With Britain’s two defending gold medallists taking a lay day in their events it was the Team GB wannabe medalists who took centre stage at Weymouth on Wednesday.
Ben Ainslie holding second in the Finn event and Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson leading the Star event had a rest day Wednesday before they start the second stage of their defence of the titles they won in Quingdo in 2008.
So the focus switched from the old guard to the new.
First up were the 49er Pair, Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes. They dipped out in Qingdao, finishing ninth and have had a rocky start to their 2012 competition. Despite the brave face put on their capsize Tuesday, today was an important day if they were to stand any chance of making the podium.
And there was a definite sense of relief as they came ashore to face the media after a top class performance that produced fourth and second place finishes from races 5 and 6, and moved them into fifth overall and within striking distance of the leaders.
Next up were the RS:X board sailors. Nick Dempsey is at his fourth Olympic Games, winning a bronze at Athens in 2004.
With a “steady start" (code for not as good as expected) Dempsey has had to watch the gold surfing away with a Dutchman, Dorian Van Rijsselberge who won the first three races. Wednesday Dempsey broke that sequence by winning race 6 and is now in third overall, although Rijsselberge has opened a 12 point gap. There are still seven races to go so the dream is still alive.
But even at this early stage the golden dream could be fading for Bryony Shaw in the womens RS:X event.
After four races Shaw is in sixth and 21 points off the leader Marina Alabau of Spain who has won three of the first four races. In 2008 Shaw was in a similar position and even made it worse by getting an OCS in race 5. But still managed to make the podium for a Bronze with a late charge in the second half of the series. Time to start the charge . . .
In the Laser event Paul Goodison is another of our defending champions from 2008.
Faced this time with a Tom Slingsby, who has had his own nightmares at Olympics, but is seemingly OK this time round. And, an on form Cypriot, Pavlos Kontides – who sailed out of Hayling Island SC when he finished 5th in the Laser Worlds there – Goodison who started with a 10, 23, 16, has strangely improved since injuring his back and after a 2, 4, 9, lifted himself up to sixth after six races, although some way off the leaders. The wind strength may decide this one.
And leaving the best to last we have a complete new comer to the team, Alison Young.
After the standard Team GB “steady start” Young took three second place finishes to be in fourth place overall after six races and still within striking distance of race leader Annalise Murphy of Ireland. Having a liking for stronger winds we shall have to hope that the forecasts favour her. Her gain may be Goodison's pain.
1 August 2012 23:03