On the opening day of the Paralympic Sailing Regatta at Weymouth and Portland British sailors won races in both the Skud and 2.4mR races. In the Skud Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell finished second behind the Aussie pair, Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch in the first race and then reversed the result in the second. In the first 2.4mR Helena Lucas was second behind Damien Seguin of France and then won the second race ahead of Thierry Schmitter of the Netherlands to take the overall lead.
Later in the 2.4mR, Damien Seguin (FRA) was disqualified from Race 2 following a right of way protest called by Paul Tingley (CAN). The protest was upheld. This means Thierry Schmitter (NED) now sits second overall behind Helena Lucas (GBR) in first, with Heiko Kroger (GER) in third. Lucas holds a four point lead over Schmitter.
Helene Lucas: “It’s a solid start to the first day, which is great. It’s always good to get the regatta off to a good start. It was really close racing, that last race was so close coming down to the finish and actually it was really good fun. Trying to just work the boat, catch that last wave to get over the line.
In the Sonar keelboat Britain's John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas finished fourth in their first race. Winner was the Australian team of Colin Harrison with the French team of Bruno Jourdren second and Paul Callahan of the USA third. In race 2, Jens Kroker of Germany took the gun with Udo Hessels of the Netherlands in second and Harrison taking third to retain the overall lead.
Robertson finished eighth in race 2 which places the Btitish team in sixth overall after two races.
In an incident at the start of race two, which, ultimately unsuccessfully, saw the Brits in the protest room, claiming they had been disadvantaged by a race committee error. The Australian team clearly jumped the gun at the start of race two, and returned to re-start as permitted by the rules. However the race team failed to remove the recall flag, causing the Brits to believe that they too had started too early.
Yet as they were on their way back to the line the flag was lowered, suggesting there were no other boats that had jumped the gun asides from the Aussies, costing the Brits precious seconds. The race committee admitted there had been a delay in lowering the recall flag but the jury ruled that the race committee's error, combined with the Brits delaying their own response to the flag, had not made Britain’s finishing position significantly worse.
Robertson said: “Potentially redress would have given us average points or time back, and that could make quite a big difference at the end of the week, so we’re fighting for every point where we can. But tomorrow is just another day’s racing. Spirits were high today, even when it was at times a bit sketchy, because that’s racing.”
Alexandra Rickham - Skud: “It’s a good start, a solid start. We feel good but it’s only day one so we don’t read anything into it at all. It’s where we wanted to be. The first race was a bit difficult, to take the loss on the line, that was hard. Clearly it’s going to be a bit of a battle with the Australians as it stands at the moment. We’re just looking forward to the rest of the regatta and taking each day as it comes. Tomorrow we start with a zero score in our heads and try and do it again.”
All three classes will sail two races on Sunday.
2.4mR - Paralympic Sailing, after race 2
1 GBR LUCAS Helena 2 1 3 pts
2 GER KROGER Heiko 3 3 6 pts
3 NED SCHMITTER Thierry 4 2 6 pts
4 AUS BUGG Matthew 8 4 12 pts
5 USA LEBLANC Mark 5 8 13 pts
6 CAN TINGLEY Paul 6 7 13 pts
7 NOR ERIKSTAD Bjornar 7 6 13 pts
8 ITA OLMI Fabrizio 10 5 15 pts
9 FRA SEGUIN Damien 1 17 18 pts
10 PUR REGUERO Julio 9 9 18 pts
11 FIN SALOMAA Niko 11 13 24 pts
12 ARG FERNANDEZ OCAMPO Juan 12 12 24 pts
13 NZL FRANCIS Paul 14 10 24 pts
14 GRE DELIKOURAS Georgios 15 11 26 pts
15 DEN ANDERSEN Jens Als 13 14 27 pts
16 ESP LLOBET Francisco 16 15 31 pts
SKUD 18 - Paralympic Sailing, after race 2
1 AUS FITZGIBBON Daniel / TESCH Liesl 1 2 3 pts
2 GBR RICKHAM Alexandra / BIRRELL Niki 2 1 3 pts
3 CAN McROBERTS John / LOUTTIT Stacie 4 3 7 pts
4 USA FRENCH Jen / CREIGNOU Jp 3 5 8 pts
5 ITA GUALANDRIS Marco / ZANETTI Marta 5 4 9 pts
6 ISR ZEHAVI Hagar / BEN YAKOV Shimon 6 7 13 pts
7 SIN TAN Jovin / LIM Desiree 8 6 14 pts
8 ESP LOPEZ RODRIGUEZ Carolina / ALVAREZ ORTIZ de URBINA Fernando 7 10 17 pts
9 NZL DEMPSEY Tim / APEL Jan 9 9 18 pts
10 MAS BALAWI Nurul Amilin / MATRIN Al Mustakim 10 8 18 pts
11 BRA LANDGRAF Bruno / CUNHA Elaine 11 11 22 pts
Sonar - Paralympic Sailing, after race 2
1 AUS HARRISON Colin 1 3 4 pts
2 FRA JOURDREN Bruno 2 5 7 pts
3 GER KROKER Jens 6 1 7 pts
4 USA CALLAHAN Paul 3 6 9 pts
5 NED HESSELS Udo 8 2 10 pts
6 GBR ROBERTSON John 4 8 12 pts
7 CAN MILLAR Bruce 5 9 14 pts
8 NOR WANG-HANSEN Aleksander 10 4 14 pts
9 ITA SQUIZZATO Antonio 7 11 18 pts
10 IRL TWOMEY John 11 7 18 pts
11 ISR COHEN Dror 9 13 22 pts
12 GRE CHRISTOFOROU Vasilis 12 10 22 pts
13 AUT REIGER Sven 13 12 25 pts
14 JPN YAMAMOTO Shinya 14 14 28 pts
1 September 2012 12:27