'Brutal conditions' in a test of survival on Thursday in Rio
The previous word of the day was ‘tricky’. The word of the day for those that went out to sea on day four was ‘survival.
The Olympic sailing competition again produced the extremes of flat water and shifty conditions on the inshore courses with the giant wind and size-of-a-house waves out on the seaward courses. This regatta is testing every extreme of a sailor’s ability, which some argue is exactly what the Olympic competition should be.
After four brutal three-lap races for the Nacra 17 fleet, two teams sit tied at the top on equal points. The Australian crew’s two race wins put Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) in first place ahead of Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR), while in third place and nine points behind the leaders is the Italian crew of Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri. “There were moments with very hard winds and others with just 10-12 knots,” said Sicouri. “So it’s been very important to have the skills to perform and always keep the balance on board. I’m happy to have a rest day tomorrow, because after four races with three laps each we are tired. There’s still half the championship ahead and we will fight until the end.”
Overnight leaders Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI) struggled to get to grips with the stronger conditions on the Ponte course and have fallen to seventh overall. The four-time World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) finished the day where they started, in 15th place. Besson’s back injury couldn’t have flared up at a worse time, and one of the hot favourites for gold have seen their dreams shattered after two gruelling days for the injured sailor.
Nacra 17 racing resumes on Saturday 13 August at 13:00 local time.
By Andy Rice – World Sailing