The leaderboards across the ten events on show at the Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2014 are starting to take shape following four days of competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Medal Race places have been decided in the Men's and Women's RS:X fleets whilst the top batch of Olympic sailors have cemented their spots in the top places of the remaining fleets.
Tuesday's rain was replaced with sunshine and a cool 15 knot breeze across the five race areas. The waves remained on the outside courses whilst shifty conditions on the inside courses was present, ensuring firm tests of tactical nous.
Men's and Women's RS:X
Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) and Charline Picon (FRA) solidified their spot at the top of the Men's and Women's RS:X leaderboards.
Picon was dominant once again in the Women's fleet and with a strong racing day that included a bullet, a second and a fourth. She has opened up a 16 point lead ahead of the Medal Race on Thursday 7 August. Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) sits second on 29 points whilst Marina Alabau (ESP) is third on 40 points.
Picon has a medal in the bag but the colour is to be decided in the Medal Race but with such a strong lead it would take a disastrous day for the French racer to lose grip on top spot.
Van Rijsselberge has a narrow advantage in the Men's fleet and leads Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) by just three points.
The leading duo were unable to find their form from their previous two days of racing as Kokkalanis explained his day, “It was not such a good day unlike yesterday. I had a seventh, eighth and a second. It was kind of tricky. It was all about the first upwind and I couldn't find myself. I'm still happy, still in second place and tomorrow is the Medal Race and I hope everything will go well.”
Whilst every racer wants to win, no matter what the event, the Aquece Rio has been a learning curve for the sailors. Kokkalanis concluded, “We haven't raced in a lot of different conditions. We need to train here a lot more to master this place. What I saw yesterday was that it can be really tricky. There are some changes on the course because the surroundings are strange with the mountains so we need to train in this place.”
Polish London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Przemyslaw Miarczynski occupies the final podium spot on 30 points with plenty to play for on the final day.
Men's RS:X Medal Racing will commence at 13:00 on Pão de Açucar with the Women's RS:X fleet following at 13:40 on the same race area.
Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) were dominant in the Nacra 17 as they took three race victories from four races.
The French pair are seven points clear of Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond (GBR) in second place and Besson was visibly pleased with his day, “The day was really windy and shifty but for us it was great,” smiled Besson. “We learnt that the wind is never the same as the forecast. It was a bit windier and it was really difficult but we learnt a lot about the racing area.”
For all of the fleet the event is about learning and every day is a school day as Besson added, “We are just looking everywhere, seeing everything and finding out about the venue.”
Saxton and Diamond advanced to second overall following a steady day that included three second place finishes and a fourth. Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) drop to third, three points off the Brits.
Australia's Tom Burton held on to his Laser lead after a fantastic day from Nick Thompson (GBR). The British racer smashed it up on the Copacabana course taking both of the day's race wins.
Burton leads by a single point after an up and down day, “I started off reasonably good with a third,” explained the Aussie, “but then I got a little bit mixed up and bounced around and maybe finished early teens so not that great.
“Yesterday was pretty steady with the big waves and shifts. It was a little bit skewed with the breeze but there were a few more shifts today. It's very similar to what we've had in training so we kind of expected it.
“Everyone is talking about a light wind venue but the first two days have been pretty breezy. It's very shifty and very predictable sometimes and unpredictable other times. It's hard to judge what we'll get but everyone faces the same obstacles. There's going to be big scores but tight racing as well.”
Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) is third overall on 18 points.
Despite picking up a 21st place finish Ireland's Annalise Murphy moved into pole position in the Laser Radial. Racing on the big Copacabana race course waves, the Irish sailor had a poor opening race but hit back in the second of the day, picking up a third.
On her day Murphy said, “I messed up the first race. I wasn't feeling so good in that big swell. I hit a mark and went for a swim as well so that was pretty frustrating but I came back good in the second race. I fought back to second by last reach but then I got a bit high and Anne Marie [Rindom (DEN)] got by me but it was really fun out there. The waves were really big, sun was shining and the wind was in so it was good.”
Like Burton in the Laser, Murphy was quick to echo his point on Rio's conditions, “I think the last two days the waves are probably the biggest I've ever raced in. It's not what you'd be expecting when coming to Rio as people have been saying it's a light wind venue. We've had quite a good breeze over the last two days and huge waves and it's difficult but it's something we're all going to have to learn and get used to.”
Marit Bouwmeester was the standout performer in the 25-boat Laser Radial fleet and notched up double bullets. Her opening three races were not quite up to the high standard she sets herself but she bounced back and is fifth overall.
Rindom is three points behind Murphy on 13 points with Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) in third.
Men's and Women's 470
The 470 fleets remained outside Guanabara Bay but switched from Copacabana to the Niteroi race track.
It was business as usual for Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) as they continued their fine run of the form. From two races the Australians picked up a bullet and a third and have an 11 point advantage over Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR).
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) advanced to the top of the Women's 470 leaderboard after notching up double bullets. The Kiwis lead on six points. Overnight leaders Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) consolidated their excellent opening day with a fourth and a discarded sixth and trail Aleh and Powrie by three points. Great Britain's Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) are a point behind the Americans in third.
49er / 49erFX
There is no change in the top three of the 49erFX with Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) top of the pack followed by Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) and Olivia Price and Eliza Solly (AUS).
The Brazilians weren't quite on top form early on in the day on Ponte course as they picked up a ninth from the opening race. They bounced back with a bullet and a third to lead the Kiwis by five points. Maloney and Meech picked up a 2-5-2 scoreline whilst the Australians recorded a bullet, a fourth and a sixth.
Changes are afoot in the 49er fleet as Julien D'Ortoli and Noe Delpech (FRA) marched up the leaderboard to take top spot. A first and a fourth leaves them on 16 points going into the fifth day, two ahead of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL).
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) took two mid fleet finishes, leaving them third overall on 19 points.
Giles Scott (GBR) was on top form in the Finn fleet and posted double bullets and a fourth. The British sailor has opened up an 18 point advantage over Jonathan Lobert (FRA) who has progressed up to second overall. Ed Wright (GBR) is a single point behind Lobert.
Racing resumes at 13:00 on Thursday 7 August. Four races are scheduled in the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 with three in the remaining fleets.