Stakes are raised for GB sailors

Dorset Echo: ONE-POINT LEAD: Portland’s Giles Scott in the Finn fleet ONE-POINT LEAD: Portland’s Giles Scott in the Finn fleet

GREAT Britain’s sailors lead in five out of 11 classes after three days of racing at the Princess Sofia World Cup regatta in Palma, but the stakes are now raised heading into the second half of the week.

With the International Sailing Federation trialling a new scoring system at this World Cup event, sailors will effectively disregard their race scores to date, and carry forward just their overall position into the final series.

It means that Portland’s Alison Young’s 11-point lead over Denmark’s Sarah Gunni at the top of the Laser Radial fleet is now reduced to just one point heading into the final three days of racing.

The island sailor won her fifth consecutive qualifying series race amid lighter winds yesterday, and scored a fourth in race six to continue her impressive form at this first European World Cup event of the season, while British team sailors are also topping the leaderboards in the Finn, 470 women, 49er and 2.4mR classes.

Portland’s Giles Scott will take a one-point lead in to the final series of the Finn fleet, with team-mates Andrew Mills and Mark Andrews currently in third and sixth overall, while Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre continue their good form at their first event together in the 470 women’s event. They lead the 43-boat fleet, scoring three and nine on the water yesterday.

Two race wins and a second from the day, sees Portland’s Megan Pascoe at the top of the standings in the 2.4mR Paralympic class, while Luke Pat-ience, also from the island, and Joe Glanfield advanced to second overall in the 470 men’s fleet with a second and a race win under their belts for their last day of the qualifying series.

Patience said of the lighter sea breeze conditions: “It’s nice to not just be pulling the control lines as hard as you can and there’s a bit more finesse in the racing.

“That’s the qualifying over and those six races we’ve now done counts for just one race, and for some people in the fleet that’s a discard so the whole first three days is really kind of irrelevant. “Luckily for us we’ve had a good first six races and we’re second overall, so we’ve got a second. It was nice to get a lighter breeze.

“The conditions have just been gorgeous this week so far. We couldn’t have asked for much more and we’ve had good fun for our first time together in a big fleet like this.”

Weymouth’s Bryony Shaw is third overall going into the final series for the RS:X women’s windsurfing fleet, while Ben Saxton and Hannah Dia-mond are currently the best-placed British crew in the new Nacra 17 multihull fleet. They’re fourth overall, with Pippa Wilson and John Gimson in sixth – the same position occupied by Wey-mouth’s Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth after seven races in the new 49erFX class.

Exmouth pairing Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes are leading the 49er fleet at their first event back since the London Olympics, with Dave Evans and Ed Powys currently in second.

* Follow the British Sailing Team’s progress at the Princess Sofia World Cup Regatta at britishsailingteam.com or on Twitter @BritishSailing

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