WEYMOUTH’S Charlotte Dobson and Mary Rook made the best of a change in conditions at the ISAF World Cup in Hyeres, mastering the increase in breeze to take two race wins and the overall lead in the 49erFX class.
The 470 duo of Portland’s Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield, and 49er pairing of Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign also top their respective leaderboards after this first day of finals series racing, where both the wind speeds and the stakes were raised.
After a light wind start to this fourth and final World Cup series event of the 2012-13 season, yesterday made for an easier day for race officials, with 17-20 knot conditions allowing the schedule to run to time.
Dobson and Rook, racing together for the first time under the British Sailing Team’s squad rotation system in the new women’s skiff event, admitted they were looking forward to the change of pace at the close of racing on Tuesday, and they got what they wished for. They recorded a fifth in their opening race of the day before bringing home two consecutive race wins to take a four-point lead at the top of the 49erFX standings.
“We’re not really too focused on the results, although you’re a competitive person so they are pretty much always on your mind – even though you say to your coach they’re not.” laughed the 26-year-old Dobson, who’s made the step into the two-person 49erFX from the single-handed Laser Radial for the Rio cycle.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said of the challenge in the new class. “The learning curve is literally vertical, every day is a learning day and that’s what’s making it really rewarding at the moment. You can really see the steps you’re making forward every single day.”
Dobson and Rook are joined inside the top eight by British team-mates Penny Clark-Sophie Ainsworth in seventh, and Frances Peters-Nicole Groves in eighth.
Meanwhile, Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign reclaimed the top spot of the 49er standings on Wednesday, in spite of a premature start disqualification in the second of their three races.
Patience and Glanfield saw a tough start to their first day of the finals series, having to re-tie their jib when it fell down in the opening race of the day – they finished 24th but atoned for their first race blip with a second in the second race and maintain the leader’s yellow bibs for a second day.
Bryony Shaw is in equal first after another solid day in the RS:X women’s windsurfing fleet. She posted a first and a fourth from her two races and although there are three days of racing still to go, she has an eye on continuing the run of podium form which saw her claim World Championship silver in March, and World Cup silver earlier this month in Palma.
In the Finn class, Andrew Mills had the most consistent day of the British team sailors, with two thirds seeing him into sixth overall. Portland’s Giles Scott is in second overall, poised one point behind Dutchman Pieter Jan Postma, while Ed Wright is in fifth overall with a race win rounding off his day.
Palma World Cup winner Alison Young started her finals series with a bang. The Portland-based sailor picked up a race win and a second in the Laser Radial class, and moves up to fourth overall, with teammate Chloe Martin in ninth.
In the Paralympic 2.4mR event, Portland’s Megan Pascoe has improved to second overall, just one point ahead of Paralympic champion Helena Lucas in third.
The Sonar trio of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas are fifth overall in the three-person Paralympic class.