Brilliant Bryony races to a treble

Dorset Echo: LEADING LADY: Bryony Shaw LEADING LADY: Bryony Shaw

BRYONY Shaw won three race wins on the opening day of the Sail For Gold Regatta.

Shaw, who is competing at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy for the first time since finishing seventh at last summer’s Olympic Games, was in fine form from the word go, picking up a hat-trick of successes in the RS:X 8.5 fleet.

She said: “Yesterday was a great day for me. I managed to win all three races in the mixed conditions, so it was a great start.

“The wind started off easterly with quite a bit of pressure, maybe enabling some planning at times, and then it made a big shift to the south which meant the course was re-jigged, but we managed to get three good races.”

Shaw enters the event off the back of taking a silver and gold at the last two World Cup events in Hyeres and Palma, after also winning silver at the RS:X World Championships 2013 in Brazil.

The 30-year-old said: “This week is good preparation for the RS:X Europeans in a few weeks and it’s also just nice to be back racing in Weymouth and Portland again.”

Elsewhere, there was a mixed bag on day one. The 195 sailors from 22 nations saw light and shifty conditions for the third stage of the EUROSAF Cham-pions Sailing Cup.

The 2.4mR, Sonar and Nacra 17 classes all completed a full day of three races apiece while the RS:X 8.5 and 9.5 windsurfers, 49er and 49erFX completed three of their four scheduled races, the Finns finished two while the Lasers and Laser Radials only managed the one race.

In the RS:X 9.5 event, Wey-mouth’s Nick Dempsey started with a DNF followed by two firsts but it’s Elliot Carney (GBR) who tops the leaderboard after three races with 1-3-2.

Meanwhile, in the 49er two-person skiff event, one of the British new duos John Pink and Simon Wheeler top the billing after a 2-6-1 from yesterday’s efforts, giving them a two-point cushion over Japan’s Yukio Makino and Kenji Takahashi, who sit sec- ond.

London 2012 silver medallist Stuart Bithell currently lies in third with his crew Chris Grube.

Charlotte Dobson, who this week is sailing with Nicola Groves as part of the British four-boat squad rotation system where the helms and crews have been rotating between events before deciding on the best-fit combinations, posted two firsts and fifth in the 49erFX class.

Joining the 49erFX in its Sail for Gold Regatta event debut is the mixed-multihull Nacra 17 class. Poole’s Lucy Macgregor and her crew Tom Phipps, started with a bang posting two bullets and a fourth to open up a four-point lead over Rupert White and Niki Boniface.

In the Paralympic 2.4mR class class, GB occupy first and second with Helena Lucas and Port-land’s Megan Pascoe’s healthy battle blossoming once again as the pair jostle for top spot.

Lucas had the best of the day however, scoring a second in the opening race followed by two race wins, while Pascoe, who pipped Lucas to the Delta Lloyd Regatta gold medal by a single point last month, finished the day with 1-3-2.

In the second Paralympic event, Portland’s Niki Birrell, who is competing in the three- person Sonar event with his able-bodied team-mates Tom Peel and Richard Mason, takes the over-night lead with two firsts and a second, in front of Team GB’s John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas.

Racing is scheduled to start at 11am today with light winds forecast.

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