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SAILING: GB pairings hold on to Santander leads
3:00pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in Sport
SANTANDER delivered a full day of racing at the Sailing World Championship test event yesterday, with British multihull duo Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond and the 470 men’s pairing of Portland’s Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield holding on to their overall regatta leads.
World silver medallists Saxton and Diamond continue their schooling in the new Nacra 17 class, introduced this season as the new mixed catamaran for the 2016 Games, and are relishing the testing conditions that the northern Spanish venue has thrown up this week.
“It’s good to be here, and it’s exactly what we want – to be here racing ready for next year,” helmsman Saxton explained.
“It’s definitely different to what we’ve been sailing in recently,” Diamond added. “There are some pretty big waves out there which is something we haven’t been training in since Palma at the beginning of the season, so we’re definitely trying to get used to that.
“It changes the boat-handling and how you sail the boat massively so we’ll take as much as we can from this week.”
Southampton-based Saxton and Diamond, from Warsash, had a tricky first race, finishing fifth in conditions Saxton described as a ‘lottery’ before pulling back to finish third and first in their second and third races to maintain their overall lead.
The young British Sailing Team Podium Potential duo of Rupert White and Nikki Boniface gave a good account of themselves with two seconds and a fifth to see them in third place overall at the end of the second day of racing for the multihull fleet.
In spite of a disappointing European Championship last month, at which Saxton said ‘anything that could have gone wrong did go wrong’, he and Diamond are happy with their progress in the new class this year.
“Everyone’s pushing [the boat] really quite hard which I thought might take another year,” the 23-year-old Saxton admitted, “but we are more on the pace than we probably expected with neither of us having done cat sailing before.
“We expected to be punished on boat-handling and stuff, but we’re really quite quick and on boat-handling we’re at scratch with the rest of the fleet. It’s cool being part of the team and being well-supported, it helps to move things forward quite quickly.”
The 470 men’s fleet was the last to hit the shore with Patience and Glanfield holding on to their overall lead with a 6,2 making up for a discardable 16th in the last of their day’s three races.
Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre advanced to third after a three and four from their two races in the 470 women’s fleet.
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark remain in overall fourth, with a nine and three from their day and with Mills joking that the pair had an ‘absolute foiling tack of a first race!’ in reference to Oracle Team USA’s tactical error in the America’s Cup racing on Tuesday.
Today sees the start of racing for the Laser and Laser Radial fleets at this Santander City Trophy, with newly-crowned Radial European bronze medallist Alison Young, plus Chloe Martin, Hannah Snellgrove and Rheanna Pavey flying the flag for the British Sailing Team, and Nick Thompson, Alex Mills Barton and Martin Evans in action in the men’s Laser Standard event.
Medal races are scheduled to take place for the 470 Men, 470 Women and Finn classes on Saturday, with medal races for all other classes on Sunday.
The 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander will form part of the country qualification process for the 2016 Olympic Games.
For full regatta results and information visit santander2014.com
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