Sailing: British sailors impress in Rio 2016 test event

TOUGH TEST: Luke Patience and Elliot Willis in action in the 470 class on day three of the Aquece Rio International Regatta

TOUGH TEST: Luke Patience and Elliot Willis in action in the 470 class on day three of the Aquece Rio International Regatta

First published in Sport

RIO de Janiero marked its two-year countdown to the 2016 Olympic Games with a full day of competition at the first sailing test event on Guanabara Bay yesterday.

In spite of the milestone celebrations being held across the city, it was business as usual for the 324 sailors from 34 nations on the third day of this Aquece Rio International Regatta.

After a day confined to the shore on Monday due to light winds, the Brazilian Olympic host city saw a change in conditions on Guanabara Bay and an ambitious schedule across all 10 classes and five race courses.

The 470 fleets experienced what Olympic and European silver medallist Hannah Mills described as an ‘epic’ swell for the three races on their Copacabana race course yesterday, with her and Saskia Clark enjoying a great start their regatta.

They picked up a race win, a third and a seventh to sit second overall after their first day of racing.

In the 470 men’s fleet, Elliot Willis and Luke Patience also had a solid first two races of their regatta, before a jib halyard breakage meant a premature end to the third race and a trip back to shore.

“It’s annoying because I replaced that on Saturday, so it was brand new,” said Patience, who ended the day third overall with Willis. “It’s frustrating as it was completely unforeseen gear failure. I don’t know why it snapped so we’ll find out.”

In the Finn fleet, Giles Scott tops the leaderboard after five races, with Ed Wright in fifth, while Nick Thompson enjoyed a good start to his event.

He is in second place overall after the first day of the Laser competition.

Alison Young marked her returned to competition in the Laser Radial class with a steady set of three sixth places.

British Sailing Team crews in the 49er and 49erFX men’s and women’s skiff fleets also had a steady opening day.

Four races were completed in each event, with Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign fifth and John Pink and Stuart Bithell sixth in the men’s 49er event.

Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth opened their account with a solid run of results to see them fifth after their first day of 49erFX racing, while Frances Peters and Nicola Groves posted four top-10 results to put them ninth.

Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond sailed a consistent first day in the Nacra 17 class, they were fifth overnight, while Bryony Shaw improved to sixth in the women’s RS:X windsurfing with the help of a race win in her second of three races.

In the men’s windsurfing, Nick Dempsey’s day improved as it went on.

Having broken a mast before the first race of the day, he ended it with a third place in the final race to see him in 10th overall with two days of competition left.

Competition at the Aquece Rio International Regatta continues across all 10 classes today.

The medal race deciders will take place tomorrow (RS:X men, RS:X women), Friday (Finn, 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17) and Saturday (470 men, 470 women, Laser, Laser Radial).

Full results can be found at aquecerio.com/en/competitions/international-sailing-regatta-2014

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