Sailing: Scott passes Rio Test in golden style

GREAT SCOTT: Giles Scott celebrates Finn class victory

GREAT SCOTT: Giles Scott celebrates Finn class victory

First published in Sport

GILES Scott opened Great Britain’s medal tally at the Rio Olympic Test Event, taking Finn class victory with a day to spare.

The 27-year-old Portland-based European champion extended his lead over the 17-boat fleet with another race win and a fourth place from Thursday’s two races at the Aquece Rio International Regatta to take an unassailable 25 point margin heading in to Friday’s final medal race for the heavyweight dinghy class.

Scott’s performance on the 2016 waters saw him win five of the ten fleet races so far, and extends his unbeaten regatta run to six since he made his return to the class in September following an America’s Cup campaign.

“Ultimately the next two years is all about winning races in Rio and to be able to prove that two years out [from the Games] is a big step forward,” Scott admitted.

“The week’s gone pretty well. It’s been a pretty windy week which was unexpected in all honesty, but it’s been great and we managed to complete a full series so it’s been a very good week. “Yesterday I did well – I got a one and a four which I was pretty pleased with.

“The first race was a bit lighter than the series has been, so I was really happy to come away with a race win from that. I was quite happy with how my speed was in that one.

"In the second race I had to keep a little bit of an eye on the Brazilian because he could have finished within 19 points I think, but as it turned out it worked out well.”

“I’m really happy,” said Scott of his points margin heading into the final day.

“It allows me to have a bit of a relaxed approach to today, which I suppose is good and bad in some ways, but I’m looking forward to the medal race today and going racing again.”

The RS:X windsurfers concluded their regatta yesterday, with Bryony Shaw and Weymouth’s Nick Dempsey in action for the British Sailing Team.

Both sailors finished their medal races in fifth place, with light and shifty winds providing a tough and physical test on the Sugarloaf course, with Shaw ending her event just off the podium in fourth place.

The world number two says her Rio experiences have spurred her on ahead of the World Championships in Santander next month.

“You’re always hungry when you finish fourth – it’s a frustrating place to finish, but having finished on a high in the medal race here it shows it’s not over until the last race, and the medal race can change everything.

“I want to sail well enough in Santander that I’m not risking a medal come the medal race – it’s about putting a really good series together.

“We’ve done some time out in Santander – I know the kind of venue it’s going to be and we’ve done some really good prep for that, so it’s about routines in Weymouth and just knuckling down.”

Dempsey’s fifth place in the men’s windsurfing final saw him concluded this first Olympic Test Event in eighth place.

“When I look back I look at it as a tough week and one where I made a lot of mistakes,” Dempsey admitted.

“I think that I’m going to have to put in a lot of time here – it’s the type of venue where you’ve got to spend a bit of time learning about everything.

"You need to keep a calm head and just keep going, never giving up on any race, and I think you have to be a master in every single condition. You can’t have a weak spot.

“It’s not going to be the complete light wind venue that we thought it was going to be – you’ll have to have the all round package.”

No racing was possible in the Nacra 17 and 49erFX classes on Thursday, so the top 10 medal race positions for Friday will be taken from the current standings.

Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond will head in to the final in third place – on equal points with the second-placed Australians – in the Nacra 17 multihull class, with Pippa Wilson and John Gimson also making the cut in seventh place.

The British Sailing Team will have two boats in the 49erFX finals, with Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth currently in fifth and Frances Peters and Nicola Groves in eighth going in to the three-race single points finale for the women’s skiff class.

The top four boats in the men’s 49er event are all close on points going in to their three races with the British Sailing Team’s Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign in fourth. John Pink and Stuart Bithell will also feature in the 10-boat race, currently placed sixth.

The 470, Laser and Laser Radial classes will have one more day of fleet racing before their finals on Saturday.

Each class saw just one race on Thursday – Porltand-based Luke Patience and Elliot Willis are poised in second in the 470 men’s event, Nick Thompson is second in the Laser, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark are third in the 470 Women’s fleet and Alison Young is fourth overall in the Laser Radial.

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