What a disgusting day! The great British weather produced its most horrible best on day two at the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth. However in the Finn class Giles Scott (GBR) made the best of the day, producing a master-class to win all three races in a cold south-easterly breeze that built through the day to 18 knots, and with incessant rain. However Ben Ainslie (GBR) leads the regatta overall from Zach Railey (USA) and Scott.
With three races scheduled to catch up after Monday's difficult conditions, and with weather more fitting to a winter's day, it was a tough day on the water for the 44 Finn sailors. The forecast was for the wind to rise to 18 knots and for a lot of rain, and it didn't disappoint. Visibility was often down to less than half a mile, with the sailors struggling to see the next mark, but it was also a great sailing day with good winds and nice waves, with Oscar flag flying for free pumping all day,
Race two of the series got under way in 12-13 knots after a general recall resulted in a black flag. Anxious to put Monday's 21st behind him, Giles Scott (GBR) rounded in second place and took the lead on the first downwind, to sail away from the fleet for a big win. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) rounded in third and moved up to second by the finish while the leader at the first mark, Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) crossed in third.
Scott was also at the front in race three, trailing Daniel Birgmark (SWE), and just ahead of Ben Ainslie (GBR), around the windward mark. With the wind increasing Birgmark held the lead until the second downwind when Scott led through the gate. Andrew Mills (GBR) moved up to second on the next beat but was then passed by both Ainslie and Birgmark on the final downwind. Scott took his second race win of the day.
Scott then made it a hat-trick winning the third race as the conditions deteriorated further. This time he led round the top mark from Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and Ainslie and they finished in that order after another tough battle.
Kljakovic Gaspic said, “It was quite a difficult day. The conditions were not so nice for sailing to be honest. It was patchy and the pressure was moving around. In the end it was always a bit better on the right but there were no rules and I had a few moments when I was in good situations but then even in a top place it was hard to control so in the first two races I struggled a bit.”
“In the third race I went on the right hand side of the course, tacked with a group and had really good speed and ran over that group. Giles rounded first and Ben and I were really close in second, but I ran him over on the layline and he lost 50 metres on me, because I was backwinding him, but we finished in the order we rounded the top mark.”
Despite his perfect scoreline today, Scott trails in fourth place after still counting a 21 from Monday. However with the discard coming into effect after five races, he should be able to get rid of it on Wednesday. After four races Ainslie leads with a five point margin over Zach Railey (USA) and a nine point margin over Scott.
Fourth placed Postma has benefited from a redress granted for race one after a sustaining damage following a collision. Postma said, “I had a big collision with Martin Robitaille yesterday, and he made a big hole in my transom and I took on a lot of water and they granted me redress for that. I also had some water in today but I wasn't sinking.”
On today he said, “I am quite happy with my day. We had 14-17 knots and I got a 3, 8 and 7. It wasn't perfect but it was all right. It was also a great day for my coach. It's Stefan's [de Vries] birthday today.”
There are six more opening series races before Skandia Sail for Gold concludes on Saturday, when the medal race for the top 10 will be sailed.
Top 10 after day two (4 races)
Event website: http://www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk