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Skandia Team GBR at Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing Worlds - Day 11

by Lindsey Bell, RYA 13 Dec 2011 14:25 GMT 3-18 December 2011

Boom and bust day for GBR sailors in Perth

It was a boom and bust day for Britain’s sailors at the Perth 2011 World Championships on Tuesday (13 December), with some stand-out performances for some competing crews coupled with injury blows to others.

The day started with the news that Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes had been forced to retire from the 49er event following a rib strain to Rhodes on Monday, with Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson’s hopes of retaining their World Championship crown also being hit when Percy’s back gave out when they were in a strong position in the first race of the day for the Star fleet.

The 2008 Olympic gold medallists, overnight leaders with a 12 point margin heading into the day, were third in the race and when injury hit.

“Iain was in tears, crying, and really in a bad way,” said Simpson of his Skandia Team GBR teammate and best friend.

“I haven’t actually ever seen him that bad before. It’s not very nice when you see a grown man cry and he was in absolute agony. We tried to make the plan to try and literally just get around the course and we had a good lead on fourth place – the three boats at the front were making a nice separation.

“Then somehow, with Iain basically in a paralysed way down the run, we got a yellow flag which was our second one of the regatta,” Simpson continued. “It was very surprising, very frustrating and obviously we had to pull out of the race. There was nothing more we could do and Iain couldn’t sail the next race.”

With the Star class scheduled to have a layday on Wednesday (14 December) Percy will undergo physio treatment and the team will decide over the next 24 hours whether he will be in a position to continue the regatta.

“I’ll take Iain’s health over anything, any event,” said Simpson. “Getting him in good shape is the most important thing. Not being able to defend the world title would be very frustrating because we were in a very, very strong position to do it after four and a half races. That’s life.

“Obviously next year’s the big one for us and we need to get Iain down in the physio room and get him fixed up for the next few months and make sure this can’t happen when the one we care about the most, the Olympics, happens.”

RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park reflected on a challenging event so far for Skandia Team GBR, but was confident his charges would hold their own over the remainder of the regatta.

“It’s unfortunate that we’ve had three independent, unrelated challenges to contend with so far at this regatta what with dealing with the causes and fallout of Ben Ainslie’s incident, Ben Rhodes’ injury which is one of those things that could happen to anyone at any time, and now the issue with Iain’s back when he and Bart were in a commanding position in the Star class.

“It’s disappointing for those guys who’ve been working so hard towards this regatta, and certainly is not how we’d hoped the regatta would unfold, but it’s important to keep these things in perspective. Although World Championship titles are important, our eyes are on the bigger prize of the Olympics in Weymouth in 2012.

“Despite these setbacks we’re still racing competitively in the remaining events and hopeful that we’ll see some more of our sailors on the podium before the event concludes.”

Elsewhere on the water, Skandia Team GBR sailors put in some strong performances across the remaining classes to remain in contention.

Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor booked their berth in the women’s match racing quarter-finals, rounding off the repechage stage in style with four wins out of four for the day, and 13 wins to 2 losses for the overall stage.

They will now race-off in the quarter-final tomorrow with the Netherlands’ Mandy Mulder, while Paul Goodison and Nick Thompson had an impressive day in the Laser event.

The Olympic Champion Goodison is in second overall with 4,1 for his day’s two races, while Nick Thompson is in equal third on points. having posted 8,2 today.

Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes are poised in fourth overall in the 470 women’s event with a third and a ninth from their two races while Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark rise to sixth overall with a ninth and a sixth for the day.

Skandia Team GBR has two of its remaining 49er crews in the top ten overall standings – John Pink and Rick Peacock are seventh overall with Dave Evans and Ed Powys in ninth, while Elliot Carney is the leading Skandia Team GBR sailor in the RS:X men’s windsurfing event.

The development squad sailor is in sixth overall with an impressive 3,6 for his efforts on Fremantle’s Centre Course today, with Nick Dempsey was left scratching his head after picking up a 15th in his first race, before recovering to fifth in the second. He’s currently in 18th place overall.

For the latest news and information from the Skandia Team GBR British Sailing Team at the Perth Worlds visit or follow us on Twitter (@SkandiaTeamGBR).

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