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J Composites 2022 - J45 v4 LEADERBOARD

Mixed bag for Brits on Tokyo 2020 day six; Wilson and Squires prepare for medal fights

by Will Carson, RYA 30 Jul 2021 11:38 BST 25 July - 4 August 2021

There was a marked change from the big breeze of the past two days, to a 6-8 knots Southerly with cloud, but hot at 34 degrees.

Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell still lead the 49er fleet after 2-3-16 race results, but it's hotting up at the top. The top four are now separated by just five points going into the final day of fleet racing tomorrow. Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey were challenged by the light winds and drop to fourth overall after three mid-teen race finishes.

Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre stay consistent with two third place finishes keeping them second overall in the Women's 470. Two top ten race results for Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the Men's 470 also keeps them in second overall.

Ali Young has just held on to a top ten finish going into Sunday's Laser Radial medal race despite two race high finishes, but there was heartbreak for Elliot Hanson who misses out on the Laser medal race after a final race disqualification, having given himself a good shot of a high finish with a second in first race of the day.

The RS:X medal races are scheduled for 6.33am BST (Women's) and 7.33am BST (Men's) on Saturday. Emma Wilson assured a medal, but will enter three-way fight to decide the colour. Tom Squires is looking to climb on to the podium.

The Finns and Nacra 17s return to action tomorrow whilst the 49er and 49erFX complete their fleet racing. The 470s have a rest day.



Dylan Fletcher, 33, from Thames Ditton, Surrey, said:

"I think the 49er class is always super tight when it becomes a bit lighter. It becomes about a clear lane and a bit of management. We said it was going to be a bit higher scoring and I definitely think we saw. Unfortunately we picked up a big one in the second race which we probably didn't need.

"We were a bit sticky off the line and I didn't make the best decision on the first beat. We clawed our way back in to nicely, just unfortunate we picked the wrong side of the run on the final downwind.

"I find it quite a difficult venue to see the breeze and I just got that wrong. It was about eight places I think we lost down that run.

"I don't think we had a good one at all last Games. I think the highest we place we got to was fourth and after day two we were 14th so it's quite different to be in with the hunt. If we had been told at the start of the week we would have been in this position going into the last day of fleet racing we would have been super happy.

"I'm really proud of how we have been sailing. I think its nice racing out there. Pete and Blair, we've had some tight crosses, they've had some tight crosses with us and there's a lot of respect and it feels good fun in that sort of racing."

Stu Bithell, 34, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, said:

"Lighter winds today with three races. Naturally it becomes more higher scoring in the 49er for some reason. We had two good ones and a terrible one to be honest but we are still in the mix for the overall. Happy and pushing forwards.

"We've got one more fleet racing day left and we need to get out and have three solid results and be in the mix going into the medal race. We would be so happy with that.

"I don't think it's going to be like some of the other classes where you are like 20 points clear of fourth. It's unlikely. We have essentially five races left. Three and a double pointer, so a lot of racing still to go and we are just focussed on the job in hand.

"The mood is good. It was a bit testing today for sure but we're happy with how we are working together and bouncing back from harder races and that is the important thing really.

"It's only going to get harder and hopefully our competitors feel the heat and me and Dylan stay strong. We're prepared."

470 Women

Hannah Mills, 33, from Cardiff, Wales, said:

"The wind was really light and it was really hard to see, so it just made managing and making decisions really difficult. We had some good battles with the Japanese crew today which was great and I think we both came away with some good results so yeah just really happy to get through the day.

"I was completely overwhelmed, just unbelievably proud to have been given that honour and to have been chosen from all the incredible athletes in Team GB [to carry the flag], so yeah I couldn't quite believe they had picked me, so I was just really, really proud.

"We talked a lot this morning about what mentality we needed for today and we executed exactly what we wanted to in terms of getting clean starts off the line on the front row and from there we just sailed as best we could in very tricky positions and we're so relieved to come in with two good results.

"It honestly does feel like you're a millisecond away from suddenly ten boats cross you and you're back in the pack street fighting. To be honest, even at the front of the fleet we felt like that a bit, especially on the downwards the breeze would fill in a little bit from behind and everything would close up and the pressure would come back on, so yeah you could never, never relax today.

"Sailing is just the most complex sport and I think that what's important is being able to make mistakes but being able to reset as quickly as you possibly can and get the next thing right - particularly in this environment at the Games, so turning a tenth into an eighth or an eighth into a sixth is so important right now.

"We don't tend to put too much emphasis on the forecast, because it's likely to change and so we just roll with what we get out there when we get out there."

Eilidh McIntyre, 27, from Hayling Island, Hants, said:

"We're had really good races with really good starts, really stressful races - it was a difficult day.

"Ultimately we're here to win. We really want to battle it out and be there at the end to see what we can do. Right now we're in the hunt and hopefully we stay there.

"I one hundred per cent preferred yesterday's conditions. Today was really stressful. It feels less in your control - it could go either way up some of those beats and the wind was really hard to see today, so we're just guessing. At least yesterday you could try and get a bit of physicality into the boat and use some of your energy to get the boat moving a bit faster.

"One of the big things in sailing is being able to get your mentality right each day and to flip between them. It's so easy to allow the momentum to get away from you if you don't get your head in the right space. We've spent a lot of time this morning going over how we wanted to attack the day and, you know, I'm just really pleased we got ourselves there and we made it happen."

470 Men

Luke Patience, 34, from Rhu, Scotland, said:

"We were never doing this to win the Worlds in the Spring, we're doing it to try and win the Olympic Games. We designed a programme that was to be ready for this regatta so I'm not surprised we're doing well.

"Some people prefer to always be there, be there, be there but we've designed a programme that was always going to be ready for when it mattered. So we got here with more fight, more passion and more prepared with the boat more ready, so we're not surprised to be in this position but I appreciate that it sometimes can look a bit rocky maybe 18 months out.

"There have been a few laughs around the racecourse. We always really enjoy racing guys like the Aussies and the Kiwis; we've had a good relationship with them for last 15 years.

"You'd be surprised but there's often the odd little bit of banter type moment round the racecourse and a bit of gentlemen's code at times as well, so yeah it is enjoyable and I think that we're pleased to still be in this position before the lay day.

"We can kind of reflect on what we do to stay and maintain and this flow with this sort of energy and yeah, bring on race day four."

Chris Grube, 36, from Chester, Cheshire, said:

"Of course, you've got your best equipment [out here]. It's been quite tricky this year because we sent our boats out really early thinking that we're going to have the opportunity to use it out here, but it turns out that we had a World Championships with a really old boat, and the Europeans with a really old boat, and we come here and we've finally got a new boat and we've found some wheels.

"So it's not really surprising that we're doing a bit better, well a lot better. It feels like we've got a lot of fight between the two of us and we're fighting for every single place on the racecourse. We're super energetic and we feel like we are ready for this and yeah, we're actually enjoying it a lot."

Laser Radial

Ali Young, 34, from Bewdley, Worcestershire, said:

"Change of conditions today, some light airs, patchy pressure, very tight racing in a tense fleet.

"In the first race I executed my start well and gave myself a chance, second race didn't start so well and didn't find the avenues back through.

"It's a tough, tight fleet and the girls at the front thoroughly deserve to be there, I've just not been good enough, but there's still a medal race to take on."

Laser Standard

Elliot Hanson, 27, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, said:

"I'm gutted - I got two yellow flags supposedly body pumping upwind which I don't agree with.

"After a second in the first race of the day, and a decent position in the second one, if I hadn't have been penalised I would have been in a good place for the medal race. I might even have been in with a shot at a medal, which after the week I've had would have been incredible. It's been one of those weeks."

Full results and the competition schedule can be found here.

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