Sailing: Team GB guaranteed Paralympic medals in Weymouth


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The Independent Online

Britain’s sailors are guaranteed at least a silver and a bronze medal as they head in to the final day of the London 2012 Paralympic Sailing Regatta tomorrow.

Helena Lucas – the only woman in the 16-strong class - is guaranteed at least a silver medal in the 2.4mR one-person keelboat class. She currently sits in gold medal position with a nine-point advantage over Heiko Kroger (GER) with one race to come tomorrow.

Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell are also guaranteed at least a bronze medal in the SKUD two-person class. They currently sit third overall, two points behind Jennifer French and Jean-Paul Creignou (USA) in second but cannot be caught by the Canadian boat currently in fourth. Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS) hold an unassailable lead in gold medal position heading into the final race.

These medals are the first Britain has won in sailing since the sport became part of the full Paralympic programme at Sydney 2000 and come in addition to the gold medal won by the British Sonar team of Andy Cassell, Kevin Curtis and Tony Downs when the first Paralympic sailing event took place as a demonstration event at Atlanta 1996.

The British Sonar three-person keelboat team of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas could still make it a British silverware hat-trick as they currently sit in bronze medal position spot overall just one point behind the German team in silver. Netherlands have wrapped up gold with a day to spare. Only eight points separate Germany in silver medal position and the USA in seventh place.

A tricky final few miles faced the five MOD70 trimarans on the offshore leg from Kiel to Dun Laoghaire as the wind threatened to die overnight after a fast run down the English Channel. Yann Guichard in Spindrift held a lead of less than five miles over Michel Desjoyeaux, who was less than half a mile ahead of Sebastien Josse in Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.

Also in close contention were Sidney Gavignet’s Musandam-Oman Sail and Steve Ravussin’s Race for Water, and even these two, although another six miles astern, could break through by the time the night was over.