Mixed fortunes for Britain’s paralympic sailing team


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The Independent Online

Britain’s paralympic sailing team was in the wars on the water and also in the protest room as two penalties in her fourth race pushed Helena Lucas down to 11 in that race and to third overall after four.

She had ended day one leading the singlehanded 2.4mR and, as every competitor can discard his or her worst result, is hopeful that, after Monday’s first race, she will be back in line for gold.

Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell had picked up a second spot then a race win to lead the SKUD two-person keelboat leaderboard overnight but then found themselves protesting their nearest rivals, the Australian duo Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch, for unsporting behaviour. The United States pair of Jen French and J-P Creignou took over at the top.

The British Sonar trio of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas ended day one in fifth, also protesting their Australians for a racecourse incident.

It was an Omani first and second at the Extreme Sailing SeriesBriti8sh grand prix in Cardiff but, for once, the overall series leader Leigh McMillan and The Wave Muscat had to give best to the American Morgan Larson at the helm of Oman Air.

A threatening run by Austria’s Roman Hagara in Red Bull was undone by having to restart the double points final race but he still denied, by three points a podium place for Team GAC Pindar, where USA Olympic gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe returned from a bad knee injury to make a significant contribution both physically and tactically  

Michel Desjoyeaux led the five-strong fleet of Multi One Design 70 foot triamarand out of Kiel on what is supposed to be a near 1,200-mile race to Dun Laoghaire having bagged the maximum three points from the inshore races.

But there may be more than 1,200 to run as the course was changed from going over the top of Scotland to going around Skagerrak and then down the North Sea, south-west along the Channel and then up to Dublin.

This will involve more upwind work and so more miles. But it will take the Frenchmen through familiar waters, as it will Brian Thompson on Musandram-Sail Oman. They are expected to finish on Wednesday.

A less happy branch of Team GAC Pindar left St. Moritz having taken a big hit to Ian Williams’ hopes of defending his World March Race Tour title.

Williams failed even to make the quarter finals of an event on a lake which is usually frozen in winter, was already surrounded by snow-covered mountains, and was won by Keith Swinton of Western Australia notching up his first tour victory.