Sailing: Regatta is blown off course

OLYMPIC GAMES
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The Independent Online
A third consecutive day of storms hit the opening races of the Olympic sailing regatta in Savannah, with half the classes - both boards, Lasers and Europes - unable to start, at first because there was no wind, and then because they were sent running for cover to the Day Marina as thunder and heavy rain rolled in. The Tornado catamarans started their race but had to abandon it.

This was hardly the start the organisers wanted for what is meant to be one of the world's showcase regattas. Before the heavy weather, the venue had suffered heavy criticism.

In the three classes that did manage to complete their races, it proved to be a disappointing day for Britain. As Spain's Jose-Maria van der Ploeg began his defence of the Finn class with a win in the opening race, Britain's Richard Stenhouse was forced to go back and recover from a premature start.

The delay saw him finish 18th, as second and third places went to Yuri Tokoviy, of the Ukraine, and Michael Maier, of the Czech Republic.

Rod Davis, who won the Soling gold medal in 1984 for America, then won silver in the Star class for New Zealand in 1992 before helming Australia's America's Cup boat in 1995, was back in Kiwi colours yesterday. He started well in the two-man Star keel boat, but the bad conditions forced an abrupt end to his race, won by Canada's Ross MacDonald from Brazil's Torben Grael, with Davis, in New Zealand's colours once more, third. Britain's Glyn Charles and George Skuodas were 15th.

In the Soling class, Britain's Andy Beadsworth, Barry Parkin and Adrian Stead hung on to finish seventh in a race won by America's Jeff Madrigali, followed by Russia's Georgi Shaidukov and Ireland's Garrett Connolly.

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