Olympic Sailing: Day Three

The Olympic sailing regatta is slowly but surely starting to take shape - at least for some of the classes.

The Lasers and Laser Radials head in to their rest day with 6 races completed. The women in the Radials are the only fleet (so far) that are making consistency look possible. The top three sailors have all managed five top 10 results (and Lijia Xu in 4th would have too, if she hadn't picked up a DSQ in race 2). Annalise Murphy leads by a point from Anne-Marie Rindom, with Marit Bouwmeester a further point behind. It is close, and given how results have gone in other fleets, any of the top 10 could still win.

Most of the big names are there or there abouts, but Evi Van Acker (the Bronze Medallist from London) had a bad day, with a 16 and a 15, and Alison Young (the reigning World Champion) is in 13th overall. Today was the first time Young broke into the top 10, scoring a 6th and a 9th - she's getting better, but has a lot of work to do to make up the ground on the leaders.

The Laser Men have also sailed 6 races, but the results have been a lot more erratic. Tonci Stipanovic is having a blinder, with his discarded 12th his only result outside the top 10. No-one else has managed that, and so he leads by 9 points. World Champion Nick Thompson won the day with a 2-1, and all of a sudden his scorecard looks pretty good. Rutger Van Schaardenberg also had a great day with a 1-4 to move into third, and Robert Scheidt, Sam Meech, Tom Burton and Pavlos Kontides are all lurking menacingly. A bit of consistency over the business end of this regatta will probably produce the winner.

But I can't go any further without mentioning the Olympic debut of the Nacra. The first race was absolute mayhem, and if you didn't have the pleasure of viewing it then I recommend you look it up here. The computerised replay doesn't really do it justice, but it was a dramatic case of snakes and ladders. If nothing else, skip to the leeward gate (Mark number 4 on the bar at the top) to watch a dozen catamarans trying to round a leeward gate at the same time.

It was certainly not a race for the purists.

Many have raised doubts about whether Guanabara Bay is a suitable venue for an Olympic sailing regatta, and not just because of the water quality. A lot of the courses are close to the hills and mountains, producing unpredictable gusts and shifts. Some will argue that the conditions are the same for all sailors, and indeed they are. But I'm not convinced that the luck will even out over a ten race series, and if any races are lost then the luck element increases. The first Nacra race was whacky enough to raise those fears again.

It is an unpredictable fleet at an unpredictable venue - if nothing else it will be an exciting regatta. The Swiss team lead with a 1-7, tied on points with Britain who scored a 3rd and a 5th. Everyone else struggled in at least one race, although the Australians did get two top 10s with a 6th and an 8th. The much fancied French had a day to forget with a 7th and a 19th, but there is plenty of time for all the teams to play catch-up.

In the Finn class, Giles Scott went to the top of the table with a 2-1, allowing him to discard his 17th from yesterday. Scott came into the Games as hot favourite, so it will be interesting to watch how his competitors respond. Vasilij Zbogar is second and looking good, and Jonathan Lobert, Jonas Hogh-Christensen, Caleb Paine and Jorge Zarif are all in the top 10. But some of the other big favourites are struggling: Jan Pieter Postma is in 14th, although a 4th in Race 4 will perhaps give his regatta a much needed boost; Jake Lilley is steadily improving, but two poor results on day one mean he has little room for error; Dennis Karpak's results are going in the wrong direction; and Josh Junior has yet to score in the top 10.

Finally, the 470s kicked off today with their first two races. The Croatian team won the day in the Men's 470 with a 1st and a 2nd, but hot favourites Mat Belcher and Will Ryan lie in second, winning the second race. Third to sixth are all tied on 12 points, and the American pairing had a good first day to lie in 8th.

In the Women's 470 the Japanese pair lead, with reigning Olympic champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie lying in second. The Brazilians, Americans, British and Austrians all lie from fourth to seventh respectively, and it is too early to make a call on who might win the regatta.

Loads of sailing still to go, and the 49ers will kick of their Olympics tomorrow too.

All the results are here.

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