British sailors enjoyed a successful opening day of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Cup in Weymouth and Portland, with Nick Dempsey returning to the scene where he won silver at London 2012 to assume an early lead in the men’s RS:X event.
In the opening three races in the class, in which 12 races will be held across the five days of competition, Dempsey earned a first place and two second places finishes to top the standings, with one of his second place finishes currently discarded.
Fellow Britain and training partner Tom Squires lies in second position on the same number of points, having claimed first and second positions in the opening two races, with his fifth place finish in the third race currently overlooked.
“Tom and I are quicker than the fleet,” said Dempsey afterwards.
“Our training’s gone really well and we’re starting to sail well.
“It’s nice and quite good fun racing.”
Home sailors are also out in front in the women’s RS:X event, as two runners-up positions for Isobel Hamilton in the opening three races sees her lead compatriot Bryony Shaw by a solitary point in the fledgling standings.
Several of the rivalries which played out on the waters during London 2012 have been renewed, with New Zealand's Olympic champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie currently leading the silver medal winners Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark after winning the opening two races in the women’s 470 class, while the British pairing were forced to settle for runners-up spots.
By contrast, Greece's world number ones Pangaiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis are six points adrift of American duo Stu McNay and David Hughes in the men’s 470 category.
New Zealand’s Andrew Murdoch has opened a four point advantage over France’s Jonathan Lobert in the Finn class and home favourite Giles Scott is eight points off the lead in third place.
The Netherlands’ Marit Bouwmeester, Belgium’s Evi Van Acker and Ireland’s Annalise Murphy were engaged in a fierce battle for medal positions at the London 2012 in the laser radial class and Bouwmeester, the Olympic silver medallist, made the perfect start in Weymouth in earning back to back victories in the division.
Olympic bronze medallist Van Acker trails by five points and Murphy a further three further back.
New Zealand’s Andy Maloney leads Britain’s Nick Thompson by two points after the opening laser events.
Poland's Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski have an early one point advantage over Austria’s Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen in the 49er class and the Schutt siblings Maiken Foght and Anne-Julie of Denmark have a three point lead over New Zealand’s Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech.
Austrian’s Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank are currently setting the race pace in the Nacra 17 class, but, owning to protests by several sailors due to sailing the wrong course, the result may be amended and their one point lead may soon become a deficit.
London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas of Britain tops the standings in the 2.4metre event, while fellow Britain’s Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell currently joint first in the SKUD 18 competition alongside Italy’s Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti.
Australia, Britain, Ireland and Norway all share the lead in the equally tight sonar event, but with competition due to be held in Portland and Weymouth until Sunday (June 14), plenty of time remains for sailors to assert their dominance in a particular class.
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April 2015: Hosts bag early Nacra 17 gold at Sailing World Cup Hyères
April 2015: Dominant hosts secure Paralympic events gold medals at Sailing World Cup Hyères
April 2015: Frenchman at the double on home waters at ISAF World Cup