49erFX Opens Tight - 49er Legends Make Earn Start
Men’s Skiff – 49er
In the next race the Kiwis rounded the first mark in fourth and patiently worked their way to the front ahead of the Irish pair Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern. At the end of a day that saw some spectacular racing in moderate breezes and beautiful winter sunshine, New Zealand holds the lead, Portugal is second and Germany is third. “We’re just happy to walk away from day one with two low scores,” said Burling, the four-time World Champion. While the Kiwi boatspeed was good, most of their winning came from picking their way through the gusts and the lulls on the tricky course. “We made our gain in that first race when we gybe-set on that first run. It felt like we found some good breeze and that helped us get out of the pack and up to the front.”
Their opening day wasn’t the way that Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) would have liked to open the defence of their Olympic title. Scores of 13,8 put the Australians in 11th overall. “We haven’t lost the event, but we haven’t set the world on fire,” Outteridge admitted, acknowledging they just weren’t quite fast enough out of the blocks. “A lot of it is trying to get on the first tack and getting yourself up the ladder ahead of everyone else. Both times we just missed that first opportunity.”
Women’s Skiff – 49erFX
There is no stand-out favourite for gold in the brand new Women’s Skiff fleet, and after day one of competition things aren’t much clearer. Of all the teams that might have been expected to be topping the leaderboard, few would have picked the Canadians. Yet Erin Rafuse and Dannie Boyd scored a 5,4 to hold a one-point lead over one of the acknowledged favourites, local sailors Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), who won the second race of the day just as the sun was setting over their home town.
Winners of the first race were Sarah Steyaert and Aude Compan (FRA) who are in third overall on equal points with last year’s World Champions from Italy, Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich.
The Canadians were delighted with their first day of Olympic competition. “We don’t like to get caught up in the numbers but this is definitely our best start to a regatta,” said Rafuse. “We picked the right regatta.” Boyd enjoyed the tricky racing in shifty winds. “These conditions are right in our wheelhouse,” she said. “We know we can throw the boat wherever we want to. We had good starts and were able to get on the first shift of the day and it makes the rest of the race a lot easier.”