OLYMPICS UPATE: Percy and Simpson sail into pole position
Defending champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson sounded a warning signal to the rest of the Star fleet as they stealthily moved into pole position on day two of the Olympic Regatta at Weymouth and Portland.
The Beijing 2008 gold medallists picked up where they left off on Sunday by collecting a third and a second from their two races to move to the top of the leaderboard, up from the fifth spot they occupied overnight.
In their first race of the day, Simpson and Emsworth-based Percy pulled up from seventh at the first mark to third, narrowly missing out on a photo decision for the second day running. But the result helped them make big inroads into the lead held overnight by Brazilians Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, who finished ninth.
It was the Brits’ brilliance downwind that paid dividends in their second race today, race four overall. With shifting conditions once again playing their part in some cat and mouse racing, the boys propelled themselves from 10th at the first mark to second at the second, a position they held on to for the rest of the race.
The result was enough to put them joint on 18 points with Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR), but ahead on account of each pair’s race four score – Britain’s second to the Norwegians fourth.
Simpson said: “Well it was better than yesterday. We went well downwind again today so that’s good news. Iain’s fantastic at steering the boat in that stuff downwind and we should get more fun as we get onto the course with a bit more waves, which is what we have done most of our work in
“It’s important you get over the nerves of starting an event and start to get on with it. It doesn’t matter where you are as long as you’re not miles behind at this point in this regatta. It was better today but it was still very tricky, a bit puffy and if you’ve got it right you’re great but if not it’s tricky! It’s never a lottery, its educated guessing.”
After seeing the Norwegians take a second and fourth today, Simpson explained why no one can get carried away by the early scores in a regatta.
He added: “Everyone builds these things up but you’re sailing against people who have won World Championship and Olympic medals that is the nature of the Star class. The Norwegian guy we sailed against when we were 15 in the Laser, he was winning the Europeans then!
“So the level is high and the nature of the boat means that more people can win so it’s going be a long race and we’ve got to keep chipping away and see what we can do.”
The Star class is scheduled to resume at 12.05pm on Tuesday with both of their races (race five and six) scheduled to take place on the Weymouth Bay South.
The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs until Saturday, August 11. The Star medal race is scheduled for Sunday, August 5 (1pm).
Follow the British Sailing Team at London 2012 at www.rya.org.uk/london2012