British Laser sailors throw down gauntlet in opening World Championships races

Written by 3rd August 2018 Featured-post, World Championships

Great Britain’s Nick Thompson, Michael Beckett and Lorenzo Chiavarini laid down a marker to the huge Laser Standard fleet as they got their Sailing World Championships underway with a string of podium finishes.

Two-time world champion Thompson, who represented Great Britain at the Rio 2016 Olympics, ended his first day in Aarhus, Denmark, with a 3, 2 to sit third overall in the 165-boat fleet.

“It was cracking first day’s racing here in Aarhus,” the Lymington sailor said. “We had a building sea breeze which made for some nice tight racing. I’m happy to come away with two solid results and pleased to have racing underway.”

Nick Thompson

Nick Thompson dominating the Laser Standard fleet. © Sailing Energy/World Sailing.

The British Sailing Team’s Laser squad is so strong that Beckett and Chiavarini found themselves in a battle with one another for victory in the second race of the day.

Chiavarini was leading until the final leg when Beckett passed him to steal the glory.

“In the first race I was pretty inconsistent, floating around in the middle of the fleet seemingly picking up every last little bit of weed in the bay,” said Beckett, from Solva in Pembrokeshire.

“The second race was much better and I felt a little bit bad as I overtook Lorenzo on the last run to win it, but that’s racing.”

Argyll’s Chiavarini, still smiling despite having to concede to his team mate, added: “A win would have been nice but at this stage it’s more about consistency and not doing anything stupid.”

The battle for supremacy in the Finn class resumed in front of Aarhus’ grandstand in much better breeze than the opening day when only one race could be completed.

After a 13th in the opener, reigning European champion Ed Wright found his pace with an emphatic win in the second race of the day, following it up with a fourth to go into day three in 12th overall.

“It was quite physical and tactical today which made for great racing,” Bournemouth’s Wright said.

“I had a good day text. I was a little unlucky in the first race dropping seven boats on the second beat, but then won the second and placed well in the last.”

Ben Cornish

Ben Cornish sits seventh overall in the Finn fleet after two days. © Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Two top-ten finishes including a third behind winner Wright for team mate Ben Cornish propelled him to seventh overall, just 11 points off the top spot with three more days to go.

“I got off to a nice start with two very solid results,” said Cornish, from Budleigh Salterton in Devon.

“I’m happy with my speed and how I feel in the boat which is great. It’s a long week ahead of us but if I can keep putting days like today together I am confident I will be in the mix by the end.

“The conditions were fantastic and I am grateful that we got onshore racing on stadium course. It could have been much more of a lottery but it’s nice to come away mostly unscathed.”

In the women’s 470, Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre opened their scorecards with a win before adding another to their tally to sit second overall.

“Today was an awesome day – we managed to rectify the errors that let us down in yesterday’s races and come away with two bullets,” Mills said. “This venue gives nothing away though and it’s going to be a long hard week.”

Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter came home in second behind their Mills and McIntyre in the second race of the day to claim tenth overall, while Jess Lavery and Flora Stewart posted a solid 13, 8 to sit 15th.

Top ten results from Luke Patience and Chris Grube see them remain in medal contention in eighth place five points off the lead.

Racing resumes at 1100 UK time (1200 local) tomorrow with the 49er and 49er FX fleets joining the action.

Full results from the regatta can be found here, and a schedule of racing is here.