"I have to take each race at a time, so it's a matter of sticking to the process."
Lucas Sitting Pretty In 2.4mR
Helena Lucas of Great Britain made it three wins in a row on the fourth day of 2.4mR racing at the Paralympic Sailing Competition to extend her lead to 11 points over Germany’s Heiko Kroger who won the day’s other race.
The Brit picked up where she left off from the day prior by winning Race 7 to make it three wins in a row. The Brit also clawed her way back up the field in Race 8 to finish fourth and extending her overnight lead.
On her prospects of winning a medal the Briton said, "I have to take each race at a time, so it's a matter of sticking to the process."
Kroger won Race 8 but a sixth in Race 7 handed Lucas the initiative as she continues to run away at the top of the fleet. A fourth and a sixth from Thierry Schmitter (NED) saw him retain third place overall but the gap between the two front runners and the Dutchman widened.
Kroger, the first ever 2.4mR Paralympic gold medallist from Sydney 2000, blew the field away in Race 8 rounding every mark in the lead whilst steadily increasing his advantage throughout. At the end the German took the bullet by 34 seconds ahead of Tingley.
Australians go clear into SKUD18
Australian’s Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch have put a gap of four points between them and USA’s Jen French and Jp Creignou and Great Britain’s Alex Rickham and Niki Birrell with three SKUD18 races.
Very little has separated the top three crews since racing began with just two points the difference throughout. But on the fourth day of racing and in challenging winds the Australians overcame the testing conditions to finish second in Race 7 and take a bullet in Race 8. Their rivals both recorded a fourth place finish in the two races handing the Australians the initiative.
In the first race Rickham and Birrell squandered an opportunity to take points off the Australians when they rounded the first mark in the lead with Fitzgibbon and Tesch in fourth.
But the British pair lost their advantage on the second leg when they gybed away from the leading pack and rounded the next mark in third place behind John McRoberts and Stacie Louttit (CAN) and French and Creignou (USA), and just one place ahead of Fitzgibbon and Tesch.
By the third mark the American crew were in the lead, the Canadians second and the Australians third. With French and Creignou too far ahead to catch, Fitzgibbon and Tesch attacked the Canadians on the final leg to snatch second place with the Brits finishing fourth.
Fitzgibbon and Tesch took control of the second race soon after the start and protected their lead to record a third victory in eight races. The British duo tried to close them down but had to settle for second, ahead of McRoberts and Louttit who came back from a sixth place at the first mark to overhaul French and Creignou just before the final mark.
Dutch trio remains hot
Only one Sonar race was possible on the fourth day of the sailing competition, and the Netherlands’ Udo Hessels, Marcel van de Veen and Mischa Rossen remain in the lead with an 11 point cushion.
The day’s race win went the way of Germany’s Jens Kroker, Siegmund Mainka and Robert Prem which moved the German trio from fourth to second overall.
With a morning postponement and several attempts at starting Race 7, the Sonar fleet eventually got away at 14:45 local time.
Kroker enjoyed the light conditions and had a 16 second advantage at the first mark. He steered his boat expertly and was never really challenged throughout as he took the bullet six seconds ahead of John Twomey, Anthony Hegarty and Ian Costelloe (IRL), who had their best race of the series.
Overall leaders, Hessels, van de Veen and Rossen finished the race behind the German and Irish teams for another excellent result. Whilst those around them have faced disqualifications and struggled in the light breeze they have hit the nail on the head and established themselves at the top of the leader board.