Mills and Clark buoyed by World Sailing Championships opener

15 September 2014 / 09:48

Olympic silver medallist Hannah Mills insists she and Saskia Clark can be satisfied with their opening day of the ISAF World Sailing Championships after tackling tricky conditions.

Light and shifting winds coupled with thunderstorms, upset the schedule on the third day of the World Championships in Santander and while the 470 Women and RS:X Women’s fleets managed to complete their planned two races, the laser, laser radial and 470 men’s classes fell behind with just one race possible in the testing conditions. 

However there was still plenty to celebrate as defending RS:X men’s champion Nick Dempsey picked up a race win and a fourth-place finish to move him second overall, the same position occupied by Bryony Shaw in the women’s windsurfing even after five races.

And Mills and Clark, silver medallists from London 2012, were happy with their opening salvo as they recorded finishes of 11th and second.

“Generally it was quite high scoring across both fleets,” Mills said “It was four to six knots maximum and quite a lot of tide pushing us downwind so it made the beats really, really long.

“There was also some sort of tide line on the right hand side which was adding more complications and then the wind was shifting 20 degrees and quite unpredictable. 

“It was making for some interesting racing for sure. If you got off the start line and got on the first shift you did alright but unfortunately it took us a race to figure that out.

Luke Patience and Elliot Willis endured a frustrating first day in the 470 men’s division, with race course issues, abandonments and general recalls on the restarts before finally finishing 12th in their only race of the day.  

“It was a frustrating day because they were such poor races,” Patience said. “But that being said, you’ve still got to do what you need to do and it was an OK race [for us].  Something that we can count but by no means have we fired out of the blocks.

“There are positives. We were just on fire speed-wise – we had jets on us, and that’s really encouraging.

“It was tricky out there but we were a fast boat around the course. I thought we were smart and we were aware of what was going on around us and the race that we did get we probably just put a bit too much risk on the first start and that risk showed itself.  It tripped us up a little bit.” 

In the first day of gold fleet racing for the laser class, Nick Thompson and Lorenzo Chiavarini both enjoyed good outings in their sole race with Thompson up to sixth overall with a sixth-place finish, while under-21 world and European champion Chiavarini finished fifth on the water to move eighth overall. 

Chloe Martin also advanced to eighth overall after the only race for the laser radial gold fleet. 

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