Nick Thompson insists he can’t afford to ease off despite opening up a ten-point with two days remaining of the latest sailing World Cup in Miami.
In changing wind conditions which made for some tough Laser racing, Thompson recorded a fifth and 12th-place finish to put him into pole position after four days of racing.
The 28-year-old has a strong record at World Championships, winning bronze last year to add to the same colour he picked up in 2009 and the two silvers in 2010 and 2011.
However he has not enjoyed such medal success at World Cups with his best result being the bronze he won at this week’s regatta one year ago.
But with a real chance to correct that stat this weekend, as well as lay down a marker for Rio 2016, Thompson had his eyes firmly on securing the win.
“It was a really, really tricky day racing out there. We had two winds fighting almost which no one could really grasp or get an idea of what was going on,” said Thompson, who has two fleet races and a double-points medal race still to safely negotiate.
“It made for some pretty interesting racing and it was never over until you’d crossed the finish line, that’s for sure.
“I haven’t made many mistakes yet, but Friday's another day and it looks like it’s going to be light and tricky again. Ten points is nice to be ahead but there’s a long way to go.
“I’ve always done pretty well at World Championships and big events like that but I’ve never done so well at the World Cup events, so I’ve really put a marker down for this one to try and do well here and certainly try and win it.
“It’s very important and going into 2015 as we’re getting closer and closer to the Games it’s time to really put the hammer down and I’ll try to keep doing that here.”
Thompson was one of several British sailors to take home the yellow jerseys after the end of the day’s competition.
World and European champion Giles Scott pulled away from Australia’s Jake Lilley in the heavyweight Finn class while defending champion Bryony Shaw remains in control in the RS:X women’s windsurfing event with a 21-point margin over the Netherlands’ Lilian de Geus.
And in the men’s 470, Luke Patience and Elliot Willis finished the day strongly to extend their lead to 15 points.
They had used up their discard in the first race of the day when they got caught out in a windshift off the start line but hit back in race two to maintain their lead.
“Miami’s normally associated with flat water and light winds, but so far this week we’ve had offshore, shifty, windy conditions which historically haven’t been a strength of Luke’s and mine,” explained Willis of the week’s unusual conditions.
“We’ve been incredibly consistent which has been very good. We’ve had one slip up, which is our discard – that means we’ve got no more room for error and every point counts from now on."
Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves remain in touch in the Nacra 17 fleet, just two points behind the leaders and Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth sit second in the 49erFX competition.
It is a similar position for Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark in the 470 Women's class although Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre drop to five overall after a tough day on the water.
In the 49er race, John Pink and Stuart Bithell lead the British charge in fourth, two places above Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign while windsurfer Nick Dempsey slipped to fourth after a black flag starting penalty and an 18th place, although Alison Young did improve one place to eighth in the women’s Laser Radial race.
© Sportsbeat 2015