Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Burton and Stoddart Make Olympic Debut In Rio

Australian sailors Tom Burton (Laser) and Ashley Stoddart (Laser Radial) have made their Olympic debut on the first day of sailing competition in Rio.
Ashley Stoddart Photo: © Sailing Energy/World Sailing
The conditions on Rio’s Guanabara Bay served up a challenging day for Australia’s sailors. Strong breezes, up to around 15 knots greeted the sailors as the launched from Marina de Gloria, but as the day went on these breezes died, with the final races of the day experiencing only around 5 knots at times. Whilst today’s tides weren’t as testing as they can be, our sailors found the changing wind conditions challenging.
Tom Burton Photo: © Sailing Energy/World Sailing
On the first day of racing for the Laser class, Tom Burton scored a 17th and an eighth putting him equal ninth overall. In the first race, Tom was caught up in an incident forcing him to do penalty turns early in the race. This left him in 45th place at the first mark rounding, but he moved through the fleet for a creditable 17th.

“It’s a tricky course. The tide wasn’t that bad today and it was tricky. The breeze either coming through the heads or over the mountains makes it difficult. The first race was very different to the second race,” Burton said after racing.

“The second race was better. I had two decent starts, but I definitely could have had a better day, it’s important to get space on the start line and breeze and go. The forecast was for a little bit more breeze than we had, we went out and had about 15 knots on the first upwind, but the course was more sheltered than I expected it to be,” he added.

Racing for the Lasers continues tomorrow with racing scheduled from 1.05pm – 3.20pm in Rio (2.05am – 4.20am AEST).

Ashley Stoddart kicked off her competition nicely, with an eighth and a seventh, putting her in equal fourth overall at the end of the first day. The Laser Radial fleet raced on Escola Naval course with their second race being televised.

“This is my first Olympics and my first day on the water and I’m really pleased with the result. We’ve been training here for the last couple of years and when I got out there, I was thinking this doesn’t actually feel that different as we’ve been training here and it feels quite comfortable,” Stoddart said.

“The conditions were tricky. There was a lot going on in terms of up-down pressure and the wind shifting left throughout the day and it meant you had a lot more land affected wind, making it very shifty,” she added.

Stoddart is on the water again tomorrow in Rio with racing for the Laser Radial scheduled for 1.15pm – 3.20pm (2.15am – 4.20am AEST).
Tomorrow will be the first day of racing for Jake Lilley, representing Australia in the men’s one-person dinghy heavyweight class. The forecast is looking similar to today’s conditions.

Australian Sailing Team Media

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