June 10 - Day four of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta saw the competition step up a level, with Britain's sailors enjoying mixed fortunes on this first day of gold fleet racing.
Ben Ainslie continued his confident form to extend his overall lead in the Finn class to 13 points over teammate Giles Scott, while John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas maintained the top spot on the Paralympic Sonar class leaderboard, and a further four British crews gained medal-winning positions with two days of the regatta left to run.
Weymouth and Portland continued to deliver ideal racing conditions on this fourth day of the World Cup competition, but with racing intensifying there was a shake-up in the overall standings in a number of classes.
Ainslie posted 1,6,4 from his three races in the heavyweight dinghy class and remains the man, while Scott is in second and continues to try and make up ground on his compatriot.
World champion Ed Wright's day got better after a disappointing 23rd to open the day, with a third and a race win to end on, seeing him into sixth overall, with Andrew Mills still inside the top ten medal race positions in eighth.
Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor completed their women's match racing gold group to book a quarter-final bout today against the Dutch trio skippered by Mandy Mulder.
Macgregor, the current women's match racing World Champion, is looking forward to some close racing in the knockout stages of competition.
"There's a lot of excitement around the boat park at Skandia Sail for Gold," Macgregor explained.
"It's a big event for a lot of teams and I think that really shows this year, that everyone is taking it that much more seriously.
"The competition in the match racing is really starting to heat up now and I think within the top eight we can't really separate the teams.
"It's going to be a very important day, with quarter-finals and semi-finals and none of the matches are going to be easy!"
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark remain in the podium spots for the 470 women's event, with Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes in seventh, while Nick Dempsey is on equal points with the second-placed Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberge, and just three points off of the top placed New Zealander Jon Paul Tobin in the RS:X men's windsurfing event.
In the penultimate day of racing for the Paralympic classes, Britain's Sonar trio of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas could not quite match their pace from Wednesday in their opening two races, picking up a fifth and an eighth, before closing the day with their fourth race win of the series to keep them on top in the results table.
Britain's leading SKUD duo Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell posted three second places from their three races to remain second, behind the Australian team of Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch, while in the 2.4mR event, Megan Pascoe is eighth and Helena Lucas ninth.
John Pink and Rick Peacock remain in second overall in the 49er fleet after a solid opening day to their gold fleet racing.
They posted 15,5,5,11 from their four races, with Peacock pleased with their progress.
"Today was a good day for us, it was exciting racing," he explained.
"We had four races and a good bit of breeze and I think we did OK.
"We had some good counters and a couple of top fives.
"Racing has been quite tricky so it's quite nice to not get any big results and we've done OK on that at the moment.
"I don't think we're feeling any extra pressure but certainly the talent is all here.
"Everyone's ramping up their game and getting pretty good really.
"It's been a great competition and it's good to race against people at their best."
Pink and Peacock are currently the top British crew in the skiff fleet, with Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes in sixth, Chris Draper and Peter Greenhalgh in eighth, and Dave Evans and Ed Powys keeping four British boats inside the top ten medal race positions.
Nick Thompson was hit the hardest at the start of the finals series in the Laser class.
The world silver medallist had a day to forget with scores of 32,34 seeing him drop to ninth place from his overnight lead, with Olympic Champion Paul Goodison making progress up the leaderboard into fifth overall, with 18,3 from his two races on Thursday.
Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson are fifth in the Star class, Charlotte Dobson remains fifth in the Laser Radial event, while Bryony Shaw, and Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell are the top-placed Brits in the RS:X women's and 470 men's events respectively.
Racing at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta continues until Saturday June 11 for the Olympic classes, with the Paralympic classes concluding their regatta on Friday June 10.
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