The medal race is all that remains for the first week competitors at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Unfortunately for Canadian supporters we don't have any athletes in the much desired Medal race.
We did have some solid finishes for the Canadian squad today. Nikola Girke in the women's RSX class led the charge putting up a 2nd in the final race vaulting herself up the leader board to finish 15th overall, securing Canada a berth at the Olympic Games. Further to Olympic qualifying, each of the RSX Women, 470 Men, Finn and Radial classes are all now guaranteed entry in Weymouth for the 2012 Olympic Games, all in all a good outcome out of week one.
Around the classes, Chris Cook put up a pair of 17's on the challenging centre course to finish 16th overall while Greg Douglas landed in 26th. Brendan Wilton continued his domination in Silver fleet posting a 2-1 for the day. Although not where Brendan wanted to be racing his 1-1-3-2-1 in the Silver fleet was a solid exhibition after a difficult qualifying series. The 470 men had a challenging 26-35 on the day and slipped to 29th overall, none the less this finish did qualify the class for the games both in terms of ISAF country qualification and meeting the internal Canadian performance criteria. The Radial women's team also met the country qualification standard.
From an Olympic perspective the trials continue on two different fronts. For the Radial class, they will settle the selection of the Canadian representative in Miami at the Olympic Classes regatta at the end of January, while for the RSX, 470 and Finn classes the Canadian representative will be selected by virtue of the top Canadian finisher at the 2012 World Championships.
The hottest story on the day doesn't focus on sailing but rather on a confrontation between Ben Ainslie (GBR Finn) and a media boat. Developing story here: Ben Ainslie incident. Not wanting to take sides or overstate any areas, this incident was most unfortunate with Ben boarding the Media boat following race one and having a physical confrontation with the boats driver who appeared to have influenced the outcome of the race. This type of physical interaction is far from acceptable and invariably will at minimum create some interesting press, and in the worst of cases result in some sort of sanctions. We are certain to hear more on this story front.
More Canadian action to come as the Star class starts racing tomorrow with 2 teams in the mix, Clarke/Bjorn & Wolfs/Hebbs.
Congratulations to all 4 classes for qualifying Canada for 2012!