Laser Radial veteran Paige Railey credits Buddhist meditation with having made her a better sailor, and you can’t help but wonder if her years of meditation didn’t come through for her in a big way during Day 1 of the 2016 Olympic regatta on Rio’s Guanabara Bay.
Although the sailing conditions were excellent, with a southerly blowing from 10 knots to the low teens on the Escola Naval course just off the Olympic sailing venue, her finish in the first race left much to be desired, as she crossed the line 15th out of a fleet of 37.
In Race 2, things also looked rough early on with Irish sailor Annalise Murphy, the winner of the first race, taking off again after a strong boat-end start.
Midway up the first leg, though, the rest of the fleet of the reeled her back in, and after that it was Railey, Gintare Scheidt of Lithuania, Zu Lijia of China and Croatia’s Tina Mihelic battling it out the rest of the way to the finish, with Scheidt coming out on top and Railey finishing a very strong second, putting her in seventh overall.
Lijia currently leads the fleet after finishing third and fourth, with Dutch sailor Marit Bouwmeester in second.
Similarly, in the Laser fleet, U.S. sailor Charlie Buckingham got off to a rough start, finishing 20th out of 46 in the first race, but climbing to a second-place finish in the second, leaving him in 12th overall. Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic currently occupies first, with Argentina’s Julio Alsogaray in second and Russia’s Sergei Komizzarov in third. A strong Day 2 could change things completely, so let’s hope Charlie gets a good night’s rest!
Closer inshore, on the Pao de Acucar course, just south of the Olympic venue, U.S. sailor Marion Lepert finish 10, 3 and 10, putting her in 10th overall after the first three races in the women’s RS:X class. At the top of the standings, however, the current leader, France’s Charline Picon is looking very strong, finishing 1, 2 and 1, with her closest competition, Russia’s Stafaniya Elfutina, finishing 2, 5 and 3.
In the men’s RS:X class, young U.S. sailor Pedro Pascual finished 25, 26 and 28 and is now in 28th overall in the fleet of 36. No surprise, 35-year-old, four-time British Olympic veteran Nick Dempsey is at the top of the fleet after finishing 1, 1 and 2.