U.S. sailors in fourth place after opening day
WEYMOUTH, United Kingdom — On the first day of racing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in Weymouth and Portland, U.K., the U.S. Paralympic Sailing Team holds fourth place in all three events: Jen French and JP Creignou in the SKUD-18, Mark LeBlance in the 2.4mR and Paul Callahan, Tom Brown and Bradley Johnson in the Sonar. Two races were held in each event, with 11 races total scheduled through Sept. 6.
Jen French and JP Creignou had an outstanding first day of racing in the Two Person Keelboat (SKUD-18) finishing 3rd and 5th in the 11-boat fleet. After two races they find themselves in 4th place, one point out of third behind Canada.
“We had good boat speed,” said French after racing. “It was shifty so it was a little tricky. There isn’t a lot of room for error in this fleet because we have some really good guys.”Although the wind was dying in strength throughout the day, never reaching more than 10 knots, French went on to explain that the race committee kept up well by changing courses. “It’s all about playing the shifts,” she said. “It’s day one and there’s a lot of racing to go. First day jitters, I think everyone has them. You never get too emotional because it’s a long way to go. It’s a fun fleet to race in and it always makes for good racing.
2.4 Metre: Mark LeBlanc
“I had an OK start,” said LeBlanc after racing. “I ended up sailing well and was fifth or sixth at each mark rounding, and passed some boats downwind to finish 3rd. “Despite the fleet being a little more on edge in the pre-start maneuvering, LeBlanc explained that it’s best not to get caught up. “In the end you always try to treat it like any regatta,” said LeBlanc. “It wasn’t too nerve wracking. It’s all about going through the steps of a race: good start, good speed, good race management, trying to do your best.”
Sonar: Paul Callahan, Tom Brown and Bradley Johnson
The first race went very well for Paul Callahan, Tom Brown and Bradley Johnson in the 14-boat Sonar event where they ended in third place, but the second race found them in the back of the fleet after the start and having to find the best way through the fleet.
They went from 12th at the beginning of the race to finishing sixth. They’re currently in fourth place overall.