Toronto’s Chris Cook came out of retirement from competition to post strong results in Finn class at the world sailing championships off Fremantle, Australia Monday but there’s little chance Britain’s Ben Ainslie will be upset in the single-handed class.
Cook, who was fifth in the Beijing Olympics before retiring from competition for three years, placed second in the opening race on the course and 14th in the second. He sits 12th overall in the fleet of 72 after the first day of sailing.
Ainslie, meanwhile, a 10-time world champion with three Olympic golds – one in Laser and two in Finn – was a handy winner of both races on the first day. The wind was light when the sailors started heading out just before noon. Freemantle is famous for its reliable afternoon thermal winds and the land warms and cool air from the ocean starts rushing ashore.
The wind for the first races was in the 8-10 knot range and picked up to about 15-18 knots by race two.
Three other Canadian Finn sailors Greg Douglas, Brendan Wilton and Martin Robitaille also are competing. Douglas is 27th over all after placeing 15th and 11th. Wilton is 48th (25th and 23rd) and Robitaille 50th (27th and 23rd)
The women’s Radial class is being dominated by Belgium’s Evi van Acker, who was unbeaten in two races. Canada set out six sailors in the Radial class, with the best results coming from Danielle Dube, who was 13th and 16th in two races and Claire Merry, who posted 12th and 25th place finishes.
Both were doing well in opening race, rounding the first mark in sixth and fourth place respectively. They both made their way up to battle for second spot but lost distance on the last run and took penalty turns on the last leg, costing them at least three positions. Dube is 25th overall and Merry 33rd. Canada’s other results in the 102-boat class put Ingrid Merry 46th over all, Lisa Ross 64th, Erin Rafuse 73rd and Brenda Bowskill 78th.
Canada’s board sailors endured bad luck in the RSX women's fleet.
Nikola Girke, who was expected to challenge for a podium spot had a disappointing day with a bad start in race one, and two broken battens in her sail. The wind velocity on the RSX course was lighter conditions that the other courses, hitting a maximum of about 11 knots. Light winds are not Girke’s condition, and with two broken battens, didn’t have much stiffness to make use of whatever wind there was. In the end she placed 27th and a 23rd in the class, 51st over all and car behind Israel’s Lee Korzits, who leads the fleet after first and fourth placings. Girke’s Canadian team mate, Dominique Vallee faired slightly better with a 27th and 15th place for 42nd over all.
In the men’s 470, Luke Ramsay and Mike Leigh had a rough first race, finishing 33, but made a big comeback in race two with a 14th to stand 47th over all in the 80-vessel fleet. Finland’s Joonas and Niklas Lindgren have the lead after placing first and second in two races.
In women's match racing Canada failed to take a match.