Laser quest! Brits fill podium as Tokyo 2020 venue turns tricky

Image: Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Britain’s Laser sailors sent a clear message to their rivals on Thursday as they filled the podium places in the only race of World Cup Series Enoshima day three.

Two days of moderate breeze at the Tokyo 2020 sailing venue gave way to light, fickle winds as the ten fleets headed out into Enoshima Bay for the third day of action.

After a long wait while race officials set a fair course in the ever-shifting conditions, racing got underway in around five knots.

As the 59-boat fleet approached the windward mark it was British Sailing Team allies Lorenzo Chiavarini, Nick Thompson and Elliot Hanson occupying the top three spots.

The trio extended round the course, guaranteeing a red, white and blue podium.

The results see Hanson retain his overall lead with an eight-point buffer on second-placed Sam Meech from New Zealand, while Thompson jumps into third just two points behind the Kiwi.

Macclesfield sailor Hanson said the results show the strength in depth within the British Sailing Team’s Laser contingent at this vital stage of the Tokyo 2020 cycle.

“The British Laser squad is in a healthy position right now – it’s an exciting time to be part of it,” he said.

“The class has been dominated by other nations for a number of years and it’s nice to potentially now be part of the squad that could knock them off their perch.”

Thompson, who represented Team GB at Rio 2016, added: “It was great to get British 1, 2, 3 – we thought it was quite funny when we found ourselves in that position at the windward mark.

“That said, we’ve been doing really well all year so it’s not really a shock or surprise. We’re all pushing each other hard at the moment and that shows in the results. It’s only a good thing.”

With only one race completed, the Laser fleet is facing a big three-race day on Friday, the penultimate day of fleet racing.

The British Sailing Team enjoyed plenty more success elsewhere in Enoshima Bay.

Beijing 2008 bronze medallist Bryony Shaw moved up to second in the RS:X windsurfing class thanks to a brace of consistent scores.

A third and a fifth puts her three points behind leader Peina Chen of China and six ahead of the Netherlands’ Lillian de Geus in third.

Team mate Emma Wilson had a tougher day, finishing 12th and 18th to go into day four in seventh overall.

In the women’s 470 Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter stormed to victory in the opener, followed closely by Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre.

The pair’s hard work was then undone when they were disqualified from the second race after being judged to have crossed the start line early.

World championship bronze medallists Mills and McIntyre followed up with a sixth to end the day sixth overall, just five points from a place on the podium.

James Peters and Fynn Sterrit keep their hold on the 49er fleet, however a trio of high scores sees Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell drop to 11th.

In the Nacra 17, John Gimson and Anna Burnet rounded off a solid day with a race win to sit fifth overall, three points off third.

And Giles Scott stays top of the Finn class, with Ed Wright in fourth and Ben Cornish ninth.

Laser Radial racing was abandoned when the breeze completely shut off in the late afternoon.

World Cup Series Enoshima runs until September 16, with medals decided on the last two days of competition.