With the Finn, Men’s 470, Laser Radial and Women’s RS:X fleet racing coming to an end tomorrow at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships the final London 2012 Olympic Qualification places on offer at Perth are up for grabs. Thirty one nations secured their spots for London 2012 in the Laser Radial and Women’s RS:X yesterday and attentions turned to the Finn and Men’s 470 today where the battle for spots is tight. After the fleet split, 24 nations are fighting for 19 places in the Men’s 470 and 21 nations are going for 19 Finn places on offer in Perth. Canada’s Luke Ramsay and Michael Leigh are 25th overall and are the 18th placed nation of the 24 within the 40-boat fleet. They have a ten point advantage over China’s Weidong Wang and Daokun Deng, who hold the final nations position, and there is a 13 point gap between Russia’s Mikhail Sheremetyev and Maxim Sheremetyev.
Ramsay and Leigh went 17-26 today and maintain their hold on one of the final places, and after finishing in the top ten in three races they are happy with the way things are going, “For us coming in, our goal was to finish in the top 30,” said Ramsay, “We’re trying to concentrate on that but getting one of the final Olympic spots would be huge and really nice for us but I think that but we’re going to keep moving the programme forward.
“We’re not getting overly anxious about it. Obviously we both want to go to the Olympics and we both want to do well, but at the moment we are happy with where we’re sitting.”
Switzerland’s Yannick Brauchli and Romuald Hausser (SUI) held the final 470 Olympic qualification spot on offer in Perth coming into Races 7 and 8 but lost their spot to the Chinese. But with two races to go the Swiss pair are just eight points off the Chinese and 18 behind the Canadians. Brauchli said, “Eighteen points is a lot but we have to do our own race because in the gold fleet it is up and down all the time. It would be impossible to sail against the Canadians or Chinese so we will just sail our own race.”
Meanwhile in 35th place, and the 23rd nation overall, are Ireland’s Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan. The Irish duo came into Perth 2011 with the aim of qualifying Ireland for London 2012 and after five races the pair were within the top 19 nations. However, in their last three races their 29th, discarded 30th and 25th finish has pushed them out of the top places.
“It’s going to be quite difficult because we need a lot of things to go our way but we are going to keep our heads together and sail until the last beat,” said Flanigan. “We’d have to keep an eye on our closest competitors but because there’s another two boats so close behind us there is no point trying to mark two with another two chasing. We’re just going to have to go out and there and try and get two top tens or two top fives.”