Kirklands hold heads high after tough week
Sailors Jesse and Zander Kirkland bowed out of the Olympic regatta with their heads held high following a gruelling day on the waters of Weymouth yesterday.
Despite failing to reach the medal race, the brothers surpassed the expectations of many after posting four impressive top ten finishes on their Olympic debut in the high-performance 49er skiff.
The local teams best moment arrived in the 12th race when they finished a remarkable second to underline the potential that has brought them to this point.
Yesterday they entered the final two fleet races with hopes of ending the regatta with a bang.
However, they could only manage disappointing finishes of 19th and 18th in light and fluky conditions on the Nothe Course that left them 19th in the 20-boat 49er standings.
The first race was delayed and when it eventually did get underway had to be abandoned after the winds shifted, forcing the race committee to set a new course.
The conditions were really hard, Zander said. The wind was all over the place.
Scoring bullets in yesterdays two races were reigning world champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (Australia) and Giuseppe Angilella and Gianfranco Sibello (Italy).
Outteridge and Jensen clinched the gold medal with a race to spare while taking the silver was New Zealands Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
The eventual bronze medal winner will be decided during tomorrows medal race.
This campaign has been against the odds and we have done some great things, said crewman Zander, the elder of the Kirkland siblings.
We definitely had our moments and the thing we were most happy about was that we were right up there with the top guys in the windier stuff.
It was a great week for sailing. We had good breeze that showcased why the 49er is the most popular Olympic boat, and it was cool to be a part of high performance sailing with the top 20 guys in the world.
The Kirklands campaign got off to one of the worst possible starts after they posted four DNFs in the first eight races.
But they managed to salvage pride with a string of impressive finishes that proved that they can compete with the worlds best on their day.
With better execution on the race course, former Newport Harbour sailing coach Zander reckoned he and his brother could have done better on their Olympic debut.
We thought our goal of making the medal race was achievable, he said. When we were sailing well we were comfortably averaging top tens.
If we were able to put a better week together we couldve made the medal race because we showed we could average top tens when we sailed smart and clean.
Zander said costly mistakes in the boat ultimately came back to haunt them.
We both made mistakes that were unforgivable, he added. And at this level its very hard to come back when you make mistakes.
At this level you have to be on top of it all the time and unfortunately we werent as much as we wouldve liked to have been. And obviously we are disappointed that things didnt come together for us the way we wouldve liked.
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