Smith and Evans on course for medal race

  • Benn Smith

(Photograph courtesy of World Sailing/Sailing Energy)

    Benn Smith (Photograph courtesy of World Sailing/Sailing Energy)

Bermuda pair Rockal Evans and Benn Smith remain in the hunt to advance to the business end of the Hempel Sailing World Cup in Miami, Florida.

Smith started and finished the second day of racing at the regatta yesterday in eleventh position in the 40-strong Laser class while Evans slipped one spot from eighth to ninth in the 14-boat Finn class.

Both sailors are competing in the waters of Biscayne Bay for the sole spot on offer to the North American region for the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer in their respective classes.

Their immediate task is to finish among the top ten in their racing fleets in order to advance to the medal race on Sunday, which will also decide who qualifies for Tokyo.

Smith got his day off to a flyer after producing his best finish of eighth in the opening race yesterday and third of the Laser series.

The 20-year-old was among the top five at one stage but lost a bit of ground on the final run to the finish.

“I was disappointed as it had the potential to be at least a sixth,” Smith said. “But in the big picture it’s good for my scores.

“It was very windy with lots of waves, making it pretty hard to go fast upwind. But once in the groove it was easy to stay with the leaders.”

Smith battled the whole time from a poor start in the second race, a task made all the more daunting after injuring his finger rounding the bottom mark, and had to be content with eighteenth.

“The second race was a bit tricky as it was the first bad start I had in the event, so I was fighting back the entire time,” he said.

“I messed up my finger on the downwind mark rounding, so I was trying to stay in the game while in pain.

“Overall, I am happy with my day and I am still in eleventh place.

“If I keep working hard and getting consistent scores I definitely have the potential to be in the medal race.”

Spaniard Joaquin Blanco still leads the Laser Class standings after four races of the series.

Meanwhile, Evans lost ground in the Finn class after producing finishes of eighth and tenth.

However, he has an eight-point advantage between himself and eleventh place rival Stephen Smeulders, of the United States.

Caleb Paine, of the US, still leads the Finn class standings after four races.

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Published Jan 22, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 21, 2020 at 8:41 pm)

Smith and Evans on course for medal race

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