Evans and Smith losing ground
Rockal Evans endured a tough day competing in light and shifty conditions at the Hempel Sailing World Cup Series Miami in Florida yesterday.
The Bermudian sailor slipped three places in the Finn class standings from sixth to ninth and is now second in a three-man battle for the sole qualifying spot on offer to the North American region for the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.
Evans's day got off to the worst possible start when he was disqualified for going over early at the windward end of the start line in the first race.
His woes were then further compounded as Mexican Juan Perez Soltero finished third to surge ahead of him in the battle for Olympic qualification.
Evans finished eleventh in the next race, but was unable to close the gap on Soltero who finished fifth and now holds a nine-point advantage over his Bermudian rival with two races remaining in the opening series.
Alejandro Perez Ontiveros, of Mexico, is the remaining sailor in contention for the sole North American Olympic spot and is a further 38 points adrift of Evans in twelfth.
Evans hopes to fulfil a childhood dream of competing at the Olympics in the same class as his late grandfather, Howard Lee, who represented Bermuda at the 1976 Games in Montreal.
Caleb Paine, of the United States, leads the Finn class standings after eight races.
Meanwhile, Benn Smith, Bermuda's other representative competing in Miami, lost further traction in the Laser standings yesterday.
He started the day in thirteenth and returned ashore in fifteenth after finishing seventeenth in the only race contested.
“It was a really tricky race. Big wind shifts, big pressure, different pressure across the course,” he said. “It was just a tough race, but I'm still in contention to be in the medal race.
If I have three top-ten finishes tomorrow [today] then I should be right in the mix.”
Francisco Guaragna Rigonat, of Argentina, leads the Laser standings after seven races.
The Hempel Sailing World Cup Series Miami is the final opportunity for North American competitors to qualify for the sailing competition in Tokyo.