The pin may have been the preferred end of the starting line for the 49erFX Medal Race, the first of Day 5 of the Hempel World Cup Series Miami, but in light air there’s a lot of risk in starting in a pack. At times, it appeared that overnight leaders Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) would be able to grind into the top six, which would’ve guaranteed them the gold medal. But in the end Martine Soffiatti Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) hung on for second and Maloney and Meech came out on the wrong side of a tough battle on the final run.
The Kiwis finished ninth and dropped into silver. Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR) were fourth in the race to earn the bronze medal.
The pin end was also the popular starting spot for the 49er class. In fact, there were so many boats starting at the pin end that fully half of the 10-boat fleet was over the line early. Among those crossing the line prematurely were Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) and James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR), who started the Medal Race second and third, respectively. Only Fletcher-Scott and Bithell returned to start properly. But they were so far behind there was no chance of challenging pre-race leaders Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) for the gold medal, even though the German team didn’t exactly have the greatest start. Heil and Ploessel crossed the line third to secure the gold.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) quickly removed much of the drama from the Nacra 17 Medal Race, at least in terms of who would get the gold. In fact, the defending Olympic silver medallists took control of the race before even crossing the starting line.
In a light breeze, the RS:X is the most punishing Olympic sailing discipline to sail. Yunxiu Lu (CHN) started the race in first and was determined not to let the gold slip through her fingers. Chinese sailors swept the top three spots in the Medal Race. Hongmei Shi was first, Lu second and Rio 2016 silver medalist Peina Chen was third. But only Lu stood on the podium in Regatta Park. Katy Spychakov (ISR) won silver while Charline Picon (FRA) took bronze.
Pawel Tarnowksi (POL) took a risk at the start of the Men’s RS:X Medal Race and it cost him a spot on the podium. The Polish sailor carried a six-point lead into the Medal Race, but the 22 points he picked up from the early start allowed three sailors to slip past him in the overall standings. Bing Ye (CHN) was the primary benefactor, going wire-to-wire for the win, which ensured him the gold medal. Radoslaw Furmanski (POL) earned the sliver with Pierre Le Coq (FRA) grabbing bronze.