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Heavy winds knock over Team USA, propel host hero to victory on day 6

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Six different fleets sailed a total of 16 races in a packed afternoon of the 2016 Rio Olympics sailing competition.

Skies were mostly clear, but more heavy winds on the Marina da Glória made for fast and exciting racing in men’s and women’s RS:X windsurfing, which was covered live, and men’s and women’s 470, men’s Finn, and mixed Nacra 17.

Women’s RS:X

Races 7-9 in the women’s RS:X windsurfing class broke the series wide open.

Flavia Tartaglini of Italy and Charline Picon of France, the two far-and-away leaders coming into the day, retain their top spots, but barely. Both struggled uncharacteristically in the two later races.

Patricia Freitas of host nation Brazil shot up the standings to fifth position with results of 10, 1, and 3.

Russian Stefaniya Elfutina quietly moved within one net point of top spot, despite no victories in any of the first nine races. She has yet to finish outside the top nine.

Men’s RS:X

Defending gold medalist Dorian Van Rijsselberghe continued his dominance of the men’s windsurfing class.

For the second straight afternoon, the Dutchman posted results of 4, 1, and 1. He leads the rest of the fleet – headed by London silver medalist Nick Dempsey of Great Britain – by a whopping eight net points.

American Pedro Pascual has been unable to figure out the Guanabara Bay winds thus far, with no finishes inside the top-20.

Mixed Narca 17

A fourth race was added to the afternoon’s slate of mixed Nacra 17 racing due to Wednesday’s weather delays.

The Australian duo of Jason Waterhouse/Lisa Darmanin was fastest all day with results of 4, 1, 1, and 5.

Through six races, Ben Saxon/Nicola Groves of Great Britain are without a winning run, but still sit tied with the Aussies atop the overall standings as they have yet to finish a race outside the top-seven.

Team USA’s Bora Gulari/Louisa Chafee capsized their catamaran in the day’s first race, and had an all-around rough afternoon on the water with finishes of 21, 12, 21, and 4. They fall to 16th in the standings.

Men’s and Women’s 470

Both fleets of two-person 470 dinghies sailed their third and fourth opening series races this afternoon.

It was another strong day for Americans Annie Haeger/Briana Provancha, highlighted by a second-place finish in the later race.

New Zealanders Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie, along with Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark of Great Britain took victory in races four and three, respectively. Both pairs currently hold a top-three spot in the overall standings.

On the men’s side, Croatians Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic hold on to their top spot with results of fourth and first this afternoon.

Aussies Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan put together consecutive third-place finishes to pull within three net points of the Croatians.

Men’s Finn

It looks more and more likely that the gold medal in men’s Finn sailing will once again go to a Brit.

Scott Giles added his second victory in race six after an 11th-place finish in race five. He leads Slovenia’s Vasilij Zogbar, who struggled today, by 12 points with half the opening series still to sail.

American Caleb Paine put together his best day of these Games, with 14th-place and second-place finishes. He ends the day in fourth place, just two points back of Hungary’s Berecz Zsombor, winner of race five.

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