SAIL FOR GOLD: McGovern and Seaton pick up early win
NORTHERN Ireland sailors Matthew McGovern and Ryan Seaton have made a good start at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta as they fine-tune their preparations for the Olympic Games.
The 49er class duo raced three times on the opening day at the Olympic venue in Weymouth, and claimed first place in the final race of the day.
After finishing eighth and 11th earlier, they are ranked ninth overall going into day two.
McGovern, 27, and Seaton, 24, qualified the nation in December at the World Sailing Championships in Australia, and London 2012 will be the first time since Athens 2004 that Ireland have been represented in the 49er event.
McGovern admits they are treating Sail for Gold as a dress rehearsal for the main event in under two months' time.
"We are trying to make this a bit like the Games with the atmosphere and personnel that are around, so we just trying to put a nice consistent solid week in," he said.
"The aim yesterday was just to make sure we didn't lose the regatta on the first day and I think the last race really paid off.
"We are trying to decide our final mast for the Games. We won't use our Games boat here but we will use our mast that we think we will probably want to use.
"We are doing a lot of tuning on that, so it's good from that point of view to be out with the other boats and race against them in the kind of conditions we hope to get in the Olympics.
"It looks like we are going to have a nice windy week later on which will be really good to check the rigging with that.
"Knowing that in eight weeks we will be back and it will be race time is really good.
"It's a really different regatta with a different vibe to it, and the whole being up in London for the opening ceremony is going to be pretty insane and we are really looking forward to it."
Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team. For more information go to www.skandiateamgbr.com.