Matt Bugg in Gold Medal Position

  • September 16, 2016
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition features 60 athletes from 23 nations, in 41 boats racing across three Paralympic disciplines. Racing runs from Monday 12 September through to Saturday 17 September 2016 with 65 male and 15 female sailors racing out of Marina da Gloria in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sailing made its Paralympic debut at Sydney 2000 having previously been a demonstration sport at Atlanta 1996. For more information or requests please contact Daniel Smith at World Sailing on or phone +44 (0) 7771 542 131.      Image is "rights free" for editorial use only.

Photo: World Sailing

The RYCT’s Matt Bugg is in the gold medal position going into the final three races of the 2.4m class at the Rio Paralympics, with a brilliant score of 2-1-1 on day four of competition overnight.

The most consistent sailor in the fleet, Matt now sits just one point ahead of London gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR) thanks to a ‘photo finish’ victory in the last race of the day.

Bugg’s effort now has Australian sailors leading in all three classes – Skud 18, Sonar and 2.4m Norlin.

Talking about his ongoing duel with Lucas, Bugg said: “It was really close, that’s twice today Helena and I finished with a metre between us, and there’s one point between us as well.”

Bugg scored 2-1-1 overnight, Lucas 1-4-2, showing that the duel for the gold medal is still open with three races to sail, two overnight (AEST) and the medal race on Friday night (AEST).

His coach Richard Scarr was obviously delighted: “What a day for Matt…impressive display of quality racing . All day it was a calm, process business as usual.

Day four has opened up the top end of the 2.4m fleet from yesterday when only six points separated the top six sailors. After day 4 Matt Bugg (AUS) on a net 26 points, Helena Lucas (GBR), Damien Sequin (FRA) 23, Dee Smith (USA) 39, Bjernar Erikstad (NOR) 35 and Heiko Kroeger (GER) 46 – a margin of 19 points between first and sixth.

On his day, the Tasmanian can, and has beaten everyone in the fleet, but it wasn’t until the Sailing World Cup Hyeres in April this year that he outsailed everyone together at the same event.

While Bugg has been the most consistent sailor in the fleet so far, even he can’t put his finger on it, “I’m not sure how I’ve done it. There’s still a few races left when I can ruin that (consistency) though, But I think that on these race courses you’ve just to never give up…you really have to concentrate from the start of the first race to the last moment of the final race.”

With three races to sail at the Paralympics, Australia heads the leaderboard in all three classes, the Skud 18, Sonar and 2.4m with an outstanding display of consistent sailing.

In the Skud 18, Australians Daniel Fitzgibbon and Leisl Tesch continue to dominate the class with two more bullets on day four. They have a 15 point buffer from the second and third placed Canadian and British teams heading into the final stages of the competition.

In the Sonar, the Australian crew of Colin Harrison, Russel Boaden and Jonathan Harris had another day of solid scoring, leaving them with a 16 points margin over the rest of the fleet.

Words: Peter Campbell