IT has been a shaky start for Fremantle’s Carrie Smith in the opening four races of her gold medal tilt.
Competing in the Women’s 470 competition, Fremantle Sailing Club’s Smith and partner Jaime Ryan had a hiccup in the first race, where they were the second last crew across the finishing line.
They fared better in races two and three, crossing the line in eighth and 11th respectively, before brutal sailing conditions in the fourth saw them the last crew to finish after they capsized.
Ryan said they thought they were doing well, but the waves got the better of them.
“We had a bit of a capsize on the first downwind and unfortunately although we got the boat up pretty quickly, the kite got itself in a nice tangle and that really made the rest of the race a bit hard for us,” she said.
“It was pretty disappointing to come away from that but I guess we were happy with how we were sailing to that point, so we’ll try and take the positives and there’s still a lot of racing left.”
New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, the defending Olympic champions, said it was some of the toughest conditions they had ever experienced.
“It was just keeping the mast pointing upwards,” Aleh said.
“It was pure survival out there; the wind was big. The waves were big.
“It couldn’t have been more of a contrast to all the fluky stuff from (race 1 and 2), but this regatta is getting to be fun.”
With six races to go before the medal race, Smith and Ryan are 13th out of 20 boats, with New Zealand, Japan and Great Britain leading the pack.
The Australian pair will set off on race five just after midnight tonight.