The Laser, as usual, has the most events to count towards this ranking - with one C1 event, one Grade 1 event, two Grade 2 events and two Grade 3 events. The first to take place was the ISAF Grade 2 Sail Auckland and it was the home nation who won the top four slots in the Laser. Michael BULLOT (NZL) topped the podium and after also picking up victory at the 2005 New Zealand Laser Nationals and the 2005 Asia Pacific Championship he climbs eleven places up the ranking list to number 34 - his highest ever position. Andrew MURDOCH who has been on the circuit for much longer, finished second to Bullot in Auckland and two more top five finishes at the New Zealand Nationals and Asia Pacific Championships boosts him up eight places to number 33. There is lots of other Kiwi action on this ranking with six sailors joining the ranking and several making big gains. Blair MCLAY is one such sailor and has shot up 78 places to number 71, and another is Jason GEALE who has shot up a massive 170 points from 347 to 117 thanks to top ten finishes at Sail Auckland and the 2005 Asia Pacific Championship.
It is all the same sailors in the top 20 with the top three going to Robert SCHEIDT (BRA), Paul GOODISON (GBR) and Michael BLACKBURN (AUS). The only sailors to really upset the apple cart in the top 20 are Mark HOWARD (GBR) who moves up to 17 from 20 and Mark MENDELBLATT (USA) who has now gone up to number four from six. Taking a slight nose dive in the top 20 is Hamish PEPPER (NZL) who slips from 16 to 19 - it's unlikely that he'll be particularly bothered as he is probably still celebrating his team's victory at the 2005 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship this morning.
The other Grade 1 event in this period was the Laser Midwinter's East which took place in Florida from 23-27 February. Andrew CAMPBELL (USA) has his second ISAF Grade 1 podium position for 2005 (he finished second at Rolex Miami OCR) - not a bad start to this Olympic quadrennium - and subsequently also moves six places up the rankings to 56. We could be seeing a lot more of this young sailor who won the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship back in 2002 with a race to spare.
There are 900 Laser sailors on the ISAF Rankings and the next few months should be an interesting times as sailors begin to decide if they will be staying with the Laser as they look toward the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition in Beijing.
Single-handed dinghy Women - Laser Radial
Krystal WEIR (AUS) has now given herself the necessary results to leap ahead from the equal first she held with Paige RAILEY (USA) on the 2 February to lead the Laser Radial rankings. Krystal's victory in the ISAF Grade C1 Asia Pacific Laser, Radial and Masters Nationals secured the top spot for her in the rankings.
Being new Olympic equipment, the Laser Radial is still seeing a transfer of sailors coming from the old Olympic the Europe, but already the class is seeing a lot of young sailors coming to the fore. The blank scorecard is also giving many new sailors the opportunity to leap straight into the limelight. There is certainly no trading on old wares in this newly ranked event.
Former ISAF Youth World Championship medallists (Krystal herself being the perfect example) have burst into the rankings above more experienced sailors, such Olympic silver medalist in the Europe, Lenka SMIDOVA (CZE), who has dropped 27 places down the rankings to 32. And Lenka is not the only sailor in unfamiliar rankings territory. Fellow Olympian, Petra NIEMANN (GER), third in the final Europe ranking in September 2004, found herself placed 42nd last month and has slid another 19 places to 61st. Britain's Charlotte DOBSON has also nosedived out of the top fifty dropping 17 places to 57. However, neither of these three have competed since the previous rankings, so the move is not too surprising.
With the exception of Lenka the current top 50 is conspicuous by its absence of European nationalities. Last month a group of Europeans gathered around the 40-50 place mark only to be displaced this time around by more sailors from Asia, North America and Australasia. For the time being it looks like Europe's best sailors will have to wait until the Spring before they can expect to see their names rise back up the rankings. However this month has seen the Greek contingent in the rankings swell after the recent ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp Week.
At the moment it is the Southern Hemisphere sailors who have the advantage with their major events currently taking place, giving them plenty of opportunity to rack up points with good finishes in highly graded events. As if to illustrate this point last month's joint leader, and Krystal's arch rival, Paige RAILEY (USA) has dropped to seventh in the rankings, with here win in the ISAF Grade 1 Laser Midwinters East.
Krystal and Paige are separated by four New Zealanders and an Australian, all of whom came in with strong finishes in February's 2005 Asia Pacific Championship. 2004 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championhip silver medallist, Jo ALEH (NZL) had a slightly disappointing fifth place finish at the Asia Pacific Championship. However the 18 year old moves up into second place thanks to her strong finish behind Krystal in the Australian Laser Championships. Number three in the rankings is another New Zealander, Miranda POWRIE, along with Krystal this year's consistent finisher, with two fourth places in the above events.
Even at this early stage patterns are beginning to emerge that look like they could be a strong indicator of the future stars of this event. Krystal and Paige have won both their opening events and it looks likely that they will continue their close rivalry from the 2003 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships. There, Paige just topped her Australian counterpart to take the gold medal. Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) is right behind Paige in the rankings at number eight, and in both races of the year so far, finishing the Rolex Miami OCR and the Laser Midwinter's East in second place.
With four events set to be included on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings before the next ranking release of 30 March, expect to see more sailors and more nations making their way onto the rankings list, and a fierce battle between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere sailors for the top spots as this new Olympic equipment begins to feel the wind in it's sails.
Double-handed dinghy men - 470
The men's 470 fleet count the results from just one regatta and that is the ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp Week which concluded on Wednesday. The regatta was a particularly Greek affair, with Greek sailors taking all of the top six places. First place went to Mihalis MILAIOS and Pavlos KAGIALIS whose impressive scoreline prevented Andreas KOSMATOPOLOUS and his new crew Andreas PAPADOPOULOS (GRE) from winning their fourth title in five years. Milaios holds a ranking position of 76, way down the list compared to double Olympian Kosmatopolous who retains his position at number 7.
The top 13 teams all retain their positions with the Italians Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI holding on to their number one slot. Their lead is a slim one however and the 2004 Olympic gold medallists Paul FOERSTER and Kevin BURNHAM (USA) are just ten points behind them in second with Alvaro MARINHO and Miguel NUNES (POR) another 37 points further back at number three.
There are five new entries to the men's 470 rankings with congratulations going to Georgios VASILAS and Vagelis MITAKIS (GRE) who enter the highest at number 169 on equal points with China's Lin WUZHI and Zhou BOXIONG. Vasilis and Mitakis finished third at Eurolymp and is joined in the rankings by Kabouridis PANAGIOTIS and Aggelos LEMANIS (GRE) who ended up in fourth on countback after finishing with equal points to Vasilis and Mitakis. Pangagiotis and Lemanis enter the rankings at 171.
Double-handed dinghy women - 470
There have been no results to count toward the women's ranking as neither Sail Auckland, Campionato de Verano, International Carnival Sailing Week or Athens Eurolymp met the ISAF Grading criteria. This means that Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX (FRA) remain in the top spot ahead of Vlada ILIENKO and Natalia GAPONOVICH (RUS) with Jenny ARMSTRONG and Belinda STOWELL (AUS) in third.
The rest of the top 20 remains exactly the same as for the last ranking on 2 February and it's not until you get down to number 26 that there is any change. Karin ALMQUIST and Teresa ENDANDER (SWE) move up one place to number 26 moving ahead of Janja OREL and Alenka OREL (SLO) whose 2003 Athens Eurolymp results have slipped out of their points tally. It is the same story for other teams in the top forty and there is subsequently lots of minor jostling for position throughout the rest of the women's ranking list.
In total there are 77 teams on the women's 470 ranking list, whilst on the men's rankings there are 227 teams. Both fleets have sailors representing all six continents.
Single-handed dinghy open - Finn
The Finn fleet have one event to count for this ranking release, the ISAF Grade 2 Semaine de Cannes 2005 which took place from 16-19 February. The event was won in emphatic style by Guillaume FLORENT (FRA) who took the bullet in seven of the eight races. Florent remains at number seven in the rankings and there is no change above him either, with Rafael TRUJILLO VILLAR (ESP) staying at the top ahead of Karlo KURET (CRO) and Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ (POL) in second and third respectively.
The big mover in the top 20 is Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE) who climbs up six places to re-enter the top ten at eight, after his win at the ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp which he concluded on 2 March 2005 with 10 straight wins - having to discard a first place! There are other minor shuffles in the top 20 but nothing exceptional. David BURROWS, who was announced yesterday as a member of the Irish 2008 Olympic squad and aiming for his third successive Olympic Games, has not however fared so well in this ranking and slips three places to number 14. Fellow nationals rivalling him for the slot will be Aaron O'GRADY (IRL) and Tim GOODBODY (IRL). O'Grady is currently at number 27 in the world after rising two points, whilst Tom GOODBODY is yet to feature on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. Has 27 year old Burrows got what it takes - only time will tell?
In second place at Semaine de Cannes 2005 was Austrian sailor Florian RAUDASCHL who has subsequently progressed five places up the rankings to number 57. Third placed Kenneth BOGGILD (DEN) enters the rankings for the first time at number 129= and in doing so is also the highest new entry - congratulations to him!
Double-handed dinghy open - 49er
The 49er fleet are only counting the results from one regatta for this ranking as the others in the calendar did not meet the ISAF grading criteria. The ISAF Grade 3 V Carnival Regatta took place in Cadiz, Spain at one of the venues used for the 2003 ISAF World Championship. The winners of this regatta were Rodion LUKA and George LEONCHUK (UKR), as a result they remain at number two on the rankings with no change to their points. Winning this ISAF Grade 3 regatta is small fry for this pair who won the silver medal in Athens and the seven events which are counting towards their points are all ISAF Grade 1 and therefore carrying a higher multiplying factor.
The bronze medallists from Athens, Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR), remain at the top of the ranking list with Chris NICHOLSON and Gary BOYD (AUS) snapping at the heels of the Ukrainians in third. There are other minor changes in the top 20 but no new arrivals.
Finishing second in Cadiz were Alberto PADRON and Javier DE LA PLAZA (ESP) and they subsequently move three places up the rankings to number 42. Third place went to the French team of Paul MEILHAT and Mathieu BOURDAIS who are steadily improving their ranking position since they joined the ladder in May 2004, having climbed a further three places to number 53.
There are 162 teams on the rankings and no new entries this time around.
Multihull Open - Tornado
There have been no events to count towards this ranking for the Tornado. The world's top 20 subsequently remains exactly the same as it did for the 2 February 2005 ranking with double Olympic gold medallists Roman HAGARA and Hans-Peter STEINACHER (AUT) retaining their position on top of the pile. It remains an extremely slim lead however and they are just eight points ahead of Mitch BOOTH and Herbert DERCKSEN (NED), and hanging on to third place are Olivier BACKES and Laurent VOIRON (FRA).
To find a position change, you will have to go down to number 34 where brothers Helge and Christian SACH (GER) have climbed two places from number 34. Their rise is due the demise of Dimitrio THEODORAKIS and Adonis BOUGIOURIS (GRE) whose points have diminished as they can no longer count their sixth place at the 2003 Athens Eurolymp and subsequently slide down to number 37. It's a similar story for Sandro MONTEFUSCO and Stefano RIZZI (ITA) who have also lost their results from the 2003 Athens Eurolymp and move to 38.
There are 120 teams on the Tornado rankings and no new entries.
Keelboat Women - Yngling
There have been no events to count towards the Yngling rankings since the previous ranking on 2 February 2005, with any position changes therefore a result of the rolling two-year calculation. There are subsequently very few changes and Kristin WAGNER, Anna HOLL and Veronika LOCHBRUNNER (GER) retain their position at the top, ahead of Olympic bronze medallists Dorte JENSEN, Helle JESPERSEN and Christina OTZEN (DEN). The only change in the top 20 is for Karianne EIKELAND, Beate KRISTIANSEN and Lise Birg FREDRIKSEN (NOR) who move ahead of Katerina G IAKOUMIDOU, Helena DIMITRACOPOULOU and Efi MANTZARAKI (GRE) to swap 13 and 14.
Further down the table, there are again only very minor alterations in position as the calculation system drops off results that are more than two years old. 44 teams are on the ranking list, representing 19 nations from five continents
Keelboat Men - Star
There has been one event since the last ranking to add to the points of the Star fleet and it was the big one, the 2005 Star World Championship. Taking place in Argentina and the first of the World Championships for the Olympic classes since the 2004 Olympic Sailing Competition, the Star World Championships saw the Olympic bronze medallists came out on top to take the coveted title. Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU (FRA) who also won the ISAF Worlds in 2003 have subsequently climbed three places up the rankings to number three.
Freddy LÖÖF and Anders EKSTRÖM (SWE) remain at the top and still hold a generous cushion of points. Their fourth place at the Worlds was perhaps disappointing for the defending champions but no one can argue that the depth of talent in this fleet is phenomenal. Iain PERCY and Steve MITCHELL (GBR) ended the Championship how they would have liked to begin, with two bullets and this was enough to bring them up to third overall and help them climb up one place in the rankings to second overall. Multiple Olympic medallist Torben GRAEL with crew Marcelo FERREIRA (BRA) have also benefited from their result at the worlds, with a second overall boosting them five places up the rankings to number five.
Making a leap of the same size is the Spanish skipper Roberto BERMUDEZ DE CASTRO who teamed up with Manrique DOMINGO for the Worlds and now sits at number six on the rankings, having placed 17 at the Worlds.
New into the top 20 are Roy HEINER and Alex BREUSEKER (NED) and Iain MURRAY and Andrew PALFREY (AUS). Heiner and Breuseker finished seventh at the worlds, a dramatic improvement since 2003 when they finished 50, and are the biggest climbers going up nine places to number 16. Murray and Palfrey have moved up five places to number 18. It's bad news however for Mark NEELEMAN and Peter VAN NIEKERK (NED) who have suffered badly from not competing at the Worlds and slide down five places from number two to number seven. It's a similar story for three more Olympians, Peter BROMBY (BER), Ross MACDONALD (CAN) and Colin BEASHEL (AUS), the question is, are we going to see them re-joining the circuit later in the year?
And of course, we could not publish a story about the Star without mentioning Robert SCHEIDT (BRA). The Laser legend certainly made his mark on the World Championship and with crew Bruno PRADA finished sixth overall. As the sailor's training plans for 2008 begin to gather place, Torben GRAEL will certainly be looking over his shoulder at his fellow countryman. Scheidt's ranking position reflects his achievements and now with two events listed he rises 50 places up to number 57.
Another notable climber is the team from India, a nation that does not automatically spring to mind when one thinks of Star sailors. Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN and Nitin MONGIA have been steadily climbing the rankings since they entered at number 132 in July 2003 and their final result of 30 at the Star Worlds has helped boost them further up the rankings to number 35. The highest new entry is Guillermo ALTADILL with crew David VERA (ESP) who join the rankings at number 108 after finishing 22 at the Worlds - congratulations to them! Altadill and the aforementioned Bermudez are also part of Torben GRAEL'S Brasil 1 team for the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race.
The Irish Sailing Association announced their squad for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition yesterday including the two top ranked Star crews, so Maurice O'CONNELL and Edmund PEEL can celebrate again today as they climb 82 places up the rankings to number 76. They may be the lowest ranked Irish team but will certainly be giving Max TREACY and Anthony SHANKS a run for their money and did indeed finish two places above them at the Worlds.
There are now 300 teams on the Star Rankings.
Windsurfer Men - Mistral
Four new sailors onto the ISAF World Sailing Rankings this month - from Greece, Turkey and the Ukraine - as result of the ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp which has just concluded.
Most of the top ranked sailors are taken a well earned break from the Olympic circuit, and few have got on the water since August. As an indicator none of the world's top 10 have competed since Athens.
At the top of the fleet the ISAF World Sailing Rankings are led by Maxim OBEREMKO (UKR), who hasn't been out of the world's top four for two years. Despite his performance on the international circuit, he couldn't make the grade when it came to the Olympic scene last Summer. A similar situation for the second placed Julien BONTEMPS (FRA).
For the latest news on the Neil Pryde RS:X, the new equipment for the Windsurfer Men and Windsurfer Women events, please refer to the ISAF website or the Neil Pryde RS:X website.
Windsurfer Women - Mistral
With no events counting to this issue of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, as the number of competitors (8) and nations (3) at the Athens Eurolymp did not meet the Grading Criteria, movements in position are as a result of the two-year rotation of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.
The only significant change sees Barbara KENDALL (NZL) drop out of the world's top 20, moving down from 19 to 24.
The next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings will take place on 30 March 2005 up to and including the results from the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.