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29 July 2004, 12:30 pm
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Laser Radial European Championship
Ballyholme YC, Northern Ireland

What started as a light breeze built only a little during the day, but enough to get another three races on the score board, allowing the organisers at Ballyholme Yacht Club breathing space after two days of almost non- existent airs.
After four races Benoit RAPHALEN from Nantes in France leads with 14 points. He gained a second, fourth and seventh yesterday and is six points ahead of Stephen COCKERILL (GBR). Stephen's best score was a third in Race Four. Another GBR sailor, Keir CLARKE, who learned to sail in Northern Ireland, lies third with two reassuring first places. He is on 26 points.

Race Officer Alan CROSBIE from Cork got the first race away in just five knots of wind after a postponement, and with a well behaved fleet, managed to start all three without recall. In the difficult conditions black flag use seemed to keep the sailors in order.

Tying on points with Clarke and in fourth slot lies Steven LE FEVRE (Netherlands) who also clocked up a first in his fleet in Race Four, and Jure ZBOGAR from Slovenia, who bettered his second place on Tuesday with a first yesterday.

Twenty year old Paul MCMAHON who counts two fourths and an eighth holds the best Irish position.

But the mover and shaker yesterday has to be another Irish sailor, George KINGSTON from Royal Cork. George was black flagged on Tuesday and after finishing second and eighth in Races 2 and 3, got fired up and won Race Four in the yellow fleet. Provided he can hold his form, George looks a serious prize contender. "I reckoned after two races and three hours on the water, there'd be a lot of tired people, so I just got fired up and went for it to make up for the black flag", he said. He recovered from a poor start and finally passed the Turkish Sevinic on the last downwind leg to take the lead and finish first in the last race of the day.

Among the other fleet winners today were Karol ROSNER (Poland) Alexey SELIVANOV (Russia), Mehmet SEVINC and Onur DEREBASI (Turkey), Sean EVANS (GBR) and Andrea AIRO of Italy.

After Thursday's racing the fleet will be split into Gold, Silver and Bronze divisions with the final race scheduled for Saturday.

RADICAL RADIALS AT BALLYHOLME

A spectator friendly sailing spectacle at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Saturday afternoon (31 July) will round off a week of intense racing in the Laser Radial European Championships and provide the public with an accessible view of what racing high performance dinghies are really like.

Radical Radials will be a set of three showpiece races round marks set close inshore in Ballyholme Bay. Eight invited sailors will take part and will be easily identified by sponsorship logos on their sails. Sponsors are Harland and Wolff, Bank of Scotland, the Flagship Centre, The Yard, NI Events Company, Rooster Sailing, North Down Borough Council and UK Sport. This is an event unique to the Laser class.

Radical Radials will take place at about 4pm on Sunday afternoon.

The championship has attracted the cream of Laser sailors from twenty-one countries and four continents to the biggest one design dinghy-racing event ever to be held in Northern Ireland. Not only are there two hundred sailors visiting Bangor but the total influx is nearer seven hundred with the addition of parents, coaches, team managers, on-the-water judges and results scorers.

Top Ten After Four Races

Pos Nation Name R1 R2 R3 R4 Pts
1 FRA RAPHALEN Benoit, Male 1 7 2 4 14,0
2 GBR COCKERILL Stephen, Male 3 5 9 3 20,0
3 GBR CLARKE Keir, Male 1 11 13 1 26,0
4 NED LE FEVRE Steven, Male, Youth 18 2 5 1 26,0
5 GBR EMMETT Jon, Male 3 5 6 12 26,0
6 POL ROSNER Karol, Male 7 1 17 3 28,0
7 GBR FINDLAY Matt, Male 12 6 3 7 28,0
8 GBR DOBSON Charlotte, Female, Youth 14 3 3 20 40,0
9 GBR BOOTH John, Male 10 15 5 10 40,0
10 CRO MIHELIC Daniel, Male, Youth 8 15 14 4 41,0

Event Media (As Amended by ISAF)
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