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15 July 2004, 02:45 pm
No Change At The Top As Winds Fail
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© Alex Williams/PWA

PWA Lanzarote Freestyle and Super X Grand Slam

No change at the top as wind fails to hold long enough for final heats. Swift continues to hold on to number one despite solid challenges from Albeau and Pritchards.
Another calm morning greeted competitors and crew in Lanzarote yesterday. The beach at Costa Teguise was bathed in hot sunshine with beautifully clear skies first thing in the morning, with just a gentle onshore breeze. As sailors congregated for the 10 o'clock skippers meeting the wind had swung side shore and begun to slowly pickup.

Shortly after lunch, the thermal breeze strengthened substantially and as the race committee began to set a course, sailors took to the water to test their equipment and get in some vital last minute practice. Race Five would start at 14.45.

The first heat saw Robby SWIFT (JP, Neil Pryde) and Antoine ALBEAU (AHD, Neil Pryde) safely through to the semi finals along with Brazilian Kauli SEADI (AHD, Naish). Heat two rounded the course with Nik BAKER (Mistral, North) and Peter VOLWATER (Arrows) clearly dominating and also taking their place in the top 16.

By the time heats three and four were completed Matt (Gaastra) and Kevin PRITCHARD (Starboard Gaastra) had joined the other front runners along with Cyril MOUSSILMANI (Fanatic) to keep the pressure firmly on Swift at the top.

The conditions, which had blown solidly through the first four heats, now started to look a little less consistent, but still the big guns were firing. Baker found himself sailing back to the beach early having been a bit too eager at the start shooting off prematurely. Swift sailed home clean in the first semi final ahead of Diony GUADAGNINO (Neil Pryde), Volwater and Albeau who did just enough to qualify for the final in fourth. The second semi read Pritchard, Pritchard, Vidar JENSEN (North), Moussilmani, again placing all true contenders in the eight man final.

Half way through the losers final, the blue and white checked abandonment flag clearly signalled what everyone watching could already see - that the wind had dropped. All eight sailors were wallowing around the second gibing mark. After one more attempt to start, it was clear that conditions had worsened yet further and it was decided to cancel for the day.

With the finals still to complete, race five has not had much impact on the top sailors. Swift and Matt PRITCHARD are still separated only by a tie break for the first place and all sailors in the top five have a realistic chance to do some serious damage, with a possible further four races left to run tomorrow (Thursday).
Vivienne Masters (As Amended by ISAF)
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