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7 July 2004, 10:38 am
Rockets on the water!
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49er European Championship
Torbole, Lake Garda

With 20 knots blowing on flat water the sailors were treated to typical Garda conditions on the first day of the Continental Championship on the famous Italian lake.
The sailors came back exhausted after putting in all their energy to the three races. The red fleet on Alpha course was quickly divided into two. The top sailors were finishing like rockets while the new teams were fighting against the brisk wind.

Allan NOREGAARD (DEN) tired but pleased said. "These are the best conditions you can hope during racing." The American team, Tim WADLOW and Pete SPAULDING were lucky, they broke their main sheet during the first race but still managed to finish second. They had time to come back ashore before the next start. Tim said, "The start line was so close that we could go back ashore to get ready again". He added. "The conditions are awesome here and we just want to have a great time."

The Finnish team of Thomas JOHANSON and Jukka PIRAINEN sailing on Bravo course are probably the most delighted. Thomas won the Gold medal in Sydney in 2000 and is going to the Games but this time with Jukka. He said. "This is the best sailing day I had in my life! The conditions were great and we finished first in all the races!"

The French team of Marc AUDINEAU and Stéphane CHRISTIDIS, even though they had a 3, 4, 5 were still not too pleased. Marc said. "We are not too happy. We managed to be steady but we made a lot of mistakes and could have done better." George LEONCHUK, crew of the Ukranian team was even less satisfied. "Not good at all today…But tomorrow is another day!"

Most of the sailors are here on holiday and the others are thinking about the Games and are testing their equipment. This is the case of the Danish team of Michael HAESTBECK and Dennis DENGSOE who just won their Trials at Kiel. They were 4th at the Worlds and today they are preparing themselves for the Games. Michael said. "We are here to practice. We will try to have good results but the conditions in Athens won't be the same, both the weather conditions and also the attitude of the sailors..." Only one team is still fighting to go to the Games: the Dutch pairing of Mats HELLMAN and Pim NIEUWENHUIS. The Netherlands haven't yet decided if they are going to send them.

Provisional results:

Pos Crew Nat Total
1 Thomas Johanson/ Jukka Piraine FIN 3pts
2 Chris Nicholson/Gary Boyd AUS 4pts
3 Michael Hestbeck/Dennis Dengsoe DEN 5pts
4 Tim Wadlow/ Pete Spaulding USA 5pts
5 Chris Draper/Simon Hiscocks GBR 7pts
6 Alister Richardson/Alex Tobutt GBR 8pts
7 Stevie Morrison/Ben Rhodes GBR 9 pts
8 Christoffer Sundby/ Frode Bovim NOR 10pts
9 Pietro Sibello/Gianfranco Sibello ITA 10pts
10 Allan Nooregaard/ Klaus Naur DEN 11pts
Camille Parrain (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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