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6 April 2004, 09:49 am
Challenging Conditions On Day Three
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Laser Radial Open and Women's World Championship

Day 3 of the Laser Radial World Open and Women's Championship challenged both the race committee and competitors as rain showers passed left and right of the course area exaggerating the already oscillating breeze.
The sun stayed shining on the competitors and a 15-knot breeze provided great racing in spite of each fleet needing several attempts at a start as the race committee struggled to set a square start line.

Once again the most exciting racing was in the women's fleet with series leader Krystal WEIR (AUS) making hard work of holding on to her overall lead and Gea JUTJENS from the Netherlands another new race winner. She said "my coach say's I'm sailing like Lazarus - always coming back from the dead!" In both races today she was deep in the rounding order at the first mark and had to work her back to the front through good downwind speed. In the first race of the day she recovered from eighth to finish first ahead of Jane MACKAY from New Zealand and Corrine MEYER from Switzerland. In the second race Gea Jutjens picked up a right hand shift soon after the start. She held that advantage to lead round the first mark ahead of Mackay and the two of them extended their lead throughout the race. Behind them Weir rounded in 14 and had to make an even bigger recovery than in previous race to finish third.

At the front end of the male fleet Australians Michael BLACKBURN and Tom SLINGSBY continued their dominance in the power sailing conditions each scoring two easy first places in their respective fleets. Behind them results are more mixed. Matt BLAKEY (NZL) had to retire from the first race after receiving his second yellow flag penalty whilst his compatriot, Jason GEALE, scored a second to give hime his first podium finish of the series. Blakey came back with vengence in his second race to score a second to keep him third overall after discard. In the other fleet Nick SKULLANDER (AUS) had his best day so far scoring two seconds.

Overall leaders, Blackburn and Slingsby, are matching each other race for race in their respective fleets and at the halfway stage still share joint first. In strong winds these two have mastered the short wave pattern in the shallow waters of Moreton Bay better than anyone else. Defending champion, Aron LOLIC, from Croatia has been very consistent never finishing worse than fourth but needs to start getting some bullets in the remaining 6 races if he is to keep his title. The real drama will come in days 5 and 6 when the fleet is split into gold and silver and the top sailors go head to head. Throw in a possible change to lighter winds and the picture at the front could change significantly.

Two more races are scheduled for Tuesday, full results are available on the event website at the address below.
Jeff Martin (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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