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15 May 2004, 09:22 am
Hard Day At Sea
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Finn European Championship And Olympic Qualification Regatta
La Rachelle

Yesterday was by far the most difficult day on the water, both for the sailors and the race committee as the wind was everywhere, gusty, shifty, light and patchy. It just didn't seem to want to co-operate.
Whatever the complaints, frustration, the favorites came out in front and the overall results after two races didn't change much. Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ (POL), after a fourth and a seventh is still in the lead, 9 points ahead of direct rival Ben AINSLIE. Sebastien GODEFROID and Guillaume FLORENT are third and fourth respectively.

The first race was won by Gasper VINCEC after the right-hand side of the course was favoured following a big shift during the first beat. The wind, a light to medium 8 to 10 knots according to general description, was very shifty and increased to 12 knots at the start of the second race and up to 15 on the second beat.

The course was a windward leeward in the first race and was changed to a triangle in the second. Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE) was leading the fleet at the mark of the second race until Dean BARKER (NZL) pass him at the end of the reach to win the race from Ben AINSLIE and Emilios.

Four places and eight points are separating the top three Juniors. Lei GONG is the first Junior and first Chinese after eight races. He is placed in 42 position, two places ahead of second Junior, Oleksyi BORYSOS. Tapio NIRKKO is only one place behind in 45. The last race today will be intense.

The battle for country qualification is also very tense with the top 4 countries placed within 3 points. Argentina leads the pack in 28 position followed by Hungary 29, Russia 3030th and Austria 31! Italy is the fifth country in 39 place.

Many countries in selection have to satisfy their country quota to be allowed to participate in the Olympic Games. Florian RAUDASCHL (31) has to be placed in the top 15 to be considered for Athens. Swedish, Canadians, Dutch, Swiss…have also to meet some high level criteria. Among the New Zealanders, it seems that the battle is over and that Dean BARKER will participate in his first Olympic Games in August.

The game is not over for many sailors counting on this last race tomorrow to take the Championship or Olympic selection. Full results are available on the event website at the address below.
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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