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14 May 2004, 10:54 am
A Patient Man's Day
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Finn European Championship And Olympic Qualification Regatta
La Rochelle

<I>"It was puffy, shifty,…a patient man's day",</I> Richard CLARKE, taking second place, summarized yesterday's shifty race by these simple words; but the race was far from simple.
Starting with 15 knots, the wind was going all over the place. Boats at each end of the line were sailing on different tack. "It was hard to know who was leading on the first beat" explained Guillaume Florent, 11th today.

First at the top mark, Nenad VIALI from Croatia enjoyed "half an hour of glory" before dropping to fourth position at the end of the reaches. He was followed by Soren HOLM, Rafael TRUJILLO, Richard CLARKE, Andrew SIMPSON, Zhang XIANGFENG and Dean BARKER. Soren HOLM, who, like the Croatian had lost some ground on the reaches, claimed first place at the end of the second beat in front of Richard CLARKE and Andrew SIMPSON. The wind by then had dropped to 10 knots and the race committee had changed the Oscar flag (free pumping downwind) for Romeo, reverting to the usual RRs 42.

The jury was again in action and penalized 4 sailors including Ben AINSLIE and Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ for the second time, forcing the regatta leader to retire from the race. "This is so stupid, I saw the C flag for the change of course at the top mark but I didn't see the R flag. I was so concentrated on the shifts and Sebastien just behind me. It is a real pity, I was coming eighth and this will make it harder to win the regatta." declared a disappointed Mateusz. Richard CLARKE led the fleet around the last leeward mark with Andrew SIMPSON just behind. The last beat proved tricky. Simpson took the option on the right while Clarke sailed more conservatively in the centre. More pressure on the right lifted Andrew SIMPSON to the finish. Clarke was second in front of Soren HOLM and Rafael TRUJILLO. If the previous day was "kiwi day" yesterday was declared "Croatian day" with Nenad VIALI, Karlo KURET and Marin MISURA taking fifth, sixth and seventh places. The first Junior was Wietze ZETZEMA (NED) in 40 place.

After 6 races (and 1 discard) Mateusz is still in the lead with 16 points over Ben AINSLIE and 18 points over Sebastien Godefroid. Florent Guillaume is in fourth place in front of Dean BARKER. The first Junior is Lei GONG from China in 43 position. Tapio NIRKKO is second junior in 45 place and Oleksyi BORISOVin 49.

In the battle for Olympic qualification, the top 5 nations are: Austria (Florent RAUDASCHL), Argentina (Alejandro COLLA), Russia (Vladimir KRUTSKIKH), Italy (Michele MARCHESINI) and Hungary (Balazs HAJDU).

With three more races scheduled, anything can happen in all the battles engaged in this intense Championship. Two races are scheduled for today, with a start at 1 PM. Full results are available on the event website at the address below.

Overall Top Ten

Pos Name Total R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Nation
1 KUSZNIEREWICZ Mateusz 10 2 2 2 1 3 DNF POL
2 AINSLIE Ben 26 28 4 1 4 2 15 GBR
3 GODEFROID Sébastien 28 1 6 3 35 7 11 BEL
4 FLORENT Guillaume 37 11 5 9 2 13 10 FRA
5 BARKER Dean 47 4 37 6 18 10 9 NZL
6 PAPATHANASIOU Emilios 52 29 1 4 17 8 22 GRE
7 WEBB Clifton 54 3 9 19 9 BFD 14 NZL
8 HOGH-CHRISTENSEN Jonas 54 13 7 7 24 19 8 DEN
9 CLARKE Richard 55 17 35 11 13 12 2 CAN
10 HOLM Soren 58 5 10 25 30 15 3 DEN
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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