Faustine MERRET (FRA) was today announced the winner of the Womens Mistral class at the Sail Melbourne Regatta on Port Phillip Bay.
Finishing with her worst result today - a fifth in the Mistral Womens class at Sail Melbourne, she still managed to win the regatta by some nine points from her nearest rival, Jessica CRISP (AUS) with 26 points and Allison SHREEVE (AUS) on 38.
Merret, who sailed a superb series that included top three places in all but the last race, dropped the fifth place as her worst result, and really had no peers at this regatta, despite facing some of the top ranked girls in the class.
Allison SHREEVE finished second in this last race, the heavier airs more suited to her style. "I am OK about missing out on the Olympics, I know my time will come, I've just got better and better, so I am happy about that. Sure, I'm disappointed, but that's sailing,'"
the stoic 21 year old commented.
Crisp, who has won the battle for Olympic points, finished her day on the windy course on Port Phillip Bay with a third place and was looking forward to celebrating her victory tonight with "maybe just one drink,"
Meanwhile Julien BONTEMPS (FRA) had the Mistral Men's sailboard wrapped up yesterday, but that did not stop him from racing and winning the final Race 11 today on a windy Port Phillip Bay.
Bontemps, like his French counterpart, Faustine MERRET, did not look back from Day one, winning eight of the 11 races, his worst result also a fifth placing.
Max OBEREMKO (UKR) grabbed a second place today to finish his regatta overall with 17 points from Lars Kleppich (AUS). Kleppich finished third today for third place - not a bad effort, being the oldest man in the fleet - 36 years old and a father of two - he still has what it takes and looks like representing Australia in Athens - his third Olympics.
Eleven competitors from five nations contested the Mistral Mens including some of the top windsurfers from around the world.
With Sandringham Yacht Club race officials calling off racing in some classes today, including the Laser class, due to strengthening wind conditions on Port Phillip Bay, Paul GOODISON (GBR), has won the class this afternoon.
Goodison took a break from sailing, saying he had, "become tired and was no longer interested,"
but after some time out, regrouped and this week proved that time away had done no harm but a lot of good. He finished the eight race series with 12 points, four wins included in that total.
Brendan CASEY (AUS) continued some of his best performances for some time, coming home second with 24 points.
Michael BLACKBURN (AUS) finished in third place overall with 26 points, the Sydneysider coming down with cold during the week. Despite not feeling well, Blackburn said he was "just relieved my final Olympic qualifier is finally over and I finished in the top 25, which is what I had to do to get to Athens."
Casey, from Queensland and Blackburn were the two Australian hopefuls for selection, Casey brought home varied results while Blackburn stayed at the top end, but at their last two regattas, Casey has found his way again.
Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) won fourth place on countback from Mark HOWARD (GBR) on equal points of 28.
The Laser fleet consisted of 33 competitors from 11nations including a number of the top ranked sailors in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.
Anthony 'Nocka' NOSSITER was today announced winner of the Finn class. The Finns were also kept ashore today when winds strengthened and Sandringham race officials decided to call off all racing in the class.
Nossiter, from Sydney, won seven of the ten races sailed, and with two race drops finished with nine points from Josh BEAVER, (W.A.), who finished on 15 points, two first places in his score. Watch out for the Beaver, he gets better with each regatta.
Paul MCKENZIE (Vic) finished in third place overall with 20 points.
Chris NICHOLSON and Gary BOYD (AUS) won today's 49er final race, and were one of only three to complete the course, and actually finish the race.
The duo has won the series outright, and if things go according to plan, will represent Australia at the Olympic Games in Athens in August this year.
With winds increasing to up to as much as 28-30 knots, the 49er fleet was caught out, the bulk of the fleet suffering breakages, and Masato Tekaki, the Japanese crew of Kenji NAKAMURA, was taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs.
Ben and Marcus TURNBULL (AUS), young brothers from Victoria, sailed an excellent regatta, including today's battering race, to finish their regatta in a deserved second place, just one point in front of the third placed Ilya ERMAKOV/Maxim LOGOUTENKO (RUS), the first Russian crew in the history of 49er sailing to finish in a top three place at a major regatta.
Robbie LOVIG/Glen DOUGLAS (Vic) won the Tornado class series at as officials cancelled racing on the final day, the Tornado's another class to fall foul of the weather.
The pair counted four first places in their final score of 15 to beat Greg WYERS/David HART (NSW) by three points and Andrew MACPHERSON/Greg LYNCH by five points.
Stuart SHIMELD (NSW) did not finish the final race in the 2.4mR class today, but it did not stop him from winning the series, which he did with eight points.
Hot on his heals in second was the man who will probably represent at the Paralympics later this year, Peter THOMPSON, who finished with 10 points, only two behind the winner, after a win in the final race today.
Sailed in increasingly big winds on a large swell, Thompson surfed home just in front of his main rival for the Olympic spot, Michael McLean, who finished with 20 points.
McLean said afterwards, "I'm glad we finished when we did, I thought my boat was going to fill with water, she kept nose diving a bit, but going downwind today was wonderful - it felt so fast."
Kim WILLIAMS finished fourth on a countback with Kathy MCLEAN relegated to fifth. McLean is the wife of Michael, the two enjoying sailing together at this regatta.
Krystal WEIR (AUS) stepped into a Europe single handed dinghy for the first time three weeks ago, her sites set on an Olympic campaign in 2008. Today she won her second race of the Olympic & Invited Classes series at the Sail Melbourne Regatta to finish the second overall from Sarah BLANCK (AUS) - both are from Victoria.
Weir, who turned 19 just a few days ago, commented this afternoon, "I am still sailing my Laser Radial, so that is still on my mind. I am quite excited about my win today - I'm glad I didn't see Sarah capsize, otherwise I might have gone in too. I just have to stay focussed now, I have a lot to learn, although the Europe feels quite similar to the Laser Radial to sail."
Sarah BLANCK (AUS), had the lead as they worked their way to the windward mark for the first time on Port Phillip Bay this afternoon, however, Weir rounded first and in the increasingly gusty and building wins, Blanck capsized twice, leaving her fourth overall in the final Race 11, behind Weir, Verena WAGNER (AUT) and Maiko SATO (JPN).
As Sail Melbourne was the final Australian selection series for those Olympic classes racing at the Olympic & Invited Classes regatta, Blanck looks certain to represent at the Sydney 2000 Games,
Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) would be feeling quite confident right now. The pair today won the 470 Olympic class from Sandringham Yacht Club at the Sail Melbourne Regatta.
Coming straight from their 420 World title win at Mornington Yacht club just short of one week ago, the pair finished this regatta with two first places, five seconds and other top placings to finish the 11 race series with 18 points, seven in front of the second placed Nick ROGERS/Joe GLANFIELD (GBR), the latter pair will represent Great Britain in Athens in August this year.
Kazuto SEKI/Kenjiro TODOROKI (JPN) had an excellent regatta to finish in third place overall with 39 points. They are ranked 21 in the World, and were not expected to finish in a top three position - six of the top ten sailors in the world were in the fleet.
Gustavo MARTINEZ/Dimas VALDIVIELSO (ESP) had only one win in the series, but were consistently top four finishers to finish fourth overall with 40 points.
Gildas PHILIPPE/Nicolas LE BERRE (FRA), the No. 2 ranked pair, were touted to be the major threat to all in this class, but petered out as the series went on to finish fifth with 41 points.
In the Womens fleet, Ingrid PETITJEAN/Nadege DOUROUX (FRA) were unstoppable from the word go. Their final points, including a second and third place in the Combined fleet, beating the top male crews for these places, gave them a deserved ninth overall with 87 points to win the Womens, from Christina BASSADONE/Katherine HOPSON (GBR) with 108 points, for 13 Combined and second women.
Natalia VIA-DUFRESNE/Sandra AZON (ESP) finished 14 overall, third Women on countback from Jenny ARMSTRONG/Belinda STOWELL (AUS) on 27 points each.
Armstrong/Stowell had their best race of the series in the final race, in which they finished ninth in Combined for a win in the Womens.
"We got a good start, picked all the right shifts, we were racing top ten with all the men. It was nice to get a good start and a good finish, Jenny's a good driver, actually we haven't had the easiest regatta this week, so it's good the selection is over,"
'Even some of the other girls commented, 'you two were the only girls out there racing today' - we went for it, but we were conservative when we needed to be, there was no use going over the top. We feel some confidence going to the National's next week. We can get on with our plans for the Olympics now,' Armstrong said.
A prize giving will be held tonight for all the classes racing, by the host, Sandringham Yacht Club. Full results are available on the event website at the address below.