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18 January 2004, 01:24 pm
Photo Finish for Men|s Mistral on Day Three
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New Zealand Olympic Nomination Trials
Torbay Yacht Club, Auckland

Racing continued today in the trials. Conditions were heavier than the previous two days, with North to Northeasterly winds of 18 - 20 knots and choppy seas, forcing the Race Committee to reduce the schedule from two races per class to one.
The Laser and Europe classes started race five of their eleven race series just after 10.00am as planned. Sarah MACKY notched up another comfortable win in the Europe class from Miranda POWRIE, with Kate O'BRIEN crossing the line in third. A battle is now developing for second and third place, currently Sara WINTHER holds second with ten points, but Miranda POWRIE is still well within striking distance only one point behind with six races remaining.

The highly competitive Laser class tussle continued today, with Murdoch, Pepper, Dawson, Burfoot and Slater all jostling for position. Hamish PEPPER led for much of race five and maintained this position across the finish line. Murdoch managed to overtake Dawson in the final stages to finish second with Dawson in third. Murdoch and Pepper have edged ahead of the rest of the fleet sharing seven points overall, with Rod DAWSON sharing 14 points with Nik BURFOOT, which sees them in third and fourth respectively.

Even though they suffered gear failure, Andrew BROWN and Jamie HUNT won the 470 men's race with the Keen brothers taking second and Simon COOKE and Peter NICHOLAS in third. This victory has allowed Brown and Hunt to move up to second overall, in front of former World Champion skipper Simon COOKE. With six races to go, this class remains close the Keen brothers have the overall lead, but with only three points separating first and third place everyone is keeping a close eye on this fleet. There are two women's crews competing alongside the men, Shelley HESSON and Linda DICKSON are in fifth place overall, while Melinda HENSHAW and Jan SHEARER are a mere three points behind in seventh.

Half a board-length was the difference between first and second in the men's Mistral. The wind dropped to 10 - 15 knots, creating near perfect conditions for the final race of the day. Current Youth IMCO champion Tom ASHLEY was in the lead for the majority of the race, followed by James WELLS and Jon-Paul TOBIN. In the final stretch, Jon-Paul TOBIN overtook James WELLS, and gained on Ashley resulting in a photo finish. So close was the finish that even Tobin himself was unaware that he had secured the win from Ashley until he received confirmation from the finish boat. This win was significant for Tobin who has now moved up to third place, closing in on Ashley and Wells who are first and second respectively. With six races remaining there are only three points separating these three top runners.

Racing continues tomorrow, with a further two races scheduled for each class. There will then be a break in the programme with racing resuming on Friday.

Full results are available on the event website at the address below.

Louise Andrews (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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