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30 March 2011, 09:40 am
Americans And Australians Close Gap On Germans At SAP 505 Worlds
Cameron McDonald (AUS)
Cameron McDonald Cops A Spray

SAP 2011 505 World Championship
Hamilton Island, Australia

After the last three days of the SAP 505 Worlds were postponed, conditions on the fifth day on Hamilton Island, Australia were much better.

Two more races were sailed offering up superb 15-20 knot winds, some great surfing waves and brilliant action that has brought a few competitors much closer to the leading Germans.

It was an excellent but by no means easy win for Michael Holt and Carl Smit (USA) in Race 3. But Race 4 winners, Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh, along with American's Howie Hamilin and Andy Zinn and Luke Molloy and Jim Turner (GBR) were the last three boats Holt and Smit had to wear down to cross the line in first, surfing big waves and overcoming shifty unstable winds along the way.

"It was a tough race," admitted Smit who with Holt finished World's runners-up in 2009. "Crews kept swapping places back and forth in the top eight or so. The pressure kept changing and we just tried to keep grinding the opposition down.

"Mike had to hike so hard going up the last beat where we got ahead of a couple of boats when we picked the right hand shift, then coming down the run we got the last of them and got away a bit,"
Smit said.

"It [the pointscore] is so much closer now, because Ted [Conrads] and Brian [Haines] came second in the second race and Sandy Higgins won the second race, so it moves everyone up closer to Wolfgang [Hunger] and Julien [Kleiner], the German series leaders," added Smit.

In fact, only three points separates the top three, with Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner leading Holt and Smit by two points and Higgins and Marsh by a further point. The Germans had an ordinary 15th in Race 4, which has been used as their drop, a far cry from the two bullets they scored on Day 1.

South Australians Sandy Higgins and Andrew Chisholm looked set to win Race 3, but as Chisholm explained, "we stuffed up the third beat, were trying to get leverage, but we went the wrong way and finished third."

Not to be deterred, the two, whose World's best was a third on home turf in Adelaide in 2007, led Race 4 from go.

"We handled the conditions nicely in that one. The breeze had dropped a little, but we did well to hang on in a decent swell and reasonably confused seas," Chisholm said of the residual effects left from the past few days' bad weather.

"We had a fairly good hold on the rest of the fleet, but it was close racing all the same,"
he allowed.

Like Holt, Chisholm was pleased to be able to close the gap on Hunger and Kleiner. "It'll be a much closer series now," he said smiling.

Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn, Molloy and Turner and Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) did enough today to stay in touch with the leaders.

Racing is expected to resume from 10:00 local time tomorrow morning, weather permitting, with two further races planned.

Family and fans can follow racing live via the tracker with SAP analysis, video and more on the 2011 SAP 505 World's official site at: www.505sapworldchampionship2011.com/

Top 5 after four races:

1. Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner (GER) 1-1-3-(15) 5points
2. Michael Holt and Carl Smit (USA) 3-(6)-1-3 7points
3. Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh (AUS) 2-(7)-5-1 8points
4. Ted Conrads and Brian Haines (USA) 7-2-(10)-2 11points
5. Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn (USA) 4-(10)-6-4 14points

Di Pearson
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