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10 June 2011, 09:24 pm
Klepacka And Alabau Set For Final Day Battle
Zofia Klepacka (POL)
Zofia Klepacka Was The Star Of Day Five

Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta
Weymouth, Great Britain

The winner will take it all tomorrow in the Women's RS:X as Zofia Klepacka (POL) and Marina Alabau (ESP) enter the Medal Race locked on 33 points each.
Klepacka was the star of the penultimate day at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta after she claimed a bullet and a third place finish to end the day on equal points with Alabau, who experienced a rare bad day finishing 14-10.

Chasing the frontrunners in third is Klepacka's Polish team mate, Maja Dziarnowska, on 46 points and two points behind in fourth is Lee Korzits(ISR). Both sailors will go into the Medal Race with a chance of claiming the gold medal. But Klepacka will take the initiative into the final day whereas Alabau will be looking to bounce back.

The Men's RS:X remains a desperately tight contest as well, New Zealand's overnight leader, Jon-Paul Tobin had a good day with a second and a fourth, but Britain's Nick Dempsey had a great day and his first and third pulled him to with a point of the Kiwi. Dutchman, Dorian Van Rijsselberge can't be counted out of the reckoning though, six points behind Dempsey. These three will almost certainly settle the medals between them, as the fourth placed Piotr Myszka is another 17 points further back.

In the Star class the gold will be decided by who beats who - the Brazilian partnership of Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada still top the leaderboad, but are now on equal points with the Swedes, Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen. The pair have a massive 30 point cushion to third placed Diego Negri and Enrico Voltolini from Italy, who moved up to third by winning the final race of the day.

In the 470s, the French team of Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos posted a ninth and a first to hold onto the overall lead. But it's now a charging Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, the Australian World Champions, who are in second after scoring two thirds today. The gap is a very closeable five points and the Aussies will have the bit between their teeth as a win would ensure them qualification for 2012. In third are Israel's Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela - but they are 24 points off the lead and will be in defensive mode in the medal race. The biggest losers of the day were Sweden's Anton Dahlberg and Sebastian Ostling, who dropped from third to ninth after picking up a 36th and 30th.

The 470 Women are just as tough a contest, but the Kiwi pair of Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie - who were so dominant in the breeze of the past few days - showed they can sail in the trickier stuff as well with a seventh and a second. They go into the medal race with a 16 point advantage over the French team of Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron. They in turn pushed the leaders from earlier in the week, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark into third, another six points adrift. A shock omission from the medal race will be the World Champions, Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED).

The 49er Gold fleet sailed four races to settle the medal race positions, and Australian world champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen extended their lead. They now have a 16 point cushion to Stephane Christidis and Peter Hansen from France, who moved up into second place. In the chasing pack are three British teams, all wanting their chance to take the one place per country available at the Olympic test event in August. Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes moved into third place scoring a third and fifth, but are only two points ahead of team-mates John Pink and Richard Peacock. To make the GBR mix even more complicated, Paul Brotherton (who represented Great Britain at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in the 470) and Mark Asquith are just eight points behind. Who will come out on top of the British trio is anyone's guess.

The battle of the Brits continued in the Finn class, with Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott each posting a race win. Ainslie took the first, taking him 20 points clear of Scott, but Scott was not letting the triple gold medallist win that easily. At the top mark of race two, Scott rounded third with Ainslie five place behind in eighth. What happened next amazed all those watching, Ainslie hit the windward mark, had to do a penalty turn, but still managed to move up two places to sixth by the leeward mark. He then gained one more place on the final lap to finish fifth. So 16 points separate the two going into the medal race - Ainslie needs to be no worse than eighth if Scott wins. But if history is anything to go by, it's unlikely Ainslie will let Scott go sail his own race.

In the Lasers, overnight leader and current world champion, Tom Slingsby (AUS) didn't have a good day with a 13th and 12th. Fortunately for Slingsby, Andrew Murdoch - who was second this morning - had a worse day with an 8th and a 20th. Unfortunately for Slingsby, former World, Olympic and European champion Paul Goodison returned to form to post a first and third for the day and move up to within striking distance - just one point behind Murdoch. These three will fight out the podium positions, as fourth-placed Philipp Buhl is 34 points behind Goodison.

The Laser Radials had an interesting day with all of the leading pack posting some high scores. It was the leader of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) who came out best, and now leads Evi Van Acker (BEL) by six points. Ireland's Annalise Murphy remains in contention for gold or silver another 13 points behind, but she may well be more concerned with defending bronze from Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) and Charlotte Dobson (GBR) - both within eight points of the Irish hopeful. Those not making the cut for the medal race included the current World Champion, Sari Multala (FIN) and US star, Paige Railey.

The Match Racing also reached the money rounds this morning when the quarter finals opened for business. It was the USA that turned on the early style with the Gold Group winners Sally Barkow dispatching Silja Lehtinen (FIN) by 3 - 1. Team-mates and compatriots, Anna Tunnicliffe went one better though, and beat France's Anne-Claire Le berre without losing a single race.

The other two quarter-final matches were much closer, both going to a nail-biting fifth race. In the end, it was Claire Leroy (FRA) that prevailed over Australia's Nicky Souter. That left Lucy Macgregor (GBR) to emerge victorious from their match against the Netherlands' Mandy Mulder.

The semi-finals were sailed soon afterwards, and the tough quarter final had obviously done Lucy Macgregor and her team no harm at all. They took on what had previously looked to be one of the form teams of the regatta, Sally Barkow and co. There was a blizzard of penalties and incidents, but the Brits emerged winners from the melodrama with a 3-1 scoreline. It was left to Barkow's fellow Americans to keep the Stars and Stripes flying, and Anna Tunnicliffe and her colleagues delivered with another 3-1 victory, this time over Claire Leroy's French team. Tomorrow's final should be a cracker, with both Macgregor and Tunnicliffe appearing to hit top form at the right time.

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