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10 July 2011, 09:23 am
Nico Delle Karth And Nikolaus Resch Retain Lead In The 49er Europeans
2011 European Championships 49ers
49er fleet gets underway in Helsinki

Open European Championship
Helsinki, Finland

Racing for the 49ers and 470 fleets in Helsinki but frustration for the Finns
It was a long day for the three remaining fleets in the 2011 Open Europeans in Helsinki 2011 with racing postponed while waiting for light breeze to finally fill in late in the day. This gave the 49ers three races and two for each of the 470 fleets. Sailing on the most offshore course, the Finns were cancelled earlier so will start their championship on Sunday.

Nico Delle - karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) retain the overall lead in the 49ers, and with the first of the 470 races completed, Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) and Ryunosuke Harada and Yuugo Yoshida (JPN) share the lead after both posting perfect scores, while Tina Mrak and Teja Cerne (SLO) lead the 470 Women.

In the 49ers, both yellow and blue fleets were able to get off three races in tight racing just off the inner harbor. After race five of the series, the overall leaders were Peter Kruger Andersen and Nicolai Thorsell (DEN) with a three point lead over Nico Delle Karth and Nikolaus Resch. The Danes were leading the sixth and final race of the day but a failure of their main halyard at the leeward gate meant their day was over.

"We came around the gate in first, going into the second lap and our main fell down and we had to go in. There are different ways you can attach your main and obviously the one we chose at the moment is maybe to orisky. It's not the main halyard itself that broke, it's the way we tied the rope. From now on we'll use a normal shackle; we've used rope in the past as we don't want the shackle to break the carbon fibre. It's the first time it's happened to us."

With six races completed the leaders going into the final day of qualifying are Nico Delle Karth and NikolausResch followed by Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) with Peter Kruger Andersen and Nicolai Thorsell falling to third overall. Qualifying races finish on Sunday followed by three more days of the final series culminating with the medal race to be held on Wednesday 13 July.

In the 43 boat, 470 Women's fleet the first race of the day produced a close finish between Slovenia and Spain, with Tina Mrak and Teja Cernejust moving ahead to take the gun by six seconds over Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos (ESP).

After several boats were sent off the racecourse in race 2, suffering the consequence of a black flag penalty it was 2008 Olympic bronze medal winning helm Fernanda Oliveira with crew Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA), who grabbed the lead early on. Pacheco and Betanzos in the leading pack were focused on catching the Brazilian boat and kept piling on the pressure. But it was not to be and the win went to the Brazilians with a 30 second margin with the Spanish in second and Mrak and Cerne in third.

Delighted with their race win, Oliveira commented, "In the first 10 minutes I think we had the lead. We started on the right side and then tacked and we could sail with clear air with good wind, and then we tacked again and it was done. It was a big difference against the fleet."

After two races, Mrak and Cerne lead the fleet, with Pacheco and Betanzos second and Oliveira and Barbachan third.

The 74 boat, 470 men have been split into two fleets, red and yellow, with an equal assignment of boats to each fleet, and seeding based on World Rankings. Seventeen of the men's top twenty world ranked teams are in Helsinki so the racing will be close.

Up to the race track first was the yellow fleet, including the world number one team of Belcher and Page in its ranks and they did what they do best, a race win in race one.All eyes were on the Australian team as they went into race two and they continued their stunning form with a second race win.

Across in the red fleet Harada and Yoshida matched the Australians performance, also with two race wins. This puts both teams one equal points and leading overall after day 1. A fourth and second for Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) places them in third overall.

Page reflected on race 1, "There were sort of like little puffs and, randomly I guess, we got them better than most and were able to come through. We didn't do anything crazy, didn't grab a corner or anything like that but just got a little bit better than those boats around us and came through and it felt like that most of the day - in control."

With the Finn course area the furthest offshore, around five miles from the venue, no racing could start within 90 minutes of releasing the fleet from shore. The longer the delay went on, the more unlikely racing was to happen. In the end PRO, Peter Reggio took the decision to cancel leaving the sailors to hope for a better day on Sunday.

Racing continues for the all three fleets on Sunday. Follow live tracking at www.openeuropeans2011.com starting at 11 o'clock.

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