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5 December 2005, 09:27 am
STEYAERT Makes Early Running
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Laser Radial World Championship 2005
Fortaleza, Brazil

Over 30 nations from every continent took to the water yesterday for the first two races in the ISAF Grade W Laser Radial World Championship in Fortaleza, Brasil. European Champion Sarah STEYAERT (FRA) holds the lead after the first two races, but number one in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings Paige RAILEY (USA) lies just a few points behind.
For the women, this Worlds is the first since the class was selected as the equipment for the Women's One Person Dinghy event at the 2008 Olympic Games. As a result there was an excited anticipation amongst the spectators to see who would show first in the two women's fleets.

After two weeks of training, the light nine to twelve knot winds were unexpected and caught a number of sailors in all the fleets by surprise. Jennifer SPALDING (CAN) led defending champion Krystal WEIR (AUS), Charlotte DOBSON (GBR) and European Champion STEYAERT at the first mark. The young French star went furthest right on the second windward leg to take a lead which she held to the finish. Followed by SPALDING in second and WEIR third.

In the slightly lighter winds of the second race STEYAERT took places on both downwind legs to recover from twelfth at the first mark to third at the finish behind Gea JUTENS (NED) and Petra NIEMANN (GER), who both held the same positions through out the race.

In the second women's fleet Sarah BLANCK (AUS) had a similar day to STEYAERT coming from fourth at the first mark to finish first and then pulling through to grab a fifth in the second race behind race winner Karin SODERSTROM (SWE).

STEYAERT has a two point lead on the field with BLANC sharing the runner up spot with Larissa NEVIEROV (ITA), who was pleased with her result after spending the day in bed on Saturday feeling unwell.

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Sarah STEYAERT leads after day one
© LC Moreira
World number one, Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion and winner of the Europeans (STEYAERT finished as highest European in second to take the title European Champion) RAILEY posted two consistent fourth places to take fourth overall, two points ahead of SPALDING. RAILEY said, 'I'm pretty happy. I was surprised by the light wind because I thought it would be 'nukin' but I think it is good because it makes the whole regatta more interesting.'

In the men's fleet, which is also split into two groups, Carlo DE PAOLI (ITA) led Andreas PERDICARIS (BRA) and Max ANDREWS (NZL). On the downwind PERDICARIS and ANDREWS pulled though to first and second which they held to the finish. Place changes were a lot more dramatic in the second group when Brad FUNK (USA) dropped from third to 13th as the young Russian Igor LISOVENKO came from nowhere to win from Daniel JACKOBSSON (BRA) and fellow Brazilian Eduardo COUTO.

COUTO was again at the top in his second race rounding in second he passed Tiago RODRIGUES (BRA) to lead home Dany STANSIC (CRO) who recovered from a poor first windward leg and FUNK who this time climbed from fourth to third.

Brazilians were also cleaning up in the other group as Fabio Dutra PILLAR mirrored COUTO's race. Peruvian Gonzalo BARCLAY was the only person able to spoil a perfect Brazilian top nine with a second place finish. A lighter day is expected tomorrow before the trade winds slowly build for the remainder of the Championship.

For a complete list of all the news about the Laser Radial World Championship CLICK HERE.

International Laser Class Association (As Amended By ISAF). Image, World number one Paige RAILEY appraches the mark next to Kieler Woche winner Gintarė VOLUNGEVIČIŪTĖ:© LC Moreira
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