With just one more day of racing at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships several classes winners have been decided.
France have won Gold in the Hobie 16's. Netherlands and Poland have claimed the Mistral Gold medals. Australia 420 girls have beaten the British defending champions to take gold. Whilst Britain's' Mark Powell looks to emulate fellow countryman Ben Ainslie, he leads the Laser fleet by 6 points.
Joeri Van Dijk (NED) has successfully defended his youth world title in boys' Mistral. "It's really nice, I'm very happy. It goes to show that it wasn't just luck the first time, He said. "It's been really hard work as the winds have been very light and all the guys were so good." Joeri has already entered the international Olympic circuit by winning at Spa regatta earlier this year. "I will try for the Olympics for 2004," said a jubilant Joeri.
Poland takes Gold in the Mistral girl's fleet for third year in succession. 50 kilo Zofia Klepacka, the lightest competitor in the fleet, has followed her country-woman Agata Brygoia, to the top spot even though she was unwell. "I was ill for most of the regatta, only today have I been feeling better," said Zofia. "The light winds played for me, but I'm am very comfortable in heavy winds also, I don't think it would have changed the result," a happy and confident Zofia added.
Melissa Bryant and Martha Leonard from Australia beat defending champions Victoria and Emma Rawlinson to take Gold. Melissa was still in shock, "It hasn't really hit me yet, it hasn't really sunk in," she said after racing. The pairing had only been sailing together for three months when they took Silver in Sydney "This time we've been sailing together for nine months instead of three months, and we've had a lot of actual race practice, rather than just tacking and gybing. It has been really hard, you've just got to keep looking and working," added Melissa.
Although disappointed not to have defended their title, Victoria Rawlinson, who currently lie in silver medal position, was still upbeat saying, "it's not as good as the gold but still an achievement. The standard's really gone up since Sydney, the Australians sailed really well and deserved to win."
Pre-event favourites Romain Motteau and Francois Morvan from France have taken Gold in the Hobie 16. They need not compete in the last race as they lie 18 points ahead of their nearest rival New Zealand in a fleet of just 12 boats. "We had a really good day more wind and we were fast. We are very excited to have won here", said the French pairing. They are now off to England to compete in the Formula 18 World Championships but their ultimate goal is still an Olympic medal in the TornadoSport.
Only three points separate New Zealand,Guatemala and Australia, all fighting it out for the remaining two medals. Guatemala's Timothy Keenan-Rogers was one of the few sailors unhappy with the windier conditions. "We had an up and down day. Once the wind picked up, being just two kilos over the minimum weight means we weren't very well suited to the conditions, so it was tough for us." Mark Powell (GBR), now leads the highly competitive Laser fleet with a six point lead over South Africa's John Eloff. Only one point separates second to fifth places and any of the top five can still win Gold. "It was the steadiest conditions we have had so far. The shore was twelve miles to windward, with longer shifts of only 10-15 degrees as opposed to the normal 30-40 degrees," said Mark. His downwind speed seemed to give him the edge today as the British team manager, Chris Gowers, explained. "With a bit more breeze today the fast guys came through. It was definitely Mark's downwind speed that served him well today, he's definitely the quickest downwind."
Australia's Ben Lamb was not so happy with his performance. A capsize in the last race rounded off a frustrating day. "It was not a good day today. I was winning the first race and then some guys who were way back went over to the other side of the course. I was just covering the top five and they ended up coming in 200 yards ahead. I ended up fourth in that race so it wasn't too bad. Then in the next race I was third coming down the run and tipped it over and fell back to eighth position," said a disappointed Ben.
Kate O'Brien (NZL) was looking set for Gold in the Laser Radial until Germany's Wiebke Schroder scored two firsts and a sixth place to take the lead by one point overall. "I was very nervous in the beginning - now I'm winning I'm even more nervous," said Wiebke. As with Mark Powell in the Laser boys fleet, Wiebke was the fastest downwind. Great Britain, Croatia and Sweden will fight it out for the Bronze medal tomorrow, with Britain's Natalie Lloyd currently lying in third place, eight points ahead of Croatia's Gea Barbic.
Tuesday 10th July is the last day of racing, with just one race scheduled.
Provisional Results after ten races (two discards applied):
1. ITA Mattia Pressich/Giacomo De Gavardo 32 points
2. FRA Guillaume Vigna/Thibaut Gatti 39 points
3. SIN Junhao Tay/Dahui Ou 41 points
1. AUS Melissa Bryant/Martha Leonard 19 points
2. GBR Victoria Rawlinson/Emma Rawlinson 28 points
3. FRA Marjorlaine Le Moigne/Laurie Morvan 36 points
Provisional Final Results after eleven races (two discards applied)
1. NED Joeri Van Dijk 15 points
2. GRE Bryon Koklanis 20 points
3. HKG Kowk Fai Cheng 23 points
1. POL Zofia Klepacka 19 points
2. FRA Marion Defay 29 points
3. NED Marjan De Ron 29 points
1. GBR Mark Powell 45 points
2. RSA John Eloff 51 points
3. NZL Michael Bullot 52 points
1. GER Wiebke Schroder 27 points
2. NZL Kate O'Brien 28 points
3. GBR Natalie Lloyd 39 points
Hobie 16 Open
Provisional Final Results
1. FRA RomainMotteau/Francois Morvan 17 points
2. NZL ChrisKitchen/Mark Overington 35 points
3. GUA FernandoGuirola/Timothy Keenan-Rogers 37 points
Volvo Trophy after ten races