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19 July 2001, 11:24 am
Denmark Up Front
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Dragon World Championships

Denmark and Germany dominated the overall standings in the 2001 Dragon World Championships Wednesday, with nine Germans and four Danes in the first 15 after a day of difficult technical racing.
Malte Phillipp of Germany, who until today's race had occupied a convincing first place, was relegated to 10th place on a BFD Black Flag. Instead the overall first position went to Dane Lars Jensen who came in 10th in the day's race but at 52 points overall was two points ahead of Germany's Harm Müller-Spreer.

Malte Phillipp's BFD Black Flag, however, can be subtracted at the end of the Worlds, provided enough races are held, leaving him still a strong contender.

Wednesday's racing was a highly technical affair, with little wind and difficult conditions for the 77 elite Dragon sailors. The 12.5 nautical mile race only got started after four postponements due to the wind conditions, and took over three hours to complete.

"In order to get as fair a start as possible we had to go through 4 re-starts today - partly because the sailors were all rather aggressive to start with, but also because what wind there was kept changing," said Principal Race Officer Christian Lerche.

"The first leg was extremely difficult with a 2-3 meter per second northerly wind, with even less wind in some areas and very difficult currents," he added, saying that after the first leg winds were more evenly distributed.

"But it was the first leg that decided the final positions today," he said. That, in itself, seemed to further underline Matle Phillipp's misfortune. He rounded the first mark in the first four, and had he completed would have been in a dominating first place.

Danish meteorologists are not promising better winds for the rest of the week's racing, making the 2001 Worlds less one of speed racing but more boat fine-tuning and an understanding and full use of available conditions.

The 2001 Dragon World Championships continue until Sunday, with three races left on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The current World Champion, Dane Claus Høj Jensen has not yet shown form and is in 19th place overall after coming in 28th in Wednesday's race.

Julian Isherwood/News Editor
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