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29 May 2005, 03:44 pm
Semi Finals Provide An Exciting Fourth Day
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Holland Regatta 2005
Medemblik, Netherlands

The weather conditions in Medemblik were perfect on the fourth day of the ISAF Grade 1 Holland Regatta. Final race offs begin in four of the fleets today whilst elsewhere some of the winners have already been decided.
The sometimes strong breeze of 20-25 knots in combination with the warm temperatures provided the basis for a great day of sailing culminating in semi final race offs in four of the fleets.

In the Tornado, 49er and the 470 men and women semi finals were sailed at the end of the day. The top six boats competed in short races close to the shore. Numbers one, two and three then go on to the today's finals. The semis proved to be exciting providing the spectators on the terrace with a dramatic finish to the day.

The Tornado fleet will see Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP), Darren BUNDOCK and Edoardo BIANCHI (AUS) and Mitch BOOTH and Herbert DERCKSEN (NED) go up against each other in the final.

In the 49ers, Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR), Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA) and Alberto PADRON and Javier DE LA PLAZA (ESP) line up for the finals, leaving ISAF World Sailing Rankings' number one and Olympic bronze medallists, Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR) out of the top three in their first competitive 49er regatta since Athens.

Mathew BELCHER and Nick BEHRENS (AUS), Sven COSTER and Kalle COSTER (NED) and the number two in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Alvaro MARINHO and Miguel NUNES (POR) will face off in the 470 men's final.

After an excellent day four including two bullets, Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED) take their place in the 470 women's final along with ISAF World Sailing Rankings' leaders, Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadège DOUROUX (FRA) and the young Australian team of Elise RECHICHI and Tessa PARKINSON (AUS). This means three of the four finals today see home sailors contesting the medal places. The Australian sailors have also faired well and are represented in three of the four finals as well.

In the other fleets one final race was scheduled for today.

It looks likely that Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) will further add to his rapidly improving list of honours. A bullet in yesterday's final race sees him eight points clear at the top. SLINGSBY already has two ISAF Graded event wins under his belt and can expect to fly up the ISAF World Sailing Rankings when they are next released on 1 June. Luka RADELIÆ (CRO) had a great day yesterday and two bullets lift him to third overall. Olympic bronze medallist, Vasilij ZBOGAR (SLO), had a poor result in yesterday's final race but still holds on to second and vitally is two places above ISAF World Sailing Rankings' leader, Paul GOODISON (GBR). In the last Rankings' release ZBOGAR was fractionally behind the Brit and his superior finish here could well tip the scales in his favour. Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) started well but in the end looks to have had a disappointing return to the Laser. The current Olympic champion finds himself seventh overall.

The Yngling fleet has a new leader. The British team of Sarah AYTON has moved two points ahead of Ruslana TARAN's (UKR) team. In third are the American team helmed by Hannah SWETT. Overnight leaders, the Dutch team Janneke HIN, now lie fourth. Just seven points separate the top three and according to HIN, 'Anything is possible'.

Joeri VAN DIJK (NED) remains on top in the mistral men fleet. However, HO Chi Ho (HKG) is just one point back in second after he scored a bullet in yesterday's final race. CHENG Kwok Fai (HKG) stays third.

The Mistral women fleet is also incredibly tight at the top. Bullets in races six and seven put CHAN Wai Man (HKG) a point ahead of CHAN Wai Kei (HKG), whilst Germany's Wiebke SRADNICK is holding on to third.

Olympic gold medallist, Ben AINSLIE (GBR) has first place in the Finn wrapped up. With one race to go he leads by over twenty points and does not have single finish outside the top five. Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE) is winning the race behind him, lying three points ahead of Gasper VINCEC (SLO).

The leaderboards are showing the today's final race competed in the Laser Radial and the Star.

At number one in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Fredrik LÖÖF and Anders EKSTRÖM (SWE) would have had high expectations, and look to have fulfilled them with the provisional standings giving them victory in the Star. In only his third ISAF Graded event in the Star, Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ, and his new crew Dominik ZYCKI (POL), put in a great performance to finish second, just ahead of Andy BEADSWORTH and David CARR (GBR).

Sophie DE TURCKHEIM (FRA) looks to have repeated her win in the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française. Despite finishing 16th in today's final race the provisional leaderboard places her first, three points ahead of Britain's Lizzie VICKERS. VICKERS had a great second half of the competition to climb rapidly up the leaderboard. Signie LINDJERG (DEN) finished third overall. Charlotte DOBSON (GBR) and Paige RAILEY (USA) both sailed to the startline for the final race knowing a good result could see them claim the title. However OCS each put paid to their title chances and saw both sailors slip out of the top five.

ISAF, Image, DE TURCKHEIM on top again in the Radial:© Mark Cole
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