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4 September 2009, 10:04 am
Competition Gets Tough At 49er Europeans
Italian brothers Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello
Italian brothers Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello came to the fore in Thursday's racing at Zadar

49er European Championship 2009
Zadar, Croatia

Sailors made their intentions known on the first day of racing in the gold fleet for the 2009 49er European Championship in Zadar, Croatia.
While Emmanuel Dyen and Stéphane Christidis of France remain at the top of the leaderboard, several teams stepped up their game to formally challenge the leaders.

Conditions were slightly more breezy than yesterday with clearing clouds and the wind out of the south at 8-10 knots. Both Gold and Silver race committee teams were able to adjust to the changing conditions giving the sailors 3 good races in each fleet.

Finnish sailors Laura Lehtinen and Kalle Bask revelled in the conditions with the lowpoint for the day of a 1-5-1. Lehtinen commented when asked about his day: "For us it was pretty easy. We found a good way to go on the first start and after that we did the exact same thing three times. The starts were really hard and really exciting but we came out pretty good. After that it was really easy sailing. The weather was really nice and its really good competition."

Also challenging the French team were the Sibello brothers, Pietro Sibello and Gianfranco Sibello of Italy who are the current ISAF World Ranking leaders. Pietro commented, "We had two very good starts in the first two races. We had some problems at the start of the last rate, but we battled back to 15th. I feel we are going up and up and we'll finish good tomorrow." The Sibellos finished 2, 2, 15 for the day with a tie on total points with Dyen and Christidis at 61 points.

In the silver fleet, Emil Toft Nielsen and brother Simon Toft Nielsen lead the 39 boats on the silver course.

Racing for the finals continues tomorrow with the medal race held Saturday.

Results - click here

Jerelyn Biehl
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