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15 September 2009, 09:00 pm
Brits And Aussies Lead With Big Breeze For Day Two At Weymouth
Australia's Tom Slingsby
Australia's Tom Slingsby has been the star of the show with four bullets from four races in the Laser fleet

Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta 2009
Weymouth & Portland, Great Britain

Gusts of up to 35 knots hammered Weymouth and Portland today at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, but despite the testing conditions Britain and Australia continued to shine with both nations occupying three top spots at the final event of the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup series.
Finn sailor Giles Scott leads the table for Skandia Team GBR having posted a 1, 2 in his two races of the day, escalating him to first from yesterday's eighth place. Recently crowned European Champion Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) follows closely behind in second. Brits also lead the way in the Star and Women's Match Racing events. Despite a "few scary moments", Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) continue to occupy the top rung in the Star class after another race win today, with Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) unmoved in second overall.

"It's fun to be racing in Weymouth in some big stuff," said Percy. "We're a bit out of practice and there were a few scary moments today, but if you've sailed for 150 to 200 days in the previous year you'd be all over this. We managed to just about sneak a win today.

"We're sailing pretty well, but there's a long way to go yet and a lot of work to do."

World Cup leaders Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Ally Martin (GBR) retain their 100% record in the new Elliott 6m match racing class after beating Mary Rook's fellow British crew in the one match that today's difficult conditions allowed.

Lush commented: "It's been interesting for us - yesterday we were outside the harbour and we haven't done much training there yet so big waves and we haven't seen the boats in those yet. It was good fun, surfing downwind and new conditions for us."

Keen to keep a cool head she continued: "There's really good competition here. It's going to be quite interesting - we've got a lot of good match racers here from the top four or five in the world, and then Olympic medallists and some very strong Olympic sailors so and we'll see who comes out on top in the end."

The event, and especially today's testing conditions, is giving the Elliott 6m women's match racing crews a chance to get a good first world class test of the boats which were only delivered two weeks ago. Lush gave a good first verdict: "We're definitely warming to the boats.

"Ergonomically they're quite difficult for the crew, but we're actually learning to love that. The harder you work, the faster you go and hiking hard helps you win. They're faster than an Yngling and quite a lot of fun, so we're enjoying it. They're very physical, but that's a benefit for us - something for us to work on, and hopefully get good at."

Australia and New Zealand maintained their grip on, respectively, the Men's and Women's 470 events. Two second places for Kiwis Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie gives them a massive 17 point advantage in the women's fleet, over Yuka Yoshisako and Noriko Okuma (JPN) in second. Despite their success to date, Aleh refused to be drawn on the pair's prospects at the
Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta. "We're just taking it as it comes, but it's been going pretty well so far," she said. "Most of the top-10 in the world are here, so it's a good competition."

The recently formed Skandia Team GBR 470 crew of Pippa Wilson and Saskia Clark relished the opportunity to race together in 'serious wind' and climbed to third overall with a third and a seventh today.

"We haven't done any sailing together in serious wind. For us every day is a big learner, and so far, so good," said Wilson. "It's been great to race at Weymouth, the event has been awesome so far," she added.

In the Men's 470 fleet, Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) added a win and a second place to their two bullets on day one to stay firmly in control. Behind them the home challenge intensified as Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell (GBR) leapt up to third behind Nic Asher and Elliot Willis (GBR).

"We're really pleased," Patience explained. "We're yet to pick up a discard - touch wood - so we're just clocking in the good results while we can. The wind does suit us as a team so it's nice to be able punch a bit of risk in there and get some good ones."

Australia's Tom Slingsby is also clearly enjoying the windy conditions adding another two race wins today to two yesterday to lead the Laser fleet on a perfect four points overall, six clear of Johan Wigforss (SWE). Further back, Nick Thompson (GBR) looks to be firmly on course to overall ISAF Sailing World Cup series victory, sitting in a comfortable fourth place overall . Thompson came third in his first race of the day, despite having to make a 720 degree turn for an infringement at the start, and followed that up with sixth in the second race.

Thompson said of that early problem in the first race of the day: "That put me right at the back of the fleet, so I was really pleased to get back up to third.

"I was a bit unlucky on one of the beats in the second race, but it was a good day all things considered.

"It was really tough out there. The race area is throwing up all kinds of different things. That makes it really interesting, really exciting and good fun."

Like Slingsby, Sari Multala (FIN) is another heavy weather expert and the recently crowned World Champion is showing no sign of relinquishing the overall lead she established in the Laser Radial fleet yesterday. Marit Bouwmeester (NED) also made the most of the conditions, winning both races today to climb from 40th to 15th.

Brazilian windsurfer Ricardo Santos excelled in today's big breeze with a second and a first putting him top of the leaderboard ahead of overall World Cup leader João Rodrigues (POR). Santos leads Rodrigues by six points, with Greece's Nikolas Kaklamanakis dropping down to third.

Santos, who dropped from third to finish ninth at the World Championships in lighter winds at the same venue last week, said, "Normally I like conditions like eight to 15 knots, but I'm happy to win races with really strong winds like today.

"There's a really high level of competition here," he added. "It's my first time in Weymouth and my first time in England and I'm really enjoying it. I hope to come back soon."

In the Women's RS:X fleet, a third followed by a race win gives Blanca Manchon (ESP) a 10-point cushion at the top. The Spaniard's perfect record was dented in the first race of the day, the third of the series, which was won by Yuki Sunaga (JPN). The Japanese windsurfer was one of the surprise packages of the day, winning race three and then finishing third in race four to soar from 15th to eighth in the rankings at the end of day two.

"It's unbelievable, but I was nervous before and I still am," she said.

Manchon, who has already won the Women's RS:X World Cup series title, led the fleet home in race four to make it three wins from four so far. But she's not taking anything for granted and expects a strong challenge from Britain's Bryony Shaw and France's Charline Picon.

"It's going well. I want to be in the top-three in all the races. I think I can win it, but we will see. It's only the second day," she said. "Bryony and Charline are both very strong, so there are three girls fighting for it.

"It was very windy today, a bit choppy, so the racing wasn't so easy," she added. "I was surprised by Japanese girl."

Shaw meanwhile climbed from third to second overall with seventh place in race three and fourth in race four. "It was really good fun today," she said. "It was about 22 knots out there. I just tried to stay consistent, I knew some of the other girls were going to be working hard.

"I'm happy, I'm in the top three at the moment," she added. "I'm trying to keep my results in the top-five as the week progresses."

Italy's Flavia Tartaglini ended the day in third overall with Picon dropping down to fourth.

Left firmly ashore to observe the windy conditions the SKUD18, Sonar and 2.4mR Paralympic fleets had racing cancelled early on with the 49er class joining them later due to the afternoons impossible conditions.

The Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy continues until Saturday 19 September.

The Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy continues until Saturday 19 September.

ISAF Sailing World Cup

The ISAF Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 consists of the following events:

16-21 Dec 2008 - Sail Melbourne The Asia Pacific Regatta, Melbourne, Australia
25-31 Jan 2009 - US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, USA
4-10 April 2009 - Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, Palma, Spain
18-24 April 2009 - Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres, France
27-31 May 2009 - Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, Netherlands
20-28 June 2009 - Kieler Woche, Kiel, Germany
14-19 Sept 2009 - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, Weymouth, Great Britain

Find out more about the ISAF Sailing World Cup, including the World Cup Standings, more on the seven events, the scoring system and the Notice of Series at www.sailing.org/isafsailingworldcup.

Lindsey Bell
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