1445 hrs local time: FINAL GOLD FLEET START UNDERWAY At 1430 HRS IN 13 KNOTS OF WIND.
Good sailing. Blackburn chasing Scheidt around before the start in their own private match race. Scheidt still ahead by 4 points. All on the last race.
Scheidt leading championship at mark two first time round. Mark MENDELBLATT (USA) 1st; Sander BON (NED) 2nd; Antonis MANOLAKIS (GRE) 3rd. Scheidt in 8th place, Blackburn in 30's.
1330 hrs local time: The first race on the final day (race 9 overall) has just finished, results: 1 Tom SLINGSBY (AUS); 2 Luca RADELIC (CRO); 3 Anders NYHOLM (DEN); 4 Mark MENDELBLATT (USA).
Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) received his second yellow flag approaching the finish and retired. Michael BLACKBURN (AUS) finished in seventh.
Scheidt retains a narrow lead over Blackburn; with 12 knots of wind, conditions look promising for a final race.
Thunderstorms Prevent Racing On Day Six - News From Yesterday
The thermal Meltemi failed develop yesterday for the sixth day of racing in the Harken Laser World Championship. Whilst the fleet were held ashore the Race Committee watched a light easterly swing slowly to the south.
They then watched a thunderstorm build over the Greek Island of Kos, five miles to the south of the course, which further affected the wind. As the storm cell dissipated the fleet were called afloat only to find another storm cell building, which also affected the wind. When that disappeared an attempt was made to start even though further cells were developing 8 miles to the north of the course area. After 3 attempts at a start the gold fleet finally got away in 12 knots of southerly wind. Five minutes later the northerly system started affecting the course turning the beat into a fetch for those on the right side of a 60 degree shift and the race was abandoned.
The wind then died and started to fill from the north as the sun came out and a new course set in the hope that the breeze would build. It managed 7 knots but was unstable and at 5pm the Race Committee sent the fleet home.
Strong winds are forecast for the last day and an earlier start has been scheduled in an attempt to get to ten races so a second discard can be counted.
Whatever happens today Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) and Michael BLACKBURN (AUS) cannot be caught by the chasing pack. They will have their own race with 6 times world champion, Scheidt, going for an unprecedented seventh world title in one of the most competitive classes currently sailing. With 5 continents in the top ten there is still plenty of scope for place changing and plenty to go for as a number of sailors try to make certain of their place in the Athens Olympics.
Qualification for nations goes deep into the silver fleet and we will bring you the qualified nations once racing is completed today in this final qualification regatta for Athens 2004.
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