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5 April 2009, 09:40 pm
Finn Focus At Palma - NIRKKO Takes Early Lead
Tapio NIRKKO of Finland at the Beijing Olympic Games
Tapio NIRKKO of Finland leads after day one in Palma

Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE 2009
Palma de Majorca, Spain

Finland's number one Finn sailor Tapio NIRKKO took the overall lead in the Finn class at the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE in Palma after two testing races in around 8-10 knots of north-westerly thermal breeze, which produced 'medium sized shifts'.
Starting at or on the pin end of the line in both races, Tapio NIRKKO (FIN) showed good pace throughout to post a fifth and a second to lead overnight after day one.

NIRKKO is one of just seven 2008 Olympic sailors present in Palma. After finishing a disappointing 18th in Qingdao, he has started his 2009 season in the best possible way. A recent win in the 80 boat Cannes International Regatta has given him a welcome confidence boost that appears to be holding.

Second overnight is Andrew MILLS (GBR), a member of Great Britain's development squad, which has been doing a lot of training in Palma over the winter months. MILLS, who has shown a lot of potential at recent regattas, said, "My plan for race two was to consolidate on my 8th place in race one with another top 10. I had good pace up first beat and rounded third at the top mark. Then the right side paid on the second beat and I lead from here till the finish."


MILLS, who also won races in Cannes, is one place ahead of fellow British sailor Ed WRIGHT (GBR). WRIGHT spent most of the winter on the other side of the Atlantic which culminated in wins at the Rolex Miami OCR and the US Mid-Winters, beating 2008 Olympic silver medallist Zach RAILEY (USA) and 2004 Olympic silver medallist Rafa TRUJILLO (ESP) in the process.

While RAILEY is not present in Palma, TRUJILLO is lying in sixth after a sixth and 10th, on equal points with Marin MISURA CRO) and Gasper VINCEC (SLO).

Deniss KARPAK (EST) was provisionally in fourth place after placing a consistent seventh and fifth, but lost a protest in race two and now lies in 24th place.

Videos of interviews with Finn sailors and the racing in Palma will be posted on the Finn Class dedicated YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/TheFinnChannel.

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 - 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
20-29 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 more on the seven events, the latest World Cup Standings, the scoring system and the Notice of Series at www.sailing.org/isafsailingworldcup.
Robert Deaves
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