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12 June 2009, 10:17 am
Strong Gusty Winds Bring Action And New Leaders At 470 Europeans
Austria's Sylvia VOGL and Carolina FLATSCHER
Austria's Sylvia VOGL and Carolina FLATSCHER struggled in the heavy breeze on Thursday

470 European Championships 2009
Lake Traunsee, Austria

Japan's Harada RYUNOSUKE and Yugo YOSHIDA seized the overall lead in the men's fleet whilst Italian remain in the control of the women's as the wind finally arrived in Austria on the fourth day of competition at the 470 Europeans.
The 470 European Championships for men and women went into it's fourth day on Thursday, with the qualification series competed and gold fleet decided in the men's event (the women are competing in just one fleet). In a total contrast to the preceding days, the wind blew over Lake Traunsee and built to over 25 knots with strong gusts and wicked shifts. Harada RYUNOSUKE and Yugo YOSHIDA (JPN) take over the lead from Croatia in the men's event, Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) retain the lead in the women's.

On Thursday's main objective was to finalize the qualifiers in the Men's 470 event. A series of at least six races should have been completed on Wednesday already, but because of bad wind conditions, the qualifying series were extended by one day.

Just like the preceding days, the crews had to wait until the early afternoon for the wind. However this time, totally unexpected, strong, gusty conditions with winds over 25 knots arrived giving an opportunity for all-rounders and heavy air specialists to make their mark.

Men's 470

Thursday was a chance for Austria's Matthias SCHMID and Florian REICHSTADTER to acknowledge their presence to the home public. They won the race in their group, and so did Patryk PIASECKI and Marcin MICKIEWICZ from Poland. With the success of both winners today, they secure their position in the gold fleet in the final series, which starts on Friday.

"Great racing today. We were really waiting for a positive result after having a little dip the last races. Our primary goal was to reach the Medal Race, and we are now back in the game, with 15 points deficit, what means nothing under this tricky conditions on Traunsee," SCHMID said.

Sime FANTELA and Igor MARENIC from Croatia sailed a bad race ending up in 21st position. After three days at the top of the fleet, they lose their overall lead to RYUNOSUKE and YOSHIDA from Japan, who didn't reach the finish today, but used the result as their discard.

The difference in points from the #1 leader to rank #20, is only 29 points. In the current situation and the difficult circumstances in mind, gold fleet sailors can still rise and fall.

Women's 470

In contrast to the men, there were not many changes at the top of the women's leaderboard. CONTI and MICOL extend their lead over Ai KONDO and Wakako TABATA (JPN) by a few points. The Italian and Japanese crews, who have been leading the women's fleet in the same order since the beginning of this Championship, finished the day's only race in fifth and 12th position respectively.

Mandy MULDER and Merel WITTEVEEN from The Netherlands continued to improve their position by winning Thursday's race, followed by Tara PACHECO and Berta BETANZOS (ESP). The crew from Spain climb up the leaderboard to fifth overall, only nine points behind the Japanese in second place.

The local public hoped for some Austrian success in the women's fleet. Title defenders Sylvia VOGL and Carolina FLATSCHER (AUT) climbed to a seventh position in the overall rankings on Wednesday, but in Thursday's only completed race, they were unfortunate in the action of gusts and nasty shifts, and capsized.

"We were not too bad on the way when suddenly we got a puff from the leeward side. We had no chance to react and capsized. It's a discard in the result but it hurts a bit. Anyway, it is now on us to fight back. We are still in the game and full of hope. The Medal Race is our main goal," VOGL said.

A second race was sailed today in the women's fleet in worsening conditions. CONTI and MICOL had their prayers answered when they capsized; the race was cancelled short after the incident, because the wind changed direction by 180 degrees.

Racing continues on Friday, with the action in Austria continuing through until the Medal Races on 14 June.

Men's Results - click here
Women's Results - click here

Rick van Wijngaarden (As Amended by ISAF)
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