Tonci Stipanovic heads the leaderboard after the first day of racing at the 2009 Laser Worlds at St. Margaret's Bay in Canada, tied on four points with the British pair of Paul Goodison and Nick Thompson.
Conditions were 'Laser' perfect with clear skies and winds ranging from 18 to 20 knots and water temperatures at 19 Celsius. The Bay gave the world's top sailors a small taste of what's to come over the next seven days of racing. Hot, hazy conditions, with smooth two to three foot seas, provided absolutely perfect racing for the 169 athletes from 51 countries competing at the 2009 Nautel Laser World Championships.
Top finishers after the first day of racing are Tonci Stipanovic
from Croatia, Olympic gold medallist Paul Goodison
from Great Britain and another Brit, ISAF Sailing World Cup
leader Nick Thompson
, all on four points. American Clayton Johnson is fourth on five points, Bruno Fontes
from Brazil is fifth and German Philipp Buhl
lies in six, just ahead of defending World Champion Tom Slingsby
of Australia in seventh.
The day was not without its problems. There were four general recalls in the first race - and at least four gear failures. One failure happened to Goodison, however he recovered strongly by taking second in the second race. The Jury awarded him redress with a two-point score for race one, leaving him tied with Stipanovic and Thompson on four points.
With the 169 sailors competing across three fleets, race wins on the opening day went to Fontes, double Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion
in 2007 and 2008, Pavlos Kontides
of Cyprus and New Zealander Michael Bullot
in race one, and then Stipanovic, Slingsby and Sweden's Emil Cedergårdh
in the day's second race.
The host nation Canada has four sailors in the top 25 after the first day. They are Chris Dold
in 15th, Mike Leigh
in 18th, Bernard Luttmer
in 23rd and David Wright
One experienced, but retired Laser sailor said, "It was absolutely thrilling to watch these top athletes snap those small dinghies around race marks with such practiced perfection."
St. Margaret's Bay lived up to its superb reputation for steady winds during the first round of the 2009 Laser Worlds, and the many top athletes gathered here hope that the predicted track of Hurricane Bill will not spoil these ideal conditions. With US and Canadian Hurricane Centres currently predicting Hurricane Bill brushing the Nova Scotia coast on Sunday, the Race Committee has moved the first race of the day on Friday to noon. The early start may help accommodate an extra race to get ahead of schedule in case a day of racing is cancelled by storm conditions.
Results - click here
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