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14 September 2007, 01:00 pm
Unexpected Wind For 49ers
Image of Iker MARTINEZ and Xavi FERNANDEZ
Iker MARTINEZ and Xavi FERNANDEZ were the stars of day four

Seiko 49er European Championship 2007
Marsala, Sicily, Italy

Iker MARTINEZ and Xavi FERNANDEZ continue to find form in the first three gold fleet races at the ISAF Grade C1 49er Europeans and close the gap between themselves and the PECKHOLT brothers.
The gold fleet races in the Seiko 49er European Championships got underway on Thursday at Circolo Velico Marsala. As the gold and silver fleets set sail, the bronze fleet remained on the shore waiting to be released; watching as the wind built to a healthy 15, gusting 18 knots.

The wind reached its maximum strength of the week so far for the gold fleet, but unfortunately diminished to only 7-8 knots for the end of the bronze fleet racing.

Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ (ESP) dominated the gold fleet, cruising their way to two wins and a fourth place; they were visibly the best crew on the water. Throughout the week the Spanish crew is becoming more and more consistent and enjoying the 15 knots of wind that Marsala is providing.

MARTINEZ commenting on their performance said, "Today was a very good day indeed, the wind was perfect for us, I think the PECKOLT brothers will keep the lead as they only had 25 points, but we are now much close so we are pleased."

Other successful crews on Thursday were the Danish team, Jonas WARRER and Martin KIRKETERP, and the French, Morgan LAGRAVIERE and Stephane CHRISTIDIS. Jan-Peter PECKOLT and Hannes PECKOLT (GER) could not recreate the untouchable form they have been displaying all week, but did manage to retain their lead at the top. PECKOLT leads MARTINEZ by four points going into day five.

The conditions were unexpectedly and the weather forecasts predicting light winds proved incorrect. British crew, Paul CAMPBELL-JAMES and Mark ASQUITH had a successful day, improving their overall position into the top ten.

ASQUITH said, "We were expecting light winds today - I was preparing myself for the burning in the thighs. Thankfully though we were wiring for all three races - we are really pleased with our results."

Support crews onshore were also kept busy, changing broken halyards and providing assistance for the boat that had set afloat without inserting their bungs!

Laura Pollard (As Amended By ISAF)
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