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8 July 2007, 08:45 pm
Day 6: Medal Races Loom
Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ lead going into the Tornado Medal Race
Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ lead going into the Tornado Medal Race

ISAF Sailing World Championships 2007
Cascais, Portugal

The first of the Medal Race line ups have been decided after day six of racing at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, Portugal. Tomorrow the top ten crews in the Tornado and Star fleets will face off to decide the 2007 World Champions.
Along with the final races in the opening series for the Stars and Tornados, there was plenty more action going on out on Cascais bay. The 470s raced in big swells and plenty of breeze on course area 5, whilst further inshore the 49ers and RS:X fleets had another busy day. It was also the first day of racing in the gold fleets for the Laser and Laser Radials, whilst the Finns and Ynglings had their lay day.

It was another day of shifty conditions and again those sailors who got their head out of the boat got the biggest rewards. Further inshore the conditions got more flukey, but as the regatta progresses, consistency and the ability to bounce back from a high score are features of all the front runners.

Spain Leads The Tornados

This is perfectly illustrated by Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP), who take a six point lead into tomorrow's Tornado Medal Race after 6,3 scores today. In a high-scoring Tornado regatta, the Spanish duo's consistency has set them apart. Carolijn BROUWER and Sebastien GODEFROID (BEL) guaranteed their place in their first-ever Medal Race with 5,6 scores today. They line up second overall and well within striking distance of the leaders, just six points back. However just one point behind them are Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHIS (NED), whilst defending World Champions Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) are also not out of the running in fourth.

Looking towards tomorrow's Medal Race ECHAVARRI acknowledged that the conditions are likely to be extremely tough, with 25 knots forecast for the afternoon and the shifting breeze hard to see so close to the shore. He said the team will try to focus on sailing fast and not initially concentrate on a tactical battle with their rivals, 'For us we'll try to make our own race and forgot the other boats,' said ECHAVARRI . 'Maybe in the second lap [we'll] start to look for the points' gap. Before that it's just going for a good race.'

After a 30 in yesterday's very flukey conditions, Robert SCHEIDT and Bruno PRADA (BRA) were back on the money today with a bullet and a second place. The Brazilian duo has been in Cascais since mid-June training for the Championships, preparation which has clearly paid off. However, they still cannot shake off the challenge of Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU (FRA), with the consistent Frenchmen posting 2,4 scores today. The Brazilians take a four-point lead into tomorrow's Medal Race.

Laser Shake Up

The first day of racing in the Laser gold fleet on race area 3 saw the entire fleet struggle for consistency. Overnight leader Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) posted 16,9 scores today but maintained a double-digit overall lead, as his closest rivals all found the racing equally difficult. Mate ARAPOV (CRO) is second after 11,12 scores today and is the only sailor of fleet not counting a score in the 20s - something that could prove to be a major advantage in the tricky Cascais conditions. Estonia's Deniss KARPAK was the only member of the gold fleet to post two good scores today with 8,3 results pushing him up to third overall. Home favourite and world #4 Gustavo LIMA (POR) had another disappointing day and will have to put in a terrific performance tomorrow to haul himself back into medal contention.

Lijia XU (CHN) will also need something special tomorrow as tumbled from first to tenth overall, posting scores in the 20s in both of today's Laser Radial races. Like the Lasers it was a high scoring day amongst the leaders. After two bullets on Friday, Tania ELIAS CALLES (MEX) posted scores of 15,49, whilst world #1 Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) had a 31st and a fifth. World Championship silver medallist Petra NIEMANN (GER) moved up to first overall with a bullet and a 12th place.

After yesterday's late start, the RS:X fleet got to see the sun out on the race course again today, completing races 4 and 5 of their opening series. Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL) is back at the top of the men's leaderboard after two bullets today, three points ahead of team mate Piotr MYSZKA (POL) and Brazil's Ricardo SANTOS. Poland also leads the women's fleet after four-time ISAF Youth World Champion Zofia KLEPACKA (POL) put together a 3,1 scorecard for the day.

The 470 crews got the adrenaline pumping today out on the big waves and winds of course area 5. Double and reigning World Champions Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED) are renowned for their ability in the breeze and lived up to that reputation, with a first and a second place putting them top of the leaderboard. In the men's fleet, the breeze-specialists also prospered, with Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) scoring two second places to take the overall lead.

The first of eleven Medal Races to decide the 2007 World Championship titles get underway tomorrow. The Stars kick things off at 15:00 local time, followed by the Tornados at 16:30. You can watch the Medal Races live on Sail.TV.

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