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18 July 2007, 11:59 pm
Day 4: Light Wind Techniques Come To The Fore
Luis MEIXNER from St.Lucia
Luis MEIXNER from St.Lucia

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2007
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Weak and confused gradient winds were the order of the day on Lake Ontario as the fleet racing in the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship got back out on the water for day four of the regatta after having a well-earned day off yesterday.
The windsurfer fleet returned to the dock for an hour in the absence of breeze, but, by mid-afternoon, the breeze was up to 11 knots from the west southwest making for some good racing by all fleets and giving the lighter crews a chance to display their light airs technique and get back in contention.

With the regatta now past the mid-way point, attention is turning towards the nation's cup event, where, for the ninth time the stunning Waterford Crystal Volvo Trophy will be presented to the top nation's overall score at the end of the event on Friday, in addition to gold, silver and bronze medals for the top three crews in each fleet. Australia is top of the Volvo Trophy table followed five points behind by Denmark and New Zealand.

It's always a struggle for the grant-aided sailors who are here on the ISAF Athlete Participation Programme (APP) under the guidance of Jim SALTONSTALL, the ISAF Youth Trust coach. 'The APP sailors don't get exposed to this type of competition very much which is a shame,' reports SALTONSTALL. 'They have to make the best of it while they are here and they are absorbing a huge amount of information. Prior experience in this event makes a big difference,' he says.

Consistency Is Key

Today's race winners in the boys' 29er fleet came in the form of Mikko KOTAMIS and Robert HAAPANEN (FIN) in race 1 (6th overall), Shun MUTAGUCHI and Tomohiro MUTA (JPN) in race 2 (17th overall) and Raphael GABELLA and Kaspar KELLER (SUI) race 3 (15th overall). In spite of each crew now winning a race, their scores overall have not been consistent enough to bring them into medal contention.

Instead, Henrik SAGAARD and Soren KRISTENSEN (DEN) and Paul SNOW-HANSEN and Blair TUKE (NZL) are still first and second.

Emily DELLENBAUGH and Briana PROVANCHA (USA) are back at the top in the girls' 29er with a huge lead over the British crew of Sophie WEGUELIN and Sophie AINSWORTH (GBR) and Hannah NATTRASS and Michelle MULLER (AUS) both on 17 points.

'It was really tough today but we had good starts and were very consistent,'

explained DELLENBAUGH. 'Today our game plan worked and we were really fortunate that it paid off. We had some lucky breaks,' added PROVANCHA.

Now that 11 races have been sailed both the 29er fleets are able to discard their worst two scores.

KING Is King

In the girls' Laser Radial fleet, Australia's Gabrielle KING now has a clear lead of 18 points ahead of Finland's Tuula TENKANEN, who won the second race today. Anne HAEGER from the USA was second in race 2 which was good enough to propel her up the leaderboard to third place from fifth overnight.

'In the first race I didn't have it all sorted out, but I got there in the end. In the second race I worked my way up through the fleet. I think everything is really tight and anyone could come through,'

said KING after racing today.

Canada's Isabella BERTOLD led almost to the finish of race 1 only to suffer the disappointment of being rolled by the Israeli athlete, Sufa BENHORIM to finish second, her best result of the championship so far. A win in the third race of the day put a smile back on her face.

Other disappointments came for the seemingly invincible Victoria CHAN (SIN) who was over the line at the start of race 1 causing her to discard a very expensive 35 points and Malaysia's Anuar NURAL ELIA, now in ninth place, who suffered the same fate.

Right Side Pays Off

Unusually for Lake Ontario, the right hand side of the first leg to windward paid off in the boys Lasers and especially for Nik ASHRAF (MAS), who went on to win race 1. Josh JUNIOR (NZL) displayed his excellent light wind boat speed to claw his way up through the fleet to finish fourth, while overnight leader Pavlos KONTIDES (CYP) was completely buried, forcing him to throw out an expensive 24th place finish. His second place in race 2 and then a bullet in race 3 was good enough to keep him at the top of the table and to extend his lead over JUNIOR to 14 points.

'This was my first bad race

[of the series]. I said to myself 'I have to concentrate as this is my chance'. I finished first and second,' said KONTIDES. Philipp BUHL (GER) had an expensive discard of 39 points for an OCS (on course side) infringement but he is still in third place, three points ahead of Pierre COLLURA (FIN) in fourth who won the middle race of the day.

France's Pierre LE COQ continues to dominate the boys' windsurfer RS:X class as he pumped his way around the course today to post two wins. Guido CARLI from Italy was second in both races, but hasn't had consistent enough results to bring him to medal contention. Dimitris VLACHAKIS (GRE) is now a safe 14 points behind in second, while Israel's Ron ASULIN is back in bronze position a further five points behind.

Italy Versus Germany

In the girls RS:X, Italy's Laura LINARES and Germany's Moana DELLE are locked in battle for the gold medal position in a day which saw the windsurfers return briefly to the marina due to lack of wind. Once the wind filled in, two races were completed, LINARES and DELLE taking one apiece, finishing second and third respectively in the other races. Five points now separate them as DELLE closes the gap to LINARES by another point. Poland's Nina SZYHCZYK moves up to third place from fourth, while Alisha KAWALLA (AUS) drops down to sixth after two 12th place finishes today.

In a difficult first race today in shifty conditions, the British GLOVER brothers were playing safe in the multihull Hobie 16. 'We're just trying to stay in the ball park and score some points we can use,' explained helmsman Richard GLOVER. 'We have to go into tomorrow confident, believing we can do it. We know we can,' he added.

The two brothers have extended their lead by a point and are now ahead of the Danish crew, Emil LANDRY and Jacob DANNEFER by two points. Both crews threw away a seventh score today in the second of the two discards that are now allowed.

Jason WATERHOUSE and Michael MCCORMICK (AUS) are clinging on to third place, but seven points behind the leaders. 'It was not easy sailing. We made good judgment on the last leg of second race today and picked up 10 places. We really need heavy airs though,' said MCCORMICK.

Racing continues tomorrow.

Lizzie Ward
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