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2 July 2007, 03:00 pm
Runners And Riders - Tornado and 49er Fleets
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ISAF Sailing World Championships 2007
Cascais, Portugal

The clock is ticking down to the start of the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships, with sunny skies and plenty of wind welcoming the Olympic Classes to Cascais, Portugal. Amongst the 900+ boats lining up, the two keelboat fleets present an unrivalled array of Olympic Champions.
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The 40-strong Yngling fleet feature all three of the women's Olympic gold medal winning helms from Athens, whilst in terms of Olympic medallists, the 70+ Star fleet is simply unequalled amongst any of the other Olympic fleets.

The Yngling is relatively new to the Olympic Classes, with Athens the first Olympic Sailing Competition featuring the three person keelboat. In contrast the Star has a long and proud Olympic history. It first appeared at the Los Angeles Games in 1932 and, with the exception of 1976, has been on every Olympic programme since. In both classes the races are longer than the majority of the other fleets with a sharp tactical focus.

A prominent feature of the Star fleet in this Olympiad has been the success of new crews helmed by sailors moving over the single-handed dinghy classes. In the Yngling fleet there is also a definite sense of change when comparing the current leading challengers with the top performers from Athens.

Racing for the Star fleet begins on Tuesday 3 July. Two races are schedule for each day on 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 July, with the Star Medal Race on 9 July. For the Ynglings, racing begins on Thursday 5 July. Two races are schedule for each day on 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 July, with the Yngling Medal Race on 11 July.

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Tornado

The Basics

Event: Multihull
Equipment: Tornado
Fleet size: 57
Olympic qualification places: 11
Reigning World Champion: Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS)
Reigning Olympic Champion: Roman HAGARA and Hans-Peter STEINACHER (AUT)

Leading Challengers

Ones to watch...

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Hamish PEPPER and Carl WILLIAMS on their way to
winning the 2006 Star Worlds
© Jan Pehrson/www.JanPehrson.com

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Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ and Dominik ZYCKI
© Otto KASCH/segel-bilder.de

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Robert SCHEIDT and Bruno PRADA
© Thom Touw

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Fredrik LOOF and Anders EKSTROM
© Clive Mason/Getty Images

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Torben GRAEL and Marcelo FERREIRA
© MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS)

Age:
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 1
Career Highlights: 2006 World Champions; BUNDOCK - 2003, 2002, 2001, 1998 World Champion, 2000 Olympic silver medallist

The clear favourites for the Tornado title will be relishing the breezy conditions in Cascais. Since Darren BUNDOCK teamed up with multiple A-Class (a single-handed multihull) World Champion Glenn ASHBY, the team have swept their way to the top of the Rankings and proved themselves a class apart in heavier airs.

Roman HAGARA and Hans-Peter STEINACHER (AUT)

Age: 41 and 38
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 6
Career Highlights: 2004, 2000 Olympic Champions, 1999 World Champions

The 2000 and 2004 Olympic gold medallists are superb in light to moderate and shifty conditions, but are generally less strong in the heavier wind range. One of the few crews across the Olympic Classes who seem able to raise their game when the stakes are highest.

Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP)

Age: 34 and 30
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 2
Career Highlights: 2005 World Champions

The Spanish Tornado team is one of the most solid on the circuit. Were outstanding in 2005 but have yet to really rediscover that form over the past two seasons.

Xavier REVIL and Christophe ESPAGNON (FRA); Yann GUICHARD and Alexandre GUYADER (FRA); Olivier BACKES and Paul-Ambroise SEVESTRE (FRA)

Age: 36 and 31; 33 and 26; 34 and 32
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 4; 5; 9
Career Highlights: REVIL and ESPAGNON - 2005 World Championship bronze medallists; GUICHARD and GUYADE - 2006, 2005 World Championship fifth place; BACKES and SEVESTRE - Olympic Test Event winners

No nation can match the strength in depth of the French Tornado squad. Xavier REVIL, Christophe ESPAGNON and Yann GUICHARD all have plenty of experience on the ORMA offshore multihull circuit and will relish racing at such a windy venue. Olivier BACKES and Paul-Ambroise SEVESTRE are coached by Yves LODAY and are among the smartest teams in the fleet.

Johannes POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ (GER); Roland GAEBLER and Gunnar STRUCKMANN (GER)

Age: 29 and 30; 42 and 25
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 3
Career Highlights: POLGAR and SPALTEHOLZ - 2005, 1997 World Championship fourth place; GAEBLER - 2000, 1997, 1996 World Champion, 2000 Olympic bronze medallist

Johannes POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ have been one of the most consistent teams in the Tornado fleet over the past two years and arrive in Cascais after podium finishes at both Medemblik and Kiel. Roland GAEBLER has a long and distinguished record in the class, although has played second fiddle to his younger team mates this year.

Iordanis PASCHILIDES and Kostas TRIGONIS (GRE)

Age: 40 and 36
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 8
Career Highlights: 2007 European Champions

Iordanis PASCHILIDES has stepped up a level after teaming up with 470 World Champion Kostas TRIGONIS after the 2004 Olympics. The Greeks form a tough unit and have been one of the form teams of the past 12 months.

Outside Bets

Leigh MCMILLAN and Will HOWDEN (GBR)

Age: 26 and 30
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 7
Career Highlights: 2005 World Championship silver medallists; MCMILLAN - 2003 World Championship silver medallist

Despite being just 26, MCMILLAN has plenty of experience in the Tornado fleet, competing in his first World Championship back in 1999. Had a great start to the year in Miami although have been more top ten than top three since then.

Santiago LANGE and Carlos ESPINOLA (ARG)

Age: 35 and 35
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 40
Career Highlights: 2004 Olympic bronze medallists; 2004 World Champions

Santiago LANGE comes back to the Tornado fleet from the Victory Challenge America's Cup campaign. The pair have had minimal time in the Tornado fleet since Athens, but demonstrated all the attributes that make them one of the top teams in the class when they silver on their home waters at the 2006 Worlds.

John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE (USA)

Age: 39 and 39
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 14
Career Highlights: 2004 Olympic silver medallists

The American Tornado team are massively experienced with over 15 years competing on the ISAF Graded circuit. Have been off the boil so far this season.

Oskar JOHANSSON and Kevin STITTLE (CAN)

Age: 30 and 27
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 10
Career Highlights: 2007 Semaine Olympique Française winners

The Canadian pair have been at the top of their game this year and are coming off a dominant win this April at Hyères. They have been steadily improving but have yet to get a great result in a big breeze event.

Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHIS (NED)

Age: 44 and 30
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 12
Career Highlights: BOOTH - 1996 Olympic silver medallist, 1992 Olympic bronze medallist, 1992 World Champion

Pim NIEUWENHIS started sailing with Mitch BOOTH at the beginning of 2007 after coming out of the 49er class. As a new crew combination, they have a big gap to close on the top of the fleet but BOOTH remains one of the very best big breeze sailors in the fleet.

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49er

The Basics

Event: Skiff
Equipment: 49er
Fleet size: 88
Olympic qualification places: 13
Reigning World Champion: Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR)
Reigning Olympic Champion: Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ (ESP)

Leading Challengers

Ones to watch...

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Monica AZON, Sandra AZON and Graciela PISONERO
© Dan Nerney/Rolex

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Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON
© onEdition

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Sally BARKOW, Carrie HOWE and Debbie CAPOZZI
© Walter Cooper/Rolex

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Anna BASALKINA, Vlada UKRAINTSEVA and
Ekaterina MAXIMOVA
© Thom Touw

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Renee GROENEVELD, Marije FABER and Floortje HENDRIKSEN
© Thom Touw

Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR)

Age: 29 and 34
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 5
Career Highlights: 2006, 2003 World Champions, 2004 Olympic bronze medallists

The British team have been unusually inconsistent this season, with uncharacteristic mistakes costing them dear in Miami and Medemblik but a big win in Hyères. Their consistency at the top events is unmatched - they have finished on the podium at all five of the previous 49er Worlds.

Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ (ESP)

Age: 30 and 30
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 4
Career Highlights: 2004 Olympic Champions; 2004, 2002 World Champions

The Olympic Champions renowned for their boat handling and smart sailing. By their very high standards have not had the best of starts to the season but would be foolish to bet against them.

Rodion LUKA and George LEONCHUK (UKR)

Age: 34 and 33
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 3
Career Highlights: 2005 World Champions, 2004 Olympic silver medallists

The super fast Ukrainians complete the trio of crews who have dominated the past five years of 49er sailing. Like the Spanish they have yet to hit the heights this season.

Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR)

Age: 28 and 26
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 2
Career Highlights: 2006 European Champions; 2006 World Championship bronze medallists

After years of playing second fiddle to their team mates, Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES have regularly started getting the better of the Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS this year. Have made a very strong start to the season.

Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA)

Age: 28 and 31
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 6
Career Highlights: 2005 World Championship bronze medallists

The Italian brothers are regularly amongst the top performers in the skiff. They arrived in Cascais in high spirits after victory in Medemblik.

Outside Bets

Silja LEHTINEN, Maria KLEMETZ and Livia VARESMAA (FIN)

Age: 21, 31 and 31
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 24
Career Highlights: 2007 Rolex Miami OCR fourth place

Silja LEHTINEN and her crew are new arrivals on the Yngling scene, having just launched their Olympic campaign at the start of this year. At just 21, LEHTINEN is already a World Champion in the 29er skiff and has demonstrated her potential in the Yngling fleet with a series of eye-opening performances this year.

Siren SUNDBY, Lise Birgitte FREDRIKSEN and Alexandra KOEFOED (NOR)

Age: 24, 27 and 29
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 30
Career Highlights: 2007 North Americans seventh place; SUNDBY - 2004 Europe Olympic Champion

After two World Championship titles and an Olympic gold medal in the single-handed Europe, SUNDBY took an extended break from the Olympic Classes and for a time looked set to miss out on Beijing altogether. An opening at the helm of the Norwegian Yngling drew her back into the fold and since then the team have improved steadily without yet troubling the fleet's very top performers.

Sofia BEKATOROU, Sofia PAPADOPOULOU and Christina HARAMOUNTA (GER)

Age: 29, 23 and 20
ISAF World Sailing Ranking: 33
Career Highlights: 2007 Breitling Regatta eighth place; BEKATOROU - 2004 470 Olympic Champion

Following four consecutive World titles (2000-2003) and then Olympic glory on her home waters, Sofia BEKATOROU left the 470 class after Athens. After an extended break she returned to the Olympic Classes in the Yngling. Despite injury hampering her preparations this year, BEKATOROU and her team impressed at the recent Breitling Regatta.

About The 2007 ISAF Worlds

The 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships will take place from 28 June-13 July in Cascais, Portugal. 'The Wind Is Calling' is the official motto for the 2007 Worlds. The Championships are the principal qualification regatta for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, with 75% of all national places to be decided.

All Media wishing to attend the Championships will require accreditation. On-site accreditations only will be available after 31 May.

For all the news on the ISAF Sailing World Championships 2007 CLICK HERE.

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