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6 July 2007, 03:00 pm
49er Reports
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ISAF Sailing World Championships 2007
Cascais, Portugal

Reports from the 49er class in Cascais
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Cascais Photo Galleries

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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)

49er Runners and Riders

49er Top Ten Results

Pos Nation Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 MR Pts
1 GBR Stevie MORRISON Ben RHODES 1 2 1 1 4 1 3 1 4 8 1 (22) 8 35
2 AUT Nico DELLE - KARTH Nikolaus RESCH 2 4 2 7 1 1 4 3 6 3 5 (11) 14 52
3 AUS Nathan OUTTERIDGE Ben AUSTIN 9 3 10 3 2 3 1 1 5 (24) 8 4 10 59
4 ITA Piero SIBELLO Gianfranco SIBELLO 7 3 4 2 1 6 1 1 (18) 12 6 1 18 62
5 USA Morgan LARSON Pete SPAULDING 1 6 3 4 4 12 4 3 15 1 (22) 10 2 65
6 ESP Federico ALONSO Arturo ALONSO 5 4 7 7 3 6 1 2 2 17 (26) 8 4 66
7 FRA Morgan LAGRAVIERE Stéphane CHRISTIDIS 7 1 4 1 1 5 1 6 11 (21) 16 7 6 66
8 DEN Jonas WARRER Martin KIRKETERP 5 2 2 5 6 1 2 8 (16) 16 12 2 12 73
9 GBR Chris DRAPER Simon HISCOCKS 5 4 4 (12) 3 1 9 2 12 4 3 12 16 75
10 ESP Iker MARTINEZ Xabier FERNANDEZ 4 5 5 10 2 3 13 2 (28) 6 2 7.8 20 79.8

Full 49er Results

Click here to view the nations which have qualified for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition

13 July

MORRISON And RHODES Crowned ISAF World Champions 2007

By Virginia Page

Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR) became 49er ISAF World Champions 2007 today after an exciting Medal Race in Cascais while Australian's Nathan OUTTERIDGE, the youngest 49er helm in the gold fleet, stole the bronze podium position from Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA). Nico DELLE - KARTH and Nikolaus LEOPOLD (AUT) held on to the silver medal.

Starting with an 11-point lead and against in the ten-boat fleet, the double points available ensured that only the top four crews were able to challenge for gold. Having led the regatta from the start with their consistent results, MORRISON and RHODES' performance today was an impressive display of boat handling confidence.

'There was a fairly big wind shift before the start,' explained MORRISON. 'We didn't do a great job at executing our port tack but we were able to get clear and sail our own race from there on. After the first 30 seconds we felt a little more comfortable with things.

'We've been working over the winter to make sure our boat handling, our communication, our rig set up is all good so that when it comes under pressure it stays solid. I think that the hundreds of hours that we've put in over the winter have really paid off.'

As main rivals on the water, MORRISON and RHODES covered the Austrians DELLE - KARTH and LEOPOLD and the Italian SIBELLO brothers well, rounding the first mark in eight place. Choosing the left hand buoy at the mark rounding paid off for the British team and promoted them to fifth place by the second windward mark.

MORRISON continued, 'We just had to be sensible today. We were expecting the wind off the land as with the rest of the week. We were going to just sail our own race because tactics are hard when it's so shifty. But when it came to it, the wind was much steadier we had more opportunity to use the 11 points that we had. That was a comfortable buffer to say focused on the Austrians and Italians were our only threat.'

In 6 knots of light and patchy wind, the fleet started up the first leg in almost reverse order according to the placing following the gold fleet racing. Morgan LARSON and Pete SPAULDING (USA) led for the entire race, finishing first and propelling themselves from tenth to fifth place in the overalls standings.

OUTTERIDGE, having only moved into 49ers in 2005, spoke of his game plan and delight at the result, 'We were looking for a clear start. It was good but we were slow off the start. We were about fifth or sixth for almost the whole race with the Austrians and Italians behind us which is where they needed to be if we were to stand a chance for a medal.

'We were pretty much watching all the boats at all times, making sure that we stayed in our position. We were hoping to make Gold fleet last year and we made sixth and this year we were hoping for top ten and we made the podium which is fantastic. Hopefully we can do it again!'

12 July

Medal Race Fleet Decided And Qualification Contest Continues

By Virginia Page

At the end of today's racing, the top ten boats for the Medal Race tomorrow was decided, although as expected, there were some significant changes in the Gold fleet leader board.

Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR) climbed from tenth to fifth place after a convincing third and 13th (discard). The Italian Sibello brothers, Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA), improved on yesterday's performance with a first and sixth and despite picking up a 23rd in the second race of the day, Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR) finished the day with an 11 point lead over the rest of the fleet.

Looking at the day's racing and tomorrow's contest, MORRISON said, 'We had a good first race but the second race was a bit trickier and we didn't do very well. The wind was shifty again but it generally paid to go to the right had side, as it has all week. Most of the boats were going over there straight off the start line.

'We're in an alright position going in to tomorrow, but having just watched a windsurfing race out there at the moment it looks like a random area we're going to be in, so I don't think anything's very certain. We've had our fair share of luck but have tried to keep ourselves out of trouble. We haven't actually got any success yet so to speak so we need to keep focused and working towards that. The Austrian guys are close and it looks like the Italian guys could still win so we're not there yet.'

With the top ten boats competing in the Medal Race, the remaining 17 boats will also have one race. Whilst out of contention for the World Championship title, only ten points separate the three teams hoping to secure the final Olympic qualifying place available from this week's regatta. For Gordon COOK and Ben REMOKER (CAN), Jorge LIMA and Francisco ANDRADE (POR) and Christopher GUNDERSEN and Frode BOVIM (NOR), tomorrow's race means everything.

In the silver fleet, the Brazilian crew climbed up the rankings with two wins. Despite a ninth place in the first race of the day, Paul MEILHAT and Mathieu BOURDAIS (FRA) clinched bronze in the second and earned themselves a podium position overall.

Commenting on the race, BOURDAIS said, 'It was less breezy than the rest of the regatta. Race area 3 is further from here and the wind was clear and there is a really good level of competition. It's been a pleasure to race in the silver fleet yesterday. We made the top ten in all four races and are pleased with our second in the fourth. There are 27 boats so to be so consistent is great for us and good for our final result.'

Consistency Is Key In Final Day Of 49er Racing

By Virginia Page

With the Medal Race tomorrow for the top ten in the 49er Gold fleet and less than 40 points separating the first 20 boats, consistency in today's two final series races is going to play a fundamental role.

Four of the top ten crews are currently on 37 points whilst Stevie MORRISON (GBR) in pole position is only eight points clear at the top of the leader board and such a small margin could evaporate quickly. Light winds and increased pressure could see a new leader emerge and the scoreboard change dramatically over the course of the afternoon.

There are currently nine countries represented in the top ten of the gold fleet, eight in the Silver and nine in the Bronze fleet. With Olympic qualification at the forefront of the gold fleet's mind, two teams in particular are hoping that today's result could help secure national selection. Gordon COOK and Ben REMOKER (CAN) and Jorge LIMA and Francisco ANDRADE (POR) were the last crews to make it into the Gold fleet and with the former hoping to secure a first for a Canadian 49er in the Olympics, the pressure is on.

'Yesterday we were at the bottom of the Gold fleet, we had nothing to loose and now we are heading towards the middle. We've got to race well today. We're currently in 17th place, just ahead of the Portuguese boat but are still racing against the whole fleet and just hoping to get good results. This has been our big goal for the last three years so all efforts are focused on the racing today' said skipper COOK.

With the past three World Champions sitting in 10th, 12th and 13th - Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR), Rodion LUKA and George LEONCHUK (UKR) and Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ (ESP) - it should be a daunting line up for some of the younger crews. But Nathan OUTTERIDGE (AUS), only 20 years old and currently sitting in fifth place is full of confidence, 'Last year we were daunted by some of the 49er legends and were just trying to cling on to our position whereas this year we're pretty comfortable with these conditions and are ready to take it on. We're ready to fight.

'The points are really close at the moment so pretty much anyone from the top 15 can get to the Medal Race. We're just hoping to have a good day and get some top ten results and be in a medal position at the end of the regatta. That would be awesome.'

11 July

MORRISON Steals The Show

By Virginia Page

During the qualifications it was important for the top sailors to secure a place in the Gold fleet. With pressure for national Olympic qualification somewhat reduced for many teams, everybody is looking at the World Championship title. As the gold fleet returned to the boat park this afternoon, attentions were clearly focused on the success of one crew, Brits Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES. The reigning European Champions racked up five bullets during the qualifying series and posted 4,8 scores today to lead by eight points going into the final day of gold fleet racing tomorrow.

Marcus BAUR (GER), the only sailor in the fleet to have raced at all ten World Championships since 1997, explained, 'At the moment, there is just one boat in the fleet that is superior and that's Stevie MORRISON. He seems to have an excess of speed. He's also making smart decision but that's always easier if you're faster than the rest.'

'In a place like this, it's really hard to go for winning the regatta. As a boat, we're not in a position yet for that. I think that everyone is just doing their best and if you win in the end then you have been lucky or sailing extremely well,' he concluded.

RHODES who has sailed with MORRISON since 2002, said, 'We've been keeping out of trouble this week and have taken opportunities when they're there. It's so shifty and so tricky that it's all about trying to prevent yourself from being pinned in positions by other boats. You need to be able to sail how you want to. Most of the guys here would pick the right route given the opportunity so it's about being able to keep those opportunities open.

'The wind was about as steady as we've had and it was almost as good as racing as we've had. We tried to send on a lifted tack and work from there. You can be on a different gust or in a different section of wind that it's hard to say what gives one boat an advantage.'

When asked about their goal for the week, RHODES was pretty clear as to where the team are headed, 'To come away with an Olympic place and a World Championship title would be perfect. Realistically our goal was to try and repeat last year's top three result which would hopefully gain us a place to China.'

Fellow GBR team mates and defending World Champions Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS did not have such a successful day, which could affect their Olympic opportunities, as DRAPER explained, 'The top British boat will go to the Test Event in China where they will get the opportunity to qualify for the Olympics. Following that a decision will be made as to whether the UK trials are continued. We could have done with better results today, as it looks like Stevie's probably got it in the bag.'

The weather has affected the 49er schedule and this has caused some frustrations with the crews. DRAPER continued, 'We have missed three finals races which is basically what the regatta and the racing is all about. We did far more qualifying races than we will do finals racing which I think is a bit of a shame.'

Nico DELLE - KARTH and Nikolaus LEOPOLD (AUT) are currently the only team within striking distance of the British leaders, after they impressed today with 6,3 scores.

10 July

Results Count As 49er Fleet Prepares For Final Fleet Series

By Virginia Page

Following the completion of eight required races in the qualification series, the 49er fleet now prepares the start of the gold, silver and bronze final series.

Leading the scoreboard with a seven point margin is 2006 European Champions Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR), joined by 2006 World Champions and GBR team mates Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS. The British crews are surrounded by 49er class elite; Danish Champions Peter HANSEN and Soren HANSEN (DEN), 2005 World Champions Rodion LUKA and Georgiy LEONCHUK (UKR) and the PECKHOLT brothers, Jan-Peter PECKOLT and Hannes PECKHOLT (GER), currently #1 in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings for the class.

2007 North American Champions and gold fleet crew, Pete SPAULDING (USA) commented:

'The wind today means that it's possible other teams might shine in lighter and less consistent breezes, but at the same time the top 27 teams in the gold fleet are very good sailors and any one of whom could win a race in any day. We have done a lot of training in light winds this year, as has everyone else, so we feel very comfortable in these conditions. But we've been here for three weeks now, training in heavy winds so I hope our training pays off.'

As Olympic qualification races, points from ISAF Sailing World Championships are vital for these sailors, with next year's event in Melbourne, Australia the only other opportunity for places. Thirteen countries will go through to the Olympics following this week's racing with another five selected in Australia next January. One crew from the host nation China brings the total number of countries represented at the Olympic Games to 19. However, with 14 countries represented across the 27 gold fleet teams alone, competition for Olympic qualification could not be higher.

For those crews in the silver and bronze fleet, the next two days will provide valuable training and international experience. With the next World Championships on six months away and an Olympic Test Event later this year in Qingdao, China there is still plenty to play for.

There will be two races today and tomorrow for all three fleets, before the top ten teams from the gold fleet compete in Friday's Medal Race which determines the 2007 World Champions.

6 July

Racing starts 6 July

About The 2007 ISAF Worlds

Over 1,300 sailors from 76 nations are competing at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships, 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.

Watch the Medal Races live on Sail.TV

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

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