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27 July 2007, 10:32 am
The Chase Is On For Final Placings
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Laser 4.7 European Championship 2007
Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

East European sailors are dominating the Laser 4.7 European Championships out on Dublin Bay but it was a day for the home fans yesterday when Katie TINGLE claimed the first race win for an Irish sailor, scoring a runaway victory in race 9 as changeable westerly conditions provided a challenge for all competitors.
Ashore TINGLE explained. 'It was an exciting start but I was able to tack onto port early and it really paid off. I took the lead on the first run and was fortunate to be able to break clear of the pack. One of my main concerns is to return the boat in good conditions to my cousin Andrew LANE - I have no Laser of my own!' she laughed.

The 17 year old from Douglas in Cork won by a 10 boat length margin - no mean achievement considering her lack of experience in Laser 4.7s but she is the current Female 420 National Champion.

Rory FITZPATRICK, ISA Youth & Performance Manager explained; 'Katie, a dedicated member of the ISA 420 Squad, is sailing in this event as it provides great international experience on home waters. A good natural ability allows a sailor to solve the demands that arise with different boats.'

Katie's Coach, Ryan SEATON from Ballyholme was very impressed: 'She sailed a great race against the best in the world - it's a great achievement to win.'

Along with her win, Katie also counts two second places earlier in the championship however her lack of intimate knowledge of the boat would have effected her other results placing her 14th overall. Katie's win was matched by great performance by her 420 crew, Maeve LEONARD who achieved two top ten results in Thursday's races.

It can not be any closer at the top of the female fleet. With two discards now counted Tajana GANIC (Croatia) and here compatriot Lina STOCK are both dead level on 61 points. Meanwhile Serena DE LUCA (Italy) has slipped into fifth place. After yesterday's racing its clear that the overall winner will go down to the last race today.

Italian Ladies Coach Giorgia TALUCCI was a keen observer yesterday: 'it is so very close at the top - really any of ten sailors could win overall'

Three Irish boats are competing in the Men's Gold fleet Ross VAUGHAN, Alan ROIGROK and Scott FLANAGAN . A member of the ISA 4.7 Squad, VAUGHAN has campaigned seriously in the lead up to this event and counts top ten finishes at two 4.7 Europa Cup events earlier in the year.

Thomas CHAIX, Coach with the ISA 4.7 Squad: 'Despite good individual race results, overall the squad members have to be disappointed with their lack consistency in this regatta. However the 4.7 squad is only a few months old and the sailors can only benefit from their experiences here.'

With both the Male and Female title of European champion to be decided at the end of todays (Friday's) racing all eyes are on the Croatian and Russian competitor to see who comes out on top.

For the final four races of the championship the male competitors were split into gold, silver and bronze fleets and with just two races yet to decide the title the competition has heated up with Alexios KATSIOS (Greece) in second just two points ahead of Croatian Marko PERESA, absolutely anything can happen. However since the beginning of the championship Russia's Yan CHEKH has been to the fore of the male fleet and with a clear 19 point clear is comfortable going into the final two races.

International Race Officer Jack ROY got in two good races today in winds of 10-20 knots although the wind strength did increase during race two.

ROY commented: 'it was impressive how the fleet continued to race aggressively in the testing conditions when the wind strength got up, with some gusts peaking at 30 knots. I had the option of running three races today but sent the fleet ashore when lighting appeared on the far horizon.'

About the European Laser 4.7 Championship 2007

Prizes will be awarded to the 1st male and female competitor as the Laser 4.7 Male/Female European Champions 2007. As a result there will be a separate scoring and starts for male and female competitors.

All female competitors will display a red diamond on their sail. The large male entry will be divided into 3 groups with results combined at the end of each race. Furthermore their races will be divided into a qualifying and a final series of races.

Racing will take place on Dublin Bay, with twelve races scheduled for all fleets from Sun 22nd to Fri 27th July. If sufficient races are sailed one or more discards will take effect. A practice race is scheduled for Sat.

Laser 4.7

The Laser 4.7 rig is ideal for younger and lighter sailors and acts as a stepping stone before progressing on to the bigger Radial and Standard rig. The Laser 4.7 uses a short pre-bent lower mast to maintain a balanced helm and a sail area that is 35% smaller than the Laser Standard, an Olympic class boat. One of ISAF's fastest growing youth classes, the Laser 4.7 is now spread throughout the world in over 55 countries and 6 continents.

Event Sponsors:

Irish Sports Council, Fáilte Ireland, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, Laser Card, The Royal Marine Hotel, Ballygowan, Slam and Renewco Energy.

Bernadette FOX (As Amended by ISAF), Image: © Graham Gosling
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