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17 December 2007, 09:08 am
Conditions Take Their Toll In Sydney
Image of Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY sailing
Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY were on fire at SIRs today

Sydney International Regatta 2007
Sydney, Australia

Conditions took their toll on competitors at the ISAF Grade 1 Sydney International Regatta, as the breeze kicked in on Sydney Harbour.
Two competitors were carted off to hospital; one with a suspected broken ankle, another with a nasty cut to his forehead, not to mention the numerous breakages amongst gear on boats.

Gavin DAVIES, from Shell Cove south of Wollongong, was skippering his Tornado out to the start of the race when the catamaran turned over and DAVIES got his foot caught in a strap. The ankle went one way, his body the other.

Crew Kez STEVENS stood by his skipper who was laying on the trampoline of the cat. A stoic DAVIES said: "I've only been back in Australia four months and thought it would be good to come and do this regatta." Ambulance officers arrived and treated DAVIES before taking him to hospital.

In an earlier incident, 29er youth skipper, Nick BRUNNING, arrived ashore with a gash in his forehead and swelling already in evidence after being hit with the boom on his boat. He too was treated and taken to hospital. Both he and DAVIES will be fine.

The day started well enough with a steady southerly breeze, but winds coming from the south and southwest increased once racing was under way, with strong winds in the 25 knot range and big gusts hitting the various Olympic and Youth classes sailing at the Yachting NSW organized event.

As winds increased, event officials at Woollahra Sailing Club abandoned the Youth 4.7 Laser races for the day, but all other classes got racing in.

During racing, boats capsized all over their various courses, Nathan OUTTERIDGE, Australian 49er champion skipper said: "In our third race, only five boats were upright on the start line; the rest were upside down in the water. It was a constant 25 knots in that third race, too much for the 49ers."

OUTTERIDGE and his crew Ben AUSTIN fought hard in the three races sailed today to take the series lead by a slim one point margin from yesterday's leaders, Jorge LIMA and Francisco ANDRADE (POR) after scoring 2,4,2 results. Third place is held down by consistent Brit's Paul CAMPBELL-JAMES and Mark ASQUITH.

The first gear breakage of the day was the American 49er crew of Jonathan GOLDSBERRY and Charlie SMYTHE. "It was carnage out there man," said GOLDSBERRY from San Francisco. "We busted a few things. The main problem was our jib track. The block jumped out of the track so we couldn't tack. It's blowing hard out there."

Sailing a chartered boat here in Sydney, the two qualified sixth in the USA Olympic trials. They are one of four American crew's headed to Sail Melbourne in early January for the 49er worlds.

"Sailing on your harbour is quite an experience," said GOLDSBERRY, "All the traffic and the stiff winds, but we're having a blast," he said. The two will repair their boat in time for tomorrow's final races.

Laser Radial women's series leader Sarah BLANCK (AUS) came ashore from racing weary but happy. With a solid eight point to her nearest rival, Marit BOUWMEESTER (NED) and a further two points to Jo ALEH (NZL), the Australian says: "I'm very happy. It was hard work out there today - I earned my money."

BLANCK has the coaching services of 2006 Laser World Champ and bronze medallist from Sydney 2000, Michael BLACKBURN (AUS). "Michael's teaching me heaps. I'm very happy with my performance so far. I had a big think about what I wanted to achieve after being selected to the Australian team for Beijing and I'm back on track and feeling confident," she said.

The best of the British girls is Laura BALDWIN in fourth place and Olympic hopeful Lizzie VICKERS in fifth place, 17 points behind BLANCK with a race drop included.

Aussies Lead In Tornado

"I'm glad they didn't hold the planned three races for us today, it would have been too much," said a weary Darren BUNDOCK (AUS) on coming ashore at Woollahra Sailing Club after he and Glenn ASHBY won both Tornado races which has kept them in the lead of their series.

"We didn't have any capsizes and we didn't break anything. The wind was huge and funnelling down the harbour to where we raced on the Sound near Manly," BUNDOCK said.

"The earlier race was good to win, but the second was better. We got to the top mark and just took off - we got well away from the rest of the fleet. It just felt right. "We couldn't be happier with our speed and boat handling - and that we didn't hurt ourselves. It was 'on the edge' sailing," he said.

Leigh MCMILLAN and Will HOWDEN (GBR), already selected into their Olympic team had a good day too. They are second overall with one day of the Olympic class regatta remaining and a race drop in place.

"We only arrived in Sydney one day before the regatta started and we've had a couple of month's break, so second overall is good for us," said HOWDEN. "It was very hard sailing. Very, very windy and gusty - big waves rolling in from offshore. There's was lots of capsizing going on, so we were happy just to stay upright today," he said adding: "Bundy sailed too fast for us today."

Three German teams are vying for the one Olympic place in the Tornado and with Johannes POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ breaking gear and missing the second race; it was team mates Tino MITTELMEIER and Niko MITTELMEIER's turn to shine.

The 22 and 26 year-old blonde brothers are placed third overall in the competition. "We have to sail off against two other teams; Yo Yo's [POLGAR] and Roland GAEBLER, who's been to five Olympics. We hope it's a younger team who gets to go this time," Niko laughed.

"We've been practicing in Sydney for a month to get good at the heavy winds, we are better in light winds normally, but we had a very good day today. Our Olympic trials are at Sail Melbourne Asia Pacific series, then the worlds in Auckland, and the final one is Hyeres - I think the first two will be very windy, so Tino and me are glad we are getting better in lots of wind."

In other results, Ben AINSLIE (GBR) won both Finn races to capitalize on his lead, now 12 points clear of his nearest rival Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN). Adversary Ed WRIGHT is now third placed after scoring a pair of second places as the duel for Olympic selection heats up. Current world champion, Rafa TRUJILLO is next, two points behind WRIGHT.

Jannicke STALSTROM (NOR) and Jessica CRISP (AUS), maintain their lead and second places in the RS:X Women's after going toe to toe today, the pair each scoring a win and a second in races 6 and 7.

Michael LEIGH (CAN) is the new leader in the Laser. The Canadian scored 3,5,7 results and with a race drop in play, is four points ahead of fellow Canadian Bernard LUTTMER. The next two places are filled by Mike BULLOT (NZL) who moves down a place into third and yesterday's leader Andrew MURDOCH (NZL), who dropped to fourth with 4,21,6 results - his first glitch in the series.

Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) is fifth placed following a mixed bag of results. Winning race 5, he dropped down the leaderboard to 22nd in race 6. Sources on the course report he dropped back from the lead pack when he unsuccessfully tried to port tack the fleet. However, the confident red head came back with a second place in race 7, using his DSQ of race 1 as his race drop.

Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) sailed confidently today, placing second in race 4 and winning Race 5. The two lead the Men's 470 series by just one point to the French Benjamin BONNAUD and Romain BONNAUD with 5,2 results.

A win and a third has helped the highly ranked Sven COSTER and Kalle COSTER (NED) fill out third place, just five points off the lead. This is a tight competition that isn't as clear cut as some of the other classes.

Israel's Nike KORNECKI and Vered BUSKILA hold onto their slim lead in the Women's 470 after scoring a win in race 4 and a fourth in race 5. Stalwarts of the class, Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX (FRA) on hot on their tails just two points away with a race drop in place after good results of second and a win in race 5. Emmanuelle ROL and Anne-Sophie THILO (SUI) are up in third place following 6,2 results.

It was a hard day on the water for all. After taking a shower and eating, most exited host venue Woollahra Sailing Club very quickly, some headed off for a massage and others home for dinner and bed to be rested for the final races tomorrow.

Sydney International Regatta - www.sailsydney.org.au
Results - click here
Di Pearson (As Amended By ISAF)
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