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26 February 2007, 10:28 am
TUNNICLIFFE Pips RAILEY To The Title
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Laser Midwinters East 2007
Clearwater, Florida, USA

The ISAF Grade 1 Laser Midwinters East came down to a final race shoot out in Florida as Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) got the better of team mate and rival Paige RAILEY (USA) to take the Laser Radial title on countback. In the Laser fleet, world #1 Paul GOODISON (GBR) secured a more comfortable victory with a double bullet finish.
TUNNICLIFFE and 2006 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year RAILEY had been a class apart in their respective qualifying fleets, winning nine of the ten races between them to both move into the gold fleet on a perfect four points.

Gintare VOLUNGEVICIUTE (LTU) was the star in the five gold fleet races, posting three bullets to move into third place overall. However she could not catch the leaders, with TUNNICLIFFE and RAILEY trading blows as the series progressed.

World #3 TUNNICLIFFE held the slight advantage throughout, although slipped up with scores of 7,4 in races 8 and 9 to allow RAILEY within one point. RAILEY, sailing at her home yacht club where she had won both the 2005 and 2006 Midwinters East, seized her chance, taking a bullet in the final race. But TUNNICLIFFE fought back, coming in behind RAILEY in second place, leaving the pair tied on points in the overall scores. TUNNICLIFFE won the tie thanks to her six bullets to RAILEY's five, a victory which could see her quickly regain the Laser Radial world #1 spot she lost this month to Evi VAN ACKER (BEL), when the ISAF World Sailing Rankings are next released on 7 March.

Gold For GOODISON

In the 88 strong Laser fleet, Brits Nick THOMPSON and GOODISON led after the qualifying series, and from there the world #1 took control. GOODISON took three bullets from the five gold fleet races to score victory by ten points. THOMPSON was less consistent and slipped back to third place overall, as Bernard LUTTMER (CAN) moved up to take second.

Of the American Laser sailors, for whom the Midwinters East was their final qualifying regatta for the US Sailing Team, Andrew CAMPBELL (USA) came in fourth and Brad FUNK (USA) fifth to secure their team slots. The battle for the final place was extremely close, with Kurt TAULBEE's (USA) tenth spot just enough for him to provisionally grab the third place on the team ahead of Clay JOHNSON (USA).

Victory in the 19 strong Laser 4.7 fleet went to Cameron HALL (USA). Daivd ALFONSO (PUR) was second, with Alex ANDERSON (IVB) third.

ISAF. Image, Anna TUNNICLIFFE and Paige RAILEY battled right to the wire in Florida:© Dan Nerney/Rolex
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