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3 August 2007, 04:41 pm
Crunch Time At Radial Europeans
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The Lasers head into their final day today

Laser Radial European Championship and Laser Radial Men's World Championship 2007
Scheveningen, Netherlands

Defending champion Evi VAN ACKER (BEL) holds commanding 12-point lead going into the final day of racing at the ISAF Grade C1 Laser Radial Europeans in Scheveningen, Netherlands. Things are tighter in the battle for the Laser Radial Men's World title, after a bullet in race 6 gave Ben PATON (GBR) a seven-point advantage.
For only the second time in the Laser Radial Men's World and European Championships the Race Committee was able to start on time. The small high pressure system that was over the course area yesterday was replaced by a weak low pressure that produced a steady 9 to 11 knot northwesterly wind. The current was again a significant factor streaming from north northeast.

With the fleets now split into gold and silver, it was the first time all the top competitors sailed together and the pressure showed. In the women's European Championship fleet the building current held the fleet back behind the line and whilst not too strong the fleet split up the first windward leg. Halfway up the leg there was a clear change in the water colour after which the current appeared to be stronger. A number of the women misjudged the current at the first mark including the top two overall, VAN ACKER and Gintare VOLUNGEVICIUTE (LTU) who both approached the mark on port and got trapped by the starboard tack boats being swept onto the mark. VAN ACKER fouled another boat and then hit the mark in a raft that also involved VOLUNGEVICIUTE. By the time she had the done three turns she was back in the late twenties and found it impossible to make progress through the fleet. She and VOLUNGEVICIUTE both scored their worst result of the series. Eftychia MANTZARAKI (GRE) took advantage of others' misfortune to lead home Andrea BREWSTER (GBR) and Tina MIHELIC (CRO).

There were no problems at the first mark of the second women's race. VAN ACKER sailed a conservative race finishing fifth to maintain her overall lead. VOLUNGEVICIUTE was looking set to challenge VAN ACKER's overall position by leading the fleet home when she was given her second yellow flag of the competition for infringing the propulsion rules on the last downwind leg and had to retire from the race. This left Gea JUTENS (NED) to take the winning gun from Alberte LINDBERG (DEN). Their first and second elevated them to second and third overall behind VAN ACKER.

In the men's World Championship the Eduardo VAN VIANEN (NED) looked solid after the first race of the day leading home joint second overall PATON, whilst his next four closest challengers all scored worse than 20th. Surprisingly VAN VIANEN slipped up on the first windward leg of the second race of the day. He said, 'I had a reasonable start but did not clear my wind'. His coach said, 'he stood on into the stronger current instead of tacking to stay in the weaker current'. PATON won the race from Timofey ZHBANKOV (RUS) and Marko SESTAN (CRO). VAN VIANEN took his exclude scoring a 38th and in doing dropped to second overall, seven points behind PATON.

Two races more are scheduled for the final day. Both events are far from over.

Jeff Martin (As Amended By ISAF)
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