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28 May 2007, 01:45 pm
Medal Race Day At Medemblik
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Breitling Regatta 2007
Medemblik, Netherlands

The final day of the ISAF Grade 1 Breitling Regatta brought with it the Medal Races and more of the changeable conditions that have characterized this week's racing on the IJsselmeer. The Italians proved the masters of Medemblik, picking up another three gold medals and one silver, whilst Japan's Wakako TABATA and Naomi KURITA were the surprise hit, winning the Medal Race to take overall victory in the Women's 470 fleet.
The last day of the Breitling Regatta started with a nice breeze and some clouds. For the first groups in the Medal Race that meant that racing was possible and stable. After the first Medal Races conditions changed and the wind died out. After a delay the Medal Races started again but unfortunately the full schedule of races could not be completed.

Finns Lead The Way

The first Medal Race of the day was sailed in the Finn class. After a close race on Friday, the medals were up for grabs on Saturday. The Finn Medal Race began in 8 knots of breeze with Dan SLATER (NZL) lying in third place, behind Pieter-Jan POSTMA (NED) and overnight leader Christopher COOK (CAN). With the wind dropping sharply up the first beat SLATER rounded the top mark second, moving up to first by the bottom mark after POSTMA was penalized for a Rule 42 penalty.

Men's RS:X
Women's RS:X
Laser Radial
Men's 470
Women's 470

With COOK struggling at the back of the fleet, POSTMA's penalty gave SLATER the crucial advantage, putting him ahead of both of his rivals for the gold medal. SLATER held the lead for the next two legs before Ed WRIGHT (GBR) found some pressure to sail past and into the lead.

'Round the final mark we were neck and neck,' said SLATER. 'The lead changed about ten times as we went down to the finish. However winning the race didn't matter for me, as I just had to stay in front of the Dutch guy in fourth, and the Canadian in last to win the regatta.'

WRIGHT took the bullet whilst SLATER calmly sailed across the line second to record overall victory and continue New Zealand's recent hot streak in the Olympic Classes. POSTMA recovered from his penalty to finish fourth in the Medal Race and second overall, whilst WRIGHT's victory was enough to lift him into the bronze medal slot.

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Dan SLATER comes to the
mark just ahead of Pieter-Jan
© Thom Touw

Gold For Japan

In the Women's 470 fleet the Japanese crew of TABATA and KURITA provided the surprise result of the regatta, sailing to a first place in the Medal Race to give them the gold medal. TABATA, 23, and KURITA, 26, had never previously finished in the top ten of the ISAF Graded regatta outside of Japan. Together with World Championship silver medallists Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA (JPN) and Yuka YOSHISAKO and Noriko OOKUMA (JPN) - both in the top 20 of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings - Japan look set to mount a formidable challenge in the 470 at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais this July.

Elisabetta SACCHEGGIANI and Elisa CECCONI (ITA) came in fourth, which was enough for them to stay in second position. Vesna DEKLEVA and Klara MAUCEC (SLO) slipped from first to third overall after posting a sixth place in the Medal Race.

After the wind died out and the resulting delay, the Tornados started later in the afternoon with their Medal Race. The first two places in the Ranking did not change as Xavier REVIL and Christophe ESPAGNON (FRA) won, with Johannes POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ (GER) in second place. World #1 crew Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS), whose track record in Medal Races has been exemplary, placed tenth and gave up their third place to Yann GUICHARD and Alexandre GUYADER (FRA).

Italian Success

In the 49er fleet the first two places were also unchanged as Petro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA) won overall followed by the young Australian team of three-time ISAF Youth Worlds winner Nathan OUTTERIDGE and crew Ben AUSTIN (AUS). After a second in the Medal Race, Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR) took third overall.

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Japan's Wakako TABATA and
© Thom Touw

Very light winds faced the top ten Star crew for their Medal Race. European Champions Diego NEGRI and Luigi VIALE (ITA) won after a second place in the Medal Race. The Polish team of Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ and Dominik ZYCKI ended up second, with third overall going to Afonso DOMINGOS and Bernardo SANTOS (POR).

For the RS:X, Laser and Laser Radial fleets there were no Medal Races as the wind died completely on their race courses. Results from yesterday stay unchanged, giving the gold medal in the Women's RS:X fleet to Jannicke STALSTROM (NOR), with Jessica CRISP (AUS) second and Olympic Champion Faustine MERRET (FRA) third. In the Men's RS:X overall victory went to Ricardo SANTOS (BRA) ahead of Chi Ho HO (HKG), with last year's winner Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) in third.

Another Win For VAN ACKER

World #1 Evi VAN ACKER (BEL) repeated her victory of last year in the Laser Radial, giving the 21 year old Belgium her fifth consecutive win of the season. World Championship silver medallist Petra NIEMANN (GER) came in second, with Penny CLARK (GBR) third.

In the Laser, Tom SLINGSBY's (AUS) massive lead of 26 points was insurmountable even if the Medal Race had taken place. As it was the 22 year old world #2 from Gosford recorded overall victory in Medemblik for the third consecutive year. Gustavo LIMA (POR) took the silver medal, with the bronze going to Canada's Michael LEIGH.

Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON (GBR) and Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI (ITA) had already secured the gold medals in the Yngling and Men's 470 Medal Races respectively on Saturday evening.

The results from Medemblik are sure to make their impact felt on the next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings on Wednesday 30 May.

For a complete list of all the news from the Breitling Regatta 2007 CLICK HERE.

The Breitling Regatta will be included in the first running of the ISAF Sailing World Cup© series for the Olympic Classes. For more on the ISAF Sailing World Cup© CLICK HERE.

Fanny Van Leeuwen (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The Italians led the way on the IJsselmeer:© Thom Touw
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