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23 June 2005, 10:36 am
Olympic Classes Off To A Flier In Kiel
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Kiel Week 2005
Kiel, Germany

A beautiful day greeted the sailors as racing in the Olympic classes got underway in the ISAF Grade 1 Kieler Woche in Kiel, Germany yesterday. A terrific battle for honours in the Laser is already emerging with leader of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Paul GOODISON neck-and-neck with Olympic Champion, Robert SCHEIDT (BRA).
A shifty breeze of around ten knots provided the fleets with perfect conditions for racing and ensured that all the scheduled races were completed.

The Laser fleets managed four races each and gave a hint at some of the battles set to come, with the big names already heading the leaderboard. The silver fleet played host to a battle between the number one sailor in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, GOODISON, and 2004 Olympic silver medallist, Andreas GERITZER (AUT). GOODISON got the best of it, with three bullets and a second place putting him top of the leaderboard. 'Today was a good day,' the Rankings' leader explained. 'I had the right boat speed and I got off the starting line well. I was overtaken in the first race but I used that as my motivation to sail faster and better in the following races.' GERITZER spent the day right on the tail of the Brit, taking the bullet in the race GOODISON did not win, and then finishing second in the remaining three.

Two time and current Olympic Champion and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, SCHEIDT seemed back to his best after a mediocre return to action in the ISAF Grade 1 Holland Regatta in Medemblik last month. The Brazilian star matched GOODISON with three bullets and a second place to leave them equal on five points at the top of the leaderboard. These three sailors have already pulled a slight gap out at the top, although chasing hard in fourth is Australia's Tom SLINGSBY, who is aiming for the clean sweep of the European trio of ISAF Grade 1 Olympic classes regattas.

Belarus' Olympic representative, Tatiana DROZDOVSKAYA, won here in the Europe last year and has gotten off to a terrific start in the Laser Radial in 2005. A 3,1,2,2 record sees her top the leaderboard two points ahead of Karin SÖDERSTRÖM (SWE). In a fleet packed full of sailors who have represented their country at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. 2003 ISAF Youth Worlds winner, Paige RAILEY (USA) lies third, whilst the runner up to her in that event, Krystal WEIR (AUS), is fifth. The winner of the 2004 ISAF Youth Worlds, Sarah STEYAERT (FRA), is having a tougher time down at 22 overall.

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Russell COUTTS is back in
the Olympic classes and back
in Kiel

The competition in the Star this year looks exciting with 1984 Olympic gold medallist in the Finn, Russell COUTTS (NZL), returning to racing in the Olympic classes with crew, Beat STEGMEIER (SUI). However the pair are yet to get into their stride and lie 28 after a 13 finish followed by a DSQ. At the top of the leaderboard, four crews have moved slightly ahead of the remaining sailors. Christian MONBERG and Martin LEIFELT (DEN) lead in only their third ever ISAF Graded event. They lie a point ahead of the winners of the recent ISAF Grade C1 Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship sailing on their home waters, Robert STANJEK and Markus KOY (GER) and George SZABO and Eric Monroe (USA). Just another two points back in fourth, 1996 Finn Olympic Champion, Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ (POL), with crew Dominik ZYCKI (POL), continues to look impressive after his recent switch to the double-handed event.

Meanwhile in the Finn class here in Kiel, Gasper VINCEC (SLO) has established a clear lead after finishing second and third in the opening two races. Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC (CRO) is second, seven points back and one point ahead of the winner of the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères and Medemblik runner up, Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE). Britain's Ed WRIGHT had a nightmare start after getting black flagged in race one, but came back strongly with a bullet in race two.

The men's 470 fleet is led by Matias BUHLER and Marcos LAMAS (ARG) after the pair opened up with three bullets and a second place. Mathew BELCHER and Nick BEHRENS (AUS) are in second, with the Medemblik and ISAF Grade 1 Sail Melbourne winners looking to make amends for their disappointing result in the ISAF Grade C1 470 European Championship in Gdynia, Poland. Michael ANDERSON-MITTERLING and David HUGHES (USA) lie third.

Sabine WALTER and Amtje STRUCKAT (GER) are one of two German leaders at the end of day one. They head up the women's 470 leaderboard with a 9,1,5,3 record. Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED) lie second, whilst third place is currently occupied by the Singapore team of Liying TOH and Lee Ching TOK.

The second home team occupying the number one spot overnight are the current leaders of the Tornado ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Roland GÄEBLER and Gunnar STRUCKMANN (GER). Three second places put them a point ahead of Andrey KIRILYUK and Valery USHKOV (RUS). Johannes POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ (GER) are continuing the good form that lead them to fourth place in last week's ISAF Grade W Tornado World Championship and look good in third place.

After three races the Russian teams are dominating the Yngling fleet, occupying three of the top four place. Vlada ILIENKO, Natalia GAPONOVICH and Ekaterina KOVALENKO (RUS) lead ahead of Ekaterina SKUDINA, Tatiana LARTSEVA and Diana KRUTSKINA (RUS). 2004 Olympic silver medallists Ruslana TARAN, Anna KALININA and Svetlana MATEVUSHEVA (UKR) are six points back in third. The number one team in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Kristin WAGNER, Anna HOELL and Ana HOH (GER) provide the strongest home challenge in fifth, just ahead of Medemblik winners Sarah AYTON, Annie LUSH and Lisa MCDONALD (GBR) in sixth.

In the 49er, Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA) have made a successful start to their title defence with two bullets and a second place in the gold fleet placing them first overall. In the silver fleet, the number one team in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR), also scored two bullets yesterday, which together with a third place puts them second. Afterwards DRAPER seemed happy with the day's work, 'Simon and I are really enjoying being back in the boat and are just having a lot of fun. We have managed to get in a bit more practice since the Holland Regatta and today it paid off. We look forward to racing again tomorrow.' In third place, another British pair, Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES are tied on eight points with Allan NORREGAARD and Klaus NAUR (NOR).

Hong Kong sailors top the leaderboards in both Mistral fleets. 1999 ISAF Youth Worlds winner and number five in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, HO Chi Ho (HKG) heads the men with a 1,1,2,1 record in the gold fleet. Poland's Maksymilian WOJCIK and Milosz WOJCIK (POL) lie close behind him in second and third. Medemblik runner up, CHAN Wai Kei (HKG) leads the women after a bullet, a fourth and two second places. Germany's Wiebke SRADNICK is second, tied on twelve points with CHAN Wai Man (HKG).

In the Paralympic single-person keelboat equipment, the 2.4 Metre, Hyères winner, Helena LUCAS (GBR) is tied on points with Heiko KRÖGER (GER) at the top of the 2.4 Metre leaderboard. 2004 Paralympic bronze medallist, Thierry SCHMITTER (NED) is three points back in third.

Racing continues today, through to a conclusion on Sunday.

ISAF. Image, Robert SCHEIDT was back to his best in the Laser yesterday:©
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