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14 June 2005, 10:21 am
Favourites Struggle On Tough First Day
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Tornado World Championship 2005
La Rochelle, France

The 62 crews taking part in this year's ISAF Grade WC Tornado World Championship spent most of yesterday on standby onshore in La Rochelle, France. When the wind did come it did not bring happy tidings for the host of former World Champions in the fleet.
After a morning of patient waiting, a north north westerly wind which arrived late in the afternoon finally meant racing was able to get underway.

Race one began with seven knots of wind. Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP) picked up where they left off in the ISAF Grade 1 Holland Regatta in Medemblik. Three bullets in the Netherlands led them to victory there, and a consistent sail in race one put them in the lead by the second rounding, a position nobody could shift them from. Jojo POLGAR and Florian SPALTEHOLZ (GER) and Mitch BOOTH and Herbert DERCKSEN (NED) both recovered from poor starts to come through the fleet and finish second and third respectively.

A more stable wind of 8-10 knots greeted the fleet at the start of race two. The right was favoured and took the British teams of Leigh MCMILLAN and Will HOWDEN and Hugh STYLES and Graham VIALS to the front of the fleet, despite a bad start. They held on to the top two positions and the bullet for MCMILLAN and HOWDEN saw them claim the top spot on the leaderboard over night.

'We didn't start well but tacked to the right as soon as we could and it definitely paid out. We had a big lead at the end. Nice race!' enthused MCMILLAN, a top five finisher in the two previous Tornado World Championships.

The French youth team of Baptiste BALZEAU and Gael LEDOUX finished fourth, just behind their team mates, Yann GUICHARD and Alexandre GUYADER.

At the end of the first day no team has really stamped their mark on the Championship. POLGAR and SPALTEHOLZ are tied on eleven points with MCMILLAN and HOWDEN at the top of the leaderboard. Winners of the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, in April, Xavier REVIL and Christophe ESPAGNON (FRA) are third with two seventh place finishes. STYLES and VIALS are two points further back in fourth with the Puerto Rican team of Enrique FIQUEROA and Jorge HERNANDEZ fifth.

Two time and current Olympic champions, Roman HAGARA and Hans Peter STEINACHER (AUT) are in ninth after a 17,11 record for the day. ECHAVARRI and PAZ drop to 18 after finishing 36 in race two. BOOTH and DERCKSEN were also unable to repeat their success in race one and a finish of 42 sees them tumbling down the leaderboard to 23. Four time World Champion, Darren BUNDOCK (AUS), with crew Aaron WORRALL, 2004 Olympic silver medallists, John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE (USA), and ISAF World Sailing Rankings leaders and former World Champions, Roland GAEBLER and Gunnar STRUCKMANN (GER), have all had a poor start to the Championship with none of them managing a single top 20 finish, and consequently they lie 32, 35 and 39 respectively.

Today, two more races are scheduled with the first warning signal due to sound at 1330 hours local time. Racing is set to continue with two races per day through until a conclusion on Saturday, with Thursday earmarked as a lay day.

Top Ten After Two Races

Pos Nation Helm Crew R1 R2 Pts
1 GBR Leigh MCMILLAN William HOWDEN 10 1 11
2 GER Johannes POLGAR Florian SPALTEHOLZ 2 9 11
3 FRA Xavier REVIL Christophe ESPAGNON 7 7 14
4 GBR Hugh STYLES Graham VIALS 14 2 16
5 PUR Enrique FIQUEVOA Jorge HERNANDEZ 12 8 20
6 GBR Rob WILSON Mark BULKELEY 13 10 23
7 FRA Yann GUICHARD Alexandre GUYADER 23 3 26
8 FRA Billy BESSON Romain MOTTEAU 22 6 28
9 AUT Roman HAGARA Hans Peter STEINACHER 17 11 28
10 GBR Andrew WALSH Edward BARNEY 16 15 31
ISAF. Image, Action from day one:© Juergen/tornado.org
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