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22 August 2006, 04:57 pm
Day 2: Fleet Leaders Hold Position In 470 Women, Laser and 49er
China's Lijia XU in the Laser Radial
China's Lijia XU in the Laser Radial

Qingdao International Regatta 2006
Qingdao, China

Racing at day two of the Qingdao International Regatta, the first Olympic Test Event for sailing in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games, concluded today with many of the overnight fleet leaders maintaining their pecking order in the fleet.
However, as a nation France is currently dominating, and holds the top slot in three of the nine events in which racing has commenced. Racing took place for the Tornado, Laser Radial, Laser, 49er, Women's 470 and Yngling today. The scheduled races for the Star and RS:X Men did not take place due to the decreasing wind.

The opening races for the Finn and Women's RS:X will get underway tomorrow, with racing for the Men's 470 resuming after a day off today. The eleven Olympic events are being rotated through the four course areas, with eight events scheduled to race on any one day.

Racing got underway in between six to eight knots of wind from the east, before veering to south easterly, with a light fog over the race courses. The lights winds, combined with the currents in Fushan Bay, proved challenging for many of the sailors.

The following report is based on provisional results, which are subject to protest.

France Takes Opening Race In Tornado

Out on the water for the first time today, were the Tornado speed machines. Even in the light airs they achieve a good speed, but today's conditions which only allowed one race to be completed were tactically challenging.

It seemed as though double Olympic Gold medallists Roman HAGARA and Hans Peter STEINACHER (AUT) had the race safely marked against their names as they led off the start line, and down through the leeward gate. The pair achieved a decent safety margin over their only contenders, Xavier REVIL and Christophe ESPAGNON (FRA) and Olivier BACKES and Paul Ambroise SEVESTRE (FRA), and as this leading trio went through the gate, the wind dropped behind them to leave the chasing pack struggling to find the groove in the decreasing wind.

But as happens in sailing, it did not quite work out as planned, and by the gun REVIL and ESPAGNON had overtaken the Austrians to secure victory, with HAGARA and STEINACHER finishing in second place, and BACKES and SEVESTRE in third.

Not the best opening day for the highly talented Spanish team of Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ who were over the line at the start (OCS). Recognized as the team to watch, the pair are the world's number one ranked Tornado sailors, defending Tornado World Champions and current holders of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award. Not much pressure! However, at least they were not the only ones, as Francesco MARCOLINI and Edoardo BIANCHI (ITA) made the same error.

With the wind decreasing, race two did not get underway. Two races are scheduled for the Tornado fleet tomorrow, 23 August.

STEYAERT Moves Into First Overall In Laser Radial

Evidence of the depth of talent in the Laser Radial fleet is seen by the fact that no sailor has managed to achieve more than one top three place across the three races held. There are only five sailors who have achieved consistent top ten results and each are rewarded with a top five place overall, despite the fact that between them they haven't actually won a race.

Consistency is what counts, and whilst the honour of race wins sits elsewhere in the fleet, the victory of each of these sailors has been tempered by their ability to equally notch up high scores.

Glory in today's race three went to Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA), who will be pleased to have outsailed her rival Paige RAILEY (USA). But TUNNICLIFFE's win can only improve her overall position to 22, as her unfavourable scoreline reads 25, 35 (OCS),1.

Moving into the overall lead is Sarah STEYAERT (FRA) who finished fifth in today's race three, and will proudly carry the yellow leader dot on her mainsail tomorrow. An appearance in the top three of the fleet is gained by Jo ALEH (NZL) who charges into second overall after a third place finish. Whilst remaining steady in third overall on the leaderboard is the world's top ranked Laser Radial sailor Paige RAILEY (USA), who finished today's race in sixth.

The overall leader going into today's racing, Penny CLARK (GBR), has been knocked down to sixth overall after her double-figure score of 18.

Racing continues tomorrow with races four and five scheduled for the Laser Radial fleet.

49er Gives France The Hat Trick Of Victory Across Three Events

There was no change in the top three boats overall after today's race four, just a shift in positions. Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR) moved up into second overall, to overthrow Athanasios PACHOUMAS and Athanasios SIOUZIOS (GRE) down to third. Emmanuel DYEN and Yann ROCHERIEUX (FRA) maintain their overall lead in the series and will continue to wear sailing's equivalent of the yellow jersey, the yellow leader dot on their mainsail tomorrow, after finishing seventh in race four.

The 49er World Champions and the world's number one ranked team, Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR), gained their second win of the series in today's race four to move themselves up into fourth overall, and are closing on their team mates and rivals MORRISON and RHODES (GBR).

DRAPER was pleased with their performance today commenting, 'We were very lucky today. We won the first race, but were OCS in the second race. However, as the race was abandoned, it doesn't matter. We are quite happy.' Recognizing the depth of talent competing in Qingdao, DRAPER added, 'There's a lot of people who are very, very strong from other countries and we are just trying. We will continue to try until hopefully we have qualified Great Britain for the Olympics. We will see how we go.'

The first qualification event for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition will happen next year at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, Portugal, where 75% of the places available for the Olympic Games will be determined.

Surprise results further down the fleet continue to come from the hands of defending Olympic gold medallists Iker MARTINEZ and Xavier FERNANDEZ (ESP), who suffered from a DNF in yesterday's race three and followed with another double-digit result of 14 in race four today, to sit in 14th overall - not a position they will particularly like the taste of. MARTINEZ admitted that he is disappointed, 'We are not sailing very well here, although yesterday we did OK in the first two races. Today we had quite a bad race with a bad start. In general, we are just not sailing very well!. I hope it would be better tomorrow and we'll try to be at the top by the end of the regatta - which is not going to be easy.'

Race five got underway, but with the wind decreasing was abandoned by the Race Committee as the fleet went through the first leeward gate.

Racing for the 49er fleet continues tomorrow.

CHIMONAS Consolidates In Laser

Steven LE FEVRE (NED) posted the win in today's race three, after a battle at the front with Anders NYHOLM (DEN). NYHOLM led the fleet to the first mark, with LE FEVRE a few paces behind the leading three boats, but some strategic sailing in the ensuing downwind leg two saw LE FEVRE move ahead and establish himself at the front. A position he consolidated, to take the gun with a considerable margin over NYHOLM who placed second. A good result for LE FEVRE who now shifts up from twelfth to sixth overall, with NYHOLM jumping up to 23rd overall.

Evagelos CHIMONAS (GRE) will continue to carry the yellow leader dot on his sail tomorrow, after today's third place result in race three holds him secure at the top of the scoreboard. He has already built up a small, but useful, points margin of ten points over second placed overall Maximillian SOH (SIN). SOH finished 8 today, with the bronze medallist from Athens Vasilij ZBOGAR (SLO) holding secure in third after a race score of 7.

The world's number one ranked Laser sailor, Paul GOODISON (GBR) is perched in fourth overall behind ZBOGAR, and will be looking to improve his form as the Laser fleet goes into the third day of racing tomorrow.

Japan Still Ahead On Countback

The top two teams in the women's 470 event are neck and neck, as they continue to share equal points, but the yellow leader dot remains with Japan's Yuka YOSHISAKO and Noriko OKUMA based on countback, over Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX (FRA). Both these teams finished outside the top three today, but their consistent results keep them both at the head of the fleet after the three races held so far in the series.

With challenging and shifty conditions, ownership of race three swapped between several teams. Holding the baton at the first mark were Kathrin KADELBACH and Saskia SCHROEDER (GER), chased by the Russians Vladelina ILIENKO and Nataliya GAPONOVICH, with Fernanda OLIVEIRA and Isabel SWAN (BRA) in third, but by the conclusion of race three, none of these teams even featured in the top five finishers.

Victory went to the home team of Xiaoli WANG and Zufeng HUANG (CHN), who scooped their win over Austria's Sylvia VOGL and Carolina FLATSCHER in second place, with Camille LECOINTRE and Gwendolyn LEMAITRE (FRA) finishing third. This result brings WANG and HUANG up into twelfth overall, with the Austrians into sixth and the French moving up into ninth.

Tumbling out of the top three go the Spanish pairing of Marina GALLEGO and Laia TUTZO (ESP) who made the error of being on the course side (OCS) at the start of the race and consequently drop down to fourteenth overall. They were not alone, as the Race Committee called seven other teams OCS - a result the teams will not want to repeat in the series, as the points score equates to the total number of boats in the fleet (37), plus one - for a race score of 38 points.

Racing continues tomorrow for the women's 470 fleet with two races scheduled.

New Race Leaders In Women's Keelboat

Only a brief appearance as the series leaders for Sally BARKOW and her crew of Debra CAPOZZI and Carolyn HOWE (USA). Entering race three today in first overall, they were outsailed and a race result of 13 proved doubly unlucky for them as they dropped from first overall to fourth overall.

A race win for Mandy MULDER, Brechtje VAN DERWERF and Janneke HIN (NED) has propelled them up into first overall, ahead of the top performing Chinese team of Xiaqun SONG, Xiaoni LI and Chuanshuang ZHANG. SONG demonstrated that her win in yesterday's opening race was not an isolated result by finishing in second place, and moving up into second overall in the fleet.

Holding firm in third overall with another consistent and solid result of fourth are Great Britain's Helena LUCAS, Annie LUSH and Lucy MACGREGOR (GBR).

Hindered by their OCS in race two yesterday, reigning World Champions and world ranking leaders Monica AZON, Sandra AZON and Graciela PISONERO (ESP) placed a very acceptable score of 7, but will be looking forward to the implementation of the discard after race five, when they will be able to exclude their worst result, to move up the scoreboard.

Schedule for Wednesday 23 August

The four races courses will tomorrow host racing for all events, except the RS:X Men, 470 Women and Yngling.

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