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20 May 2006, 07:15 am
Men's RS:X Medal Race
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ISAF World Sailing Games 2006
Lake Neusiedl, Austria

The RS:X men's medal race got underway with 10 knots from the south at 13:33 local time. Series leader, Julien BONTEMPS (FRA) held an eight point lead going into the race ahead of Maxim OBEREMKO (UKR) and Tom ASHLEY (NZL) who were tied for second and third.
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With two minutes to go the fleet were lining up at the committe boat end of the start line. As the final countdown to the start was on, BONTEMPS and ASHLEY began their assault, both going for a high speed start at the pin end. OBEREMKO meanwhile played a different card to the rest of the fleet, and lining up at the pin end he opted to start on port and weave his way through the fleet to go for clear air at the right hand side of the beat.

Accelerating hard of the line, OBEREMKO, Nicolas HUGUET (FRA) shot off to the right of the beat and were soon followed by Nimrod MASHIAH (ISR) and Ioannis CHRYSOCHON, one of two Greek sailors in the medal race. As they charged their way up the beat, there were just three sailors opting for the left of the course. Ricardo SANTOS (BRA), who had an outside chance of a medal, went for the safer middle option and this is where the medal hunt began to unfold.

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By the time the fleet had reached the first mark there was already some separation between the sailors. First round was Byron KOKKALANIS (GRE) chased hard by OBEREMKO in second, SANTOS in third and BONTEMPS in fourth. This kept BONTEMPS in the gold medal position and OBEREMKO in second as ASHLEY rounded the mark in sixth.

As they set off downwind most of the fleet headed out to the right of the course. The wind continued to shift and with the race committee advising of a course change as the fleet came through the gate, the affects would soon be evident at the next windward mark.

Onto The Gate

Ricardo SANTOS rounded the gate first having made up two places as they came downwind and could now hope for a medal if OBEREMKO or ASHLEY finished in tenth. Second round was KOKKALANIS and Samuel LAUNAY (FRA) had chosen all the right shifts to round in third. OBEREMKO did not fair so well and rounded in fifth place, handing the gold back to BONTEMPS who was in eighth.

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Tom ASHLEY - silver medallist
© David Bell

The front of the fleet headed inshore for the first section of the final beat but again OBEREMKO worked his way up the right hand side of the course. Sailing an amazing leg he rounded the final mark with a significant lead over second placed Ivan PASTOR LAFUENTE (ESP). KOKKALANIS rounded third with LAUNAY in fourth. Had he looked back, OBEREMKO may have been pleased to see the one sailor who could possibly take the gold medal from him at the back of the fleet, rounding the last mark in tenth place. ASHLEY would also have been pleased to know this because despite being mid fleet for the entire race, he was now far enough ahead of BONTEMPS to win the silver medal. But still nothing was guaranteed and BONTEMPS could have produced some magic to drag himself back up into contention.

The distance between the front and the back of the fleet was by now considerable and OBEREMKO continued to extend his lead to cross the line first and end his series on 27 points. Second was KOKKALANIS and third LAUNAY. ASHLEY finished fifth to add ten points to his overnight score and end with 35 points and now for him, as for OBEREMKO what mattered was where BONTEMPS finished.

Unfortunately for BONTEMPS he could not do enough. Bringing himself up one place on the final leg he finished ninth to end the series tied with ASHLEY and giving him the silver as he finished the medal race in a higher position.

Men's RS:X Top Ten

Pos Nation Skipper R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 MR Pts
1 UKR Maksym OBEREMKO 1 4 1 6 4 (14) 4 5 4 29
2 NZL Tom ASHLEY 4 3 2 (19) 3 4 7 2 10 35
3 FRA Julien BONTEMPS 3 5 3 1 (6) 3 1 1 18 35
4 BRA Ricardo SANTOS (26) OCS 17 6 2 2 9 2 4 12 54
5 GRE Byron KOKKALANIS 2 2 (26) DNF 3 5 22 12 13 2 61
6 FRA Nicolas HUGUET 5 7 4 8 8 7 6 (10) 16 61
7 FRA Samuel LAUNAY 6 9 (13) 4 13 6 11 7 6 62
8 ESP Ivan PASTOR 9 (22) 11 13 11 5 13 6 8 76
9 ISR Nimrod MASHIAH 8 10 15 14 (26) OCS 13 3 3 14 80
10 GRE Ioannis CHRYSOCHON (19) 11 5 12 12 8 10 15 20 93

For all the news on the 2006 ISAF World Sailing Games CLICK HERE.

ISAF. Image, Bronze medallist Julien BONTEMPS:© Guilain GRENIER
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