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13 July 2006, 08:47 am
World Number One Goes Top
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Finn Gold Cup 2006
Split, Croatia

Number one in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN) has taken the lead at the ISAF Grade W Finn Gold Cup after placing second in the yesterday's only race in Split, Croatia. The bullet went to Olympic silver medallist Rafael TRUJILLO (ESP), pushing him up to third place.
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The start of the third race in the 50th Finn Gold Cup was delayed by two hours on the water, allowing for some refreshing swims in the clear Adriatic waters. Eager to start, the 99 Finn sailors were aggressive on the starting line generating two general recalls. The third start allowed racing to commence but the individual recall penalized three sailors on the line. While Akif MUSLUBAS (TUR) repaired his fault by restarting, Dan SLATER (NZL) and local hope Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC collected a disqualification.

TRUJILLO Impresses

TRUJILLO won the race enjoying the increasing breeze and displaying his usual strength upwind in the strong conditions. Starting around ten knots, the wind rapidly gained to reach 18 knots. Stable in direction, the wind provided some good opportunity for the sailors who could find the areas with more pressure. After a very good start, TRUJILLO was among the leaders with Daniel BIRGMARK (SWE) and HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN, and then capitalised his advance on the second upwind leg.

'I was already in front but while I went to the right of the course, most of the fleet chose the left side,' the Spaniard revealed. 'I could see them tack while I was heading straight to the mark with a good breeze. I was lucky.'

TRUJILLO passed the windward mark with a one minute lead to win the race in front of HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN.

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Rafa TRUJILLO won
yesterday's race
© Finn Gold Cup
'I wasn't good at the start,' admitted the Dane, 'Then I saw more pressure on the right side and I must have gained 17 places. I rounded the top mark in third position. It was the same in the second beat; I gained lots of ground and passed the top mark in third place behind Daniel BIRGMARK.'

ANDREWS Leads The Juniors

20 year old Scottish sailor Mark ANDREWS (GBR) is still leading the Junior's division, improving his overall results by three places in 21st position. Skandia Team GBR is so far enjoying a great regatta, currently counting three sailors in the top ten. While Iain PERCY (GBR) has lost five places from third to eighth, and Ed WRIGHT (GBR has conserved his fourth position, the surprise is coming from Matt HOWARD (GBR). Usually seen around the 20 bench mark, HOWARD is lying in sixth position. 'He is really fast downwind', explained his coach David HOWLETT. 'Maybe one of the fastest in the Finn squad. He trained hard and it is paying off.'

Two races are scheduled for today. The week still reserves many opportunities for a sailor to take a clear lead in the championship. This year has been surprising everyone by revealing lots of talented sailors, each of them taking turns to win a regatta in the international circuit. The top four sailors in the 2006 Finn Gold Cup have each had their moment of glory this year. HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN won the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma, Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE), now in second place, took over the ISAF Grade 1 Holland Regatta, yesterday's winner TRUJILLO took the early glory in the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR and WRIGHT was the leader in Hyères at the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française. Despite having to count with an OCS (which he is seeking redress for at the moment), SLATER was the latest winner in the ISAF Grade 1 Kiel Week, but is still in contention for the title.

Lots of hope and pressure were put on the Croatian team who is not performing at its best and have yet to show their full potential. Six more races can still change the perspective of the championship.

Top Ten Results

Pos Nation Name R1 R2 R3 Pts
1 DEN Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN 2 4 2 8
2 GRE Emilios PAPATHANASIOU 4 1 5 10
3 ESP Rafael TRUJILLO 9 2 1 12
4 GBR Edward WRIGHT 1 10 7 18
5 SWE Daniel BIRGMARK 11 6 3 20
6 GBR Matt HOWARD 6 13 6 25
7 SWE Johan TILLANDER 12 5 13 30
8 GBR Iain PERCY 7 3 21 31
9 NOR Peer MOBERG 10 9 14 33
10 NED Pieter Jan POSTMA 8 23 4 35

For all the latest news from the Finn Gold Cup CLICK HERE.

Corinne MCKENZIE (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN leads the way in Split:© Finn Gold Cup
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