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26 January 2006, 10:15 am
Northerly Challenges Fleet
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Rolex Miami OCR 2006
Miami, Florida, USA

As expected, a front came through on Tuesday evening and 610 sailors from 40 countries at the Rolex Miami OCR woke up to a shifty northerly that promised a tactical day. After another fruitful day of racing, the cream has risen to the top in the 12 Olympic events and one Paralympic class competing here on Biscayne Bay, but positions are anything but secured.
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Thursday's stronger, steadier breezes bode well for another full day of racing before Friday's one-race finals (two in the Paralympic Sonar class) where the fleet will have been pared down to simulate the newly adopted changes in the Olympic racing format.

'In the 470 men's class, a dramatic windshift in the second race separated the fleet by a half mile on a one mile beat,' said US Sailing Team Coach Skip WHYTE. Great Britain's Nic ASHER and Elliot WILLIS were one of the unfortunate duos stuck on the wrong side of it.

'We were a long way behind, but we got back okay,' said ASHER, 'and we won our last race, which put us back where we needed to be. All the top guys had one bad race today.' ASHER and WILLIS count their eighth in that second race as a throwout, which keeps them at the top of the scoreboard for the third straight day.

Mikee ANDERSON MITTERLING and crew David HUGHES (USA) are the top U.S. team, currently sitting in sixth after posting a 6-13-2. 'It was a 30 degree lefty in that second race, and Nick (ASHER) was back with us. Our last race helped a lot, because the people who did well in the second race did poorly. What stinks is we have to keep our bad race, because we also had a 13 on the first day and that will be our throwout.' ASHER'S and WILLIS'S fellow countryman Paul GOODISON (GBR) felt he didn't sail 'particularly well' today, but he still leads in the Laser classthe largest at the regatta with 90 boats, which sailed in gold and silver fleets today. 'It was really tricky out there,' said GOODISON, a three-time winner of this event. 'I didn't start out well, but I did a good job of getting back; I probably passed 60-70 boats total in three races.'

The USA's Andrew CAMPBELL won the first race of the day and followed it up with an 11-15 for a fifth overall, right behind top American Brad FUNK. 'Things fell into place nicely in the first race,' said CAMPBELL, 'but as the day got progressively shiftier, it became more difficult. If we get in a couple of good races tomorrow, it could really change things.'

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continue to lead in the Tornado

The Star class has had three different leaders in as many days of racing, with current world champions from France, Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU, moving to the top of the scoreboard after three races yesterday. Defending champions Andrew HORTON and Brad NICHOL (USA) are in second overall despite having a mixed day yesterday, finishing 23 in the last race of the day. On equal points with HORTON and NICHOL are ex Olympian in the Laser Hamish PEPPER and crew Carl WILLIAMS from New Zealand.

Solid at the top

The current Laser Radial World Champion Paige RAILEY(USA) had a fairly good day after a poor start. She recovered from an OCS in the first race of the day with two wins to extend her lead over the rest of the fleet. 'You had to think tactically all the time today,' said Railey, who in two races led at all marks and has a 12-point lead on her closest competitor. Behind RAILEY in second place is Jennifer SPALDING (CAN), the 2002 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion ahead of RAILEY, who that time had to settle for the bronze.

As solid as RAILEY are two other USA teams at the top of the scoreboard. They are defending champions John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE, leading the Tornado class by 15 points, and reigning Yngling World Champions Sally BARKOW, Carrie HOWE and Deborah CAPOZZI who hold a 12-point lead.

In the Finn class, a new leader, Christopher COOK (CAN), has emerged. COOK posts an impressive scoreline with just one finish outside the top four. Three points behind him is 2004 Olympic silver medallist Rafael TRUJILLO (ESP).

In the Sonar fleet, David SCHROEDER, Keith BURHANS and Bill MAUK continue to lead with an almost perfect scoreline.

British Sailors Continue to Shine

In the 49er class, Olympic bronze medallists Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR) continue to lead the 32 boat fleet despite, for the first day of the championship, not posting a bullet. Their teammates, John PINK and Alex HOPSON who on Tuesday rose to the number two position proved unable to maintain their form and a 12, 10,12 score sees them drop back down the leaderboad to seventh. Stepping up to the mark yesterday were the Italian brothers, Piero and Gianfranco SIBELLO who posted a second and two bullets.

Over in the windsurfing fleets, Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) and Bryony SHAW (GBR) continue to dominate proceedings. DEMPSEYleads pre-event favourite Nicolas HUGUET (FRA) by five points and holds an impressive score of four bullets and one second which is just slightly marred by a fifth in the final race of the day yesterday. SHAW's performance in the women's division is equally strong and she has not finished a race outside the top three. She leads by six points from Marina ALABAU (ESP) with Canada's Dominique VALL in third position on equal points with Britain's Lucy HARWOOD.

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Petitjean and Douroux in second place
behind Bassadone and Clark
© Dan Nerney/Rolex
In the women's double-handed dinghy, 470 Christina BASSADONE and Saskia CLARK are still holding off the challenge of ISAF World Ranked number one team Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX (FRA). BASSADONE and CLARK finished 8,3,3 yesterday compared to the 2,9,6 of their rivals and build their lead to six points.

US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR is an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Grade 1 event, a designation that indicates its importance in world rankings. It also is a qualifying event for the members of the 2006 US Sailing Team and a country qualifier for the 2007 Pan Am Games.

In addition to Rolex, sponsors for US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR are Nautica, Extrasport, Gill, Harken, McLube, New England Ropes, Nikon, Sperry Top-Sider, Vanguard Sailboats, Vineyard Vines, and Zodiac. Rolex and Nautica are also sponsors of the US Sailing Teams. Tonight's shoreside activities for competitors feature a special dinner sponsored by Nautica.

Headquarters for US SAILING's 2006 Rolex Miami OCR are at the US Sailing Center, with classes hosted by the US Sailing Center; Coral Reef, Key Biscayne and Miami Yacht Clubs; the Coconut Grove Sailing Club; and Shake-A-Leg-Miami. The event is organized by US SAILING, the national governing body of the sport.

For a complete list of all the news about the Rolex Miami OCR 2006 CLICK HERE.
Barby MACGOWAN (As Amended By ISAF). Image, John LOVELL & Charlie OGLETREE cotinue to lead the Tornado fleet :© Dan NERNEY/Rolex
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