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4 January 2006, 11:17 am
CASEY Stays On Top
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Laser Australian Championship 2005
Brisbane, Australia

Specialist Olympic Laser helmsman Brendan CASEY (AUS) has expressed his supreme tactical knowledge in racing on Brisbane's lumpy Waterloo Bay to firm a stronger grip on his third ISAF Grade 2 Laser Australian Championship.
CASEY, a super fit aquatic athlete who has a lengthy 14 year career in the physically demanding class, recorded a 3,1 on the first day of the gold fleet finals to extend his lead to eight points over the younger Gosford helmsman Tom SLINGSBY (AUS), while New Zealand's Andrew MURDOCH trails SLINGSBY by three points.

Remarkably some of the big Queenslanders closest rivals have questioned his easy draw in the split fleet qualifying races.

However, in spite of who had to race against who, the point score still shows that the defending champion from the Lake Macquarie nationals raced on a different course in another State has not altered the fact that the Southport Yacht Club sailor has what it takes to be known as a Laser champion.

Casting the war of the words aside, CASEY has shown he has the collective technique and race strategy to sail consistently over a widely varied range of winds and sea conditions which he has proved by winning eight races including the important gold medal round victory today.

Sure he is in a strong position to win back to back gold, however he has far to much respect for the likes of SLINGSBY, MURDOCH and today's first race winner Michael BULLOT (NZL) to become complacent.

'There is still one day of the regatta to go,' he said.

Highly skilled Laser Radial helmsman, Matheiu FREI of France has left his personal stamp of tactical one-design racing authority during his championship series.

Before the championship began the modest skipper was listed as just another name on the entry list. But a little over a week later he has shown the class of a veteran Waterloo Bay sailor to master a complex set of variable wind and at times the white crested waves known as the Waterloo Slop to record seven wins from nine races.

His remarkable consistency has been rewarded with a score of only ten points, handing him a nine point buffer over the skilled New South Wales helmswoman Krystal WEIR (AUS), who is using this series to kick start her Olympic campaign for 2008.

WEIR has a four point break over local RQYS skipper Greg ADAMS (AUS), while her Olympic team rival Sarah BLANCK (AUS) is fourth, another four points adrift of ADAMS with Melanie DENNISON (AUS) sixth, 15 points off the pace.

The exceptionally talented Queensland Youth Squad members Klade HAUSCHILDT (AUS) on 19 points and Jacqueline Van SOEST (AUS) on 35 points, have proved they are in great form to contest the Australian Youth Championship and ISAF Youth Worlds selection trials off Mooloolaba next week.

Collectively they have dominated the top of the Laser 4.7 leaderboard throughout, with VAN SOEST leading early before HAUSCHILDT expressed a tactical maturity well beyond his 16 years to lead the race for gold into the final two races by a commanding 16 points. VAN SOEST comfortably holds second by eleven points over New South Wales youth skipper Keiren SEARLE (AUS).

Ian GRANT (As Amended by ISAF). Image, Action from the Laser 4.7 fleet:© Marine Photography
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