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9 August 2005, 10:34 am
DOMINGOS And SANTOS Take Early Lead
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Ringhals Star European Championship 2005
Varberg, Sweden

A bullet in the opening day's second race has seen Portugal's Afonso DOMINGOS and Bernardo SANTOS take an early lead at the ISAF Grade C1 Ringhals Star European Championship in Varberg, Sweden.
Number two team in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings Iain PERCY and Steve MITCHELL (GBR) follow in second place after a consistent start to the regatta with Austria's Hans SPITZAUER and Adi LUZLBAUER third.

With just six races scheduled for the Championship a good start was vital in the first two races yesterday. Light and shifty winds provided tricky conditions although this did not seem to affect the favourites in the opening race.

Mark MENDELBLATT and Mark STRUBE (USA) got off to a flier and took the bullet in race one followed by World Champions Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU (FRA), with reigning European Champions and number one team in the Rankings, Frederik LÖÖF and Anders EKSTROM (SWE) eventually finishing third after leading early on. With PERCY and MITCHELL recovering from 30th around the first mark to finish fifth behind Benny ANDERSEN and Mogens JUST (DEN), it seemed as if the favourites were going to take the Championship by the scruff of the neck.

Race two took place in even lighter winds and turned the tables on the big names, with the leaderboard top three all finishing way down in the fleet. LÖÖF and EKSTROM fared best at 22 whilst ROHART and RAMBEAU dropped to 42 and MENDELBLATT and STRUBE 68. With just one discard coming into consideration after race five, all three teams will now know there is absolutely no margin for error.

DOMINGOS and SANTOS finished sixth in race one and followed that up with a bullet, although they only just managed to squeeze in six minutes within the time limit of three and a half hours. Two fifth places put PERCY and MITCHELL second, three points behind, and these top two have already pulled out an eight point gap over the rest of the fleet as the teams struggle to find consistency. Behind SPITZAUER and LUZLBAUER in third are two German teams lead by Thomas SCHIFFER and Niel HEUTSCHEL with Alexander HAGEN and Kay FALKENTHAL fifth. Despite their finish of 22 LÖÖF and EKSTROM remain the top Swedish team in sixth, 18 points behind the leaders.

Amongst some of the other big names two time Finn Olympic medallist Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ with crew Dominik ZYCKI (POL) is seventh, ROHART and RAMBEAU are 16th, winners of the ISAF Grade C1 Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship Robert STANJEK and Markus KOY (GER) are 22, whilst MENDELBLATT and STRUBE lie 35th.

Two more races are scheduled for today before the lay day tomorrow and one race each on Thursday and Friday.

Top Ten After Two Races

Pos Nation Helm Crew R1 R2 Pts
1 POR Afonso DOMINGOS Bernardo SANTOS 6 1 7
2 GBR Iain PERCY Steve MITCHELL 5 5 10
3 AUT Hans SPITZAUER Adi LUZLBAUER 9 9 18
4 GER Thomas SCHIFFER Niels HEUTSCHEL 18 2 20
5 GER Alexander HAGEN Kay FALKENTHAL 17 3 20
6 SWE Fredrik LÖÖF Anders EKSTRÖM 3 22 25
7 POL Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ Dominik ZYCKI 14 12 26
8 SWE Mats JOHANSSON Leif MÖLLER 7 20 27
9 DEN Benny ANDERSEN Mogens JUST 4 27 31
10 USA George SZABO Christian FINNSGÅRD 24 8 32
ISAF (source: Lars Lantz). Image, Ian PERCY and Steve MITCHELL have made a consistent start to the Europeans:© Ben Radford/Getty Images
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