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5 August 2005, 03:53 pm
SCHEIDT Heads A World Class Field In Cartagena
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Laser European Championship 2005
Cartagena, Spain

Registration and measurement is underway at the ISAF Grade C1 Laser European Championship in Cartagena, Spain as the world class field prepares for tomorrow's practice race. The entry list for the Championship presents a mouth watering array of talent with over 130 competitors and all three Olympic medallists from Athens.
Robert SCHEIDT's (BRA) name immediately jumps out as the reigning World and Olympic Champion ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and now the number one sailor in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. However since SCHEIDT stated his intention to campaign a Star for Beijing 2008 his results in the Laser have not matched the form that has brought him seven World titles. Although he started the year well with a win the ISAF Grade 2 Laser Europa Cup in the Netherlands, he was overshadowed by other sailors at the ISAF Grade 1 Holland Regatta and the ISAF Grade 1 Kieler Woche in Germany where he finished seventh and third respectively.

Where SCHEIDT has not reach his peak this year, last year's European runner up Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) has had a memorable season with four wins to date including victories at the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française, the Holland Regatta and most recently at the ISAF Grade 2 Warnemünde Woche in Germany.

Paul GOODISON (GBR) had been having an up and down season before an impressive victory in Kiel, where for much of the regatta he and SCHEIDT were neck-a-neck at the top of the leaderboard. That win had seemingly secured his place at top the Rankings, but in the latest release SCHEIDT came back to reclaim the top spot. GOODISON has always been amongst the strongest challengers at the Europeans with top five finishes in all of the last five years, but he has never won the title.

That is something that Vasilij ZBOGAR (SLO) has done, with the Olympic bronze medallist winning in Split, Croatia two years ago. However reigning European Champion Phillipe BERGMANS (BEL) does not look set to defend his title.

Olympic silver medallist Andreas GERITZER (AUT) will also be amongst the strongest challengers whilst the contingent of five Spanish sailors will be looking to take advantage of sailing on home waters.

Great Britain is sending the largest number of sailors with GOODISON heading the 14 strong team which includes 2004 and 2005 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champions, Nick THOMPSON and Giles SCOTT respectively. They will be aiming to re-establish the dominance the Brits held over the event in the later 1990s when, lead by Ben AINSLIE they held the title for five years running.

The Laser always provides a diverse fleet and this year is no exception. 37 nations are represented on the entry list in Cartenga with sailors coming from every continent.

Tomorrow measurement and registration comes to an end with the practice race following at 1400 hours local time. The Championship gets underway on Sunday with two races in the qualifying series. Two more races are scheduled for each of the next three days before the final series begins with two races on Thursday. Two more races on Friday bring the Championship to a close and will decide the 2005 European Champion.

ISAF. Image, Robert SCHEIDT on his way to third place at Kieler Woche:© Mick Anderson/SEASEE.IT
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