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19 September 2002, 11:06 am
Schiedt (BRA) Wins With A Race To Spare
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Robert Scheidt (BRA) 2002 Laser World Champion © ILCA

Laser World Championship and Olympic Qualification Regatta
Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The final day of the Laser world championships sailed from Hyannis Yacht Club got underway in 12 knots of breeze yesterday
28 year old Robert Scheidt from Brazil strode further into the record books when he won his sixth Laser World title with a race to spare on the final day of the Laser World Championships. His score of single figure results in all but one of the 12 races sailed would be impressive in any class, but in a fleet of 133 boats from 44 countries in a variety of wind and sea conditions left his peers in awe.

The race committee called for an early start because of a forecast of light winds later in the day. They were rewarded with a 9 knot offshore breeze when the fleet lined up for the first of two races at 9.30 am. British sailor, Paul Goodison, started in the middle of the line and worked the left side of the middle of the course to lead at the first mark. Goodison extended his lead on the downwind leg. As the wind started to he took a cautious second upwind leg to take the winning gun on a shortened course. His win put him in contention for a runner up place as all but one of his nearest rivals scored a bad result.

Behind him the first and second place sailors, Scheidt and Karl Suneson from Sweden were locked in their own battle, with Suneson hoping that Scheidt would have two bad results which would have given him the title. However Scheidt has been around too long to let a lead slip without a fight.

Confident in his speed he started 5 boat lengths below Suneson, but unusually for him had a bad start and crossed behind Suneson. Going out to the right hand side of the course he did a quick couple of tacks to get in a controlling position on Suneson. After that he protected his lead on Suneson and rounded the first mark in fourth, 6 places ahead of Suneson. 3rd overall, Brendan Casey AUS rounded in 13th which was just where Scheidt wanted him.
He said "From then on I just tried to protect my lead. On the second windward leg Karl and Brendan went to opposite sides of the course and I decided to cover Karl. I got a good right shift on the second windward which pulled me up to second at the finish."

The died completely for two hours before the second race could be started in the same northerly wind which had again built to 8 knots. Andre Streppel from Brasil led at the first mark. On the downwind Bernard Luttmer from Canada passed Streppel to take a lead which he held to the finish. Luis Martinez from Spain and Andreas Geritzer from Austria also passed Streppel as the wind died and veered through 120 degrees. Fortunately the shifting wind did not change the lead. Behind these 4 Goodison needed to win to have a chance of passing Suneson in the overall ranking. When lying 10th he knew Suneson was behind him and took a tactical gamble in to try and secure a first place position. His gamble did not pay off but his third place was secure.

Congratulats to Robert Scheidt, last year's ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, who out-performed everyone to take his record sixth world championship title and secure Olympic Qualification for Brazil at the 2004 Olympic Regatta, together with the other nations detailed below.

Top 10 Overall (After 9 Races/2 Discards)

Place Nation Name Total 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
1 BRA Robert Scheidt 25 -15 1 2 5 1 1 1 6 2 4 2 (dnc)
2 SWE Karl Suneson 40 8 2 -10 1 1 1 9 1 9 2 6 -20
3 GBR Paul Goodison 51 8 3 -19 4 3 4 2 -24 6 5 1 15
4 ITA Diego Negri 70 -19 5 7 -16 12 3 3 8 7 13 5 7
5 AUS Brendan Casey 79 3 4 1 2 5 5 -23 3 4 30 22 -49
6 GBR Edward Wright 86 2 1 1 -18 3 9 10 4 10 27 -28 19
7 SWE Daniel Birgmark 94 -23 13 6 10 7 4 14 5 14 3 -43 18
8 RSA Gareth Blanckenberg 95 1 5 4 5 2 -8 7 13 24 7 (dnf) 27
9 BEL Philippe Bergmans 97 14 10 8 -15 -19 5 11 7 13 9 10 10
10 FIN Roope Suomalainen 111 -39 6 9 3 4 3 3 -43 21 8 41 13

This event was the first of three opportunities athletes have to qualify their nations for the open singlehanded discipline at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004, the other events being the 2003 World Championship in Cadiz and then the 2004 Laser World Championship.

As host nation, Greece is granted an automatic entry in each Olympic Event so at this stage and subject to ratification by ISAF the following nations have qualified: Brazil, Sweden, Great Britain, Italy, Australia, South Africa, Belgium, Finland, Canada, Croatia, Spain, Austria, Slovenia and Turkey.

At the same point leading up to Sydney 2000, 21 nations had been granted an entry to the Olympic Games. Australia did not need to qualify, and now seem secure with qualification gained at the earliest opportunity. South Africa, Belgium and Austria have secured an entry at an earlier stage than for Sydney 2002.
ISAF News Editor
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