The other change amongst the Ranking leaders also sees a former world #1 return to the top spot. Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) may not have made the medal places at the Laser Radial Worlds, but her consistent performances at the top events are unmatched in the fleet and put her back into pole position in the Women's One Person Dinghy Rankings.
The recent Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma signalled the start of the European season, which this year has the added spice of the build up to the Beijing Olympic Games. Many sailors already know if they have been chosen to represent their nation at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao, whilst for others, the next couple of months provide the final opportunity to stake their claim.
Next up for the Olympic campaigns are the Mediterranean waters of Hy?res and the 40th edition of the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Fran?aise. The French team will be looking for a strong performance on their home waters, especially following their best Ranking performance for some time, as they tie with Australia and Great Britain with four top-three crews. Italy and Spain are also looking good, whilst the Brits dominated the medals in Palma. After missing the action in Palma, some of the stars of the Aussie line up will be in Hy?res looking to show why they're the current hot shots in the Rankings.
The next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings will next be on 30 April 2008, including results from the Star World Championship and ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Fran?aise.
Men's Windsurfer - RS:X
Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL) holds on to the top spot in the latest Men's RS:X Rankings, as he emphasised his claim for the Polish Olympic windsurfing slot with a silver-medal performance at the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy. Joao RODRIGUES (POR) did not compete in Spain but stays at #2, just ahead of Palma winner Nick DEMPSEY (GBR).
Behind the top three Ivan PASTOR LAFUENTE (ESP) gains one place up to #5 after finishing fourth in Spain. Just beating the Spaniard to the podium in Palma was the rapidly improving young Italian Fabien HEIDEGGER. The silver medallist at the 2006 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship put in his best performance to date in the very strong 96-board fleet and climbs up two places to a career-best Ranking of #16.
Another young sailor making rapid improvements is Thailand's 19 year old Ek BOONSAWAD. After qualifying his nation for the Olympic Games at the RS:X Worlds in New Zealand he is rapidly improving his Ranking position. A strong 27th place finish in Palma lifts him up eight places to his best-ever Ranking of #65.
Women's Windsurfer - RS:X
There's no stopping Marina ALABAU (ESP) who remains well clear at the top of the Women's RS:X Rankings. The Spanish skipper has held the world #1 spot since February 2007 and continues to impress with consistently strong performances at the top events. She scored her third podium finish of the year at the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy, although a disappointing Medal Race performance put paid to her title challenge.
Victory in Palma went to triple Olympic medallist and current World Champion Alessandra SENSINI (ITA). Aged 38, the Italian is performing better than ever on the RS:X equipment and her win moves her one place up the Rankings to #8. Olympic Champion Faustine MERRET (FRA) was not quite so impressive in Spain, but a solid fifth-place finish keeps her at #2 in the Rankings, just ahead of her team mate Charline PICON (FRA) at #3.
Another strong performer in Palma was four-time ISAF Youth World Champion and 2007 World Champion Zofia KLEPACKA (POL) in third (currently at #7 in the Rankings). Last year's winner Barbara KENDALL (NZL) did not compete (and consequently drops down two Ranking places to #5) as she balances her Olympic training schedule with looking after two young daughters and work in her role on the IOC Athletes' Commission.
Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser
Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) makes it seven consecutive Ranking releases in the Laser world #1 spot, although Paul GOODISON's (GBR) recent win in Palma is a timely reminder that the Australia will have to be at the top of his game to hold on to the leader.
With neither SLINGSBY nor world #3 Andrew MURDOCH (NZL) present, the Brits dominated in Palma, with GOODISON leading the way, closely followed by Nick THOMPSON (GBR). Whilst GOODISON's Ranking world #2 Ranking remains unchanged, victory in Spain was the perfect start to the European season, whilst THOMPSON's second place moves him up one place to #19.
Also climbing up in this Ranking release are Estonia's Deniss KARPAK (EST), whose victory at the ISAF Grade 2 Laser Europa Cup boosts him one place to a new career-best Ranking of #4. Canada's Olympic representative Michael LEIGH, who was recently crowned Laser Radial World Champion, also gains one place up to #6.
In four years' time at the 2012 Olympic Games, young Canadian sailor Luke RAMSAY (CAN) will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of his more senior team mate. The 2006 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion provided another demonstration of his potential with a victory at the ISAF Grade 2 Laser Midwinters West in San Diego. He improves his World Ranking to #87.
Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) is back at the top of the Laser Radial Rankings, knocking Jo ALEH (NZL) off the top spot. ALEH falls from the top spot after finishing a disappointing 14th overall at the Laser Radial Worlds on her home waters in Takapuna. Whilst she missed out of the medals, TUNNICLIFFE again demonstrated that she is currently the most consistent performer in the Laser Radial fleet with a solid sixth-place finish.
Behind the leading two, Sarah BLANCK (AUS) moves up one place to her best-ever Ranking of #3. China's Lijia XU, who came within a whisker of winning her second World title in Takapuna, also hits a career-best position as she climbs five places up to #4. The new Laser Radial World Champion Sarah STEYAERT (FRA) is just two places behind XU at #6, again a Ranking-best performance for the young French skipper. Victory at the Worlds was doubly sweet for the 21 year old, as it also ensured her selection for the French team at this year's Beijing Olympic Games.
The Worlds in Takapuna also marked a return to action for Lithuania's Gintare VOLUNGEVICIUTE. After an impressive season in Europe last year, VOLUNGEVICIUTE scored bar far her best World Championship result to date with a fourth-place finish and climbs nine places in this Ranking release up to #14.
Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470
No change is the story at the top of the latest Men's 470 Rankings, with the world top 20 completely unaltered. This leaves Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) in the top spot for the seventh consecutive Ranking release as they maintain their narrowly points' advantage over Nicolas CHARBONNIER and Olivier BAUSSET (FRA).
WILMOT and PAGE did not compete in Palma and in their absence it was the Italian team of Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI who stole the show. Following on from victory at the ISAF Grade 3 Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week, the world #6 crew were a class apart all week long, ending the regatta with a decisive 19-point winning margin.
World #3 crew Gideon KLIGER and Udi GAL (ISR) were best of the rest in second place, just ahead of Dutch brothers Sven COSTER and Kalle COSTER.
Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470
Guilia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) remain as world #1 crew as the top 20 remain unchanged in the latest release of the Women's 470 Rankings. The Italians made a solid start to their European season at the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma, Spain only just missing out on the bronze medal on countback.
The close racing in Spain promises an exciting few months ahead in the Women's 470 fleet as Olympic preparations intensify. At the end of the regatta, the crews in second to seventh were only separated by 13 points and it was only a final day flourish by triple World Champions Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED) that secured them the title by nine points.
World #2 crew Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA (JPN) were amongst the tightly grouped finishers in sixth place overall. KONDO and KAMATA won their national selection battle with world #3 crew Yuka YOSHISAKO and Noriko OKUMA (JPN), and will now be fully concentrating on their build up to Beijing.
Perhaps the most noteworthy performance in Palma came from the Spanish crew of Natalia VIA-DUFRESNE and Laia TUTZO. VIA-DUFRESNE, who helmed the Spanish 470 to silver in Athens, and TUTZO only teamed up at the start of this year, but have posted some impressive results already, significantly outperforming their rivals for national selection, Marina GALLEGO and Tamara ECHEGOYEN (ESP) at the Worlds earlier this year. VIA-DUFRESNE and TUTZO were even more impressive in Palma, finishing second (GALLEGO and ECHEGOYEN were 17th) although they only climb two places up the Rankings to #52.
Skiff - 49er
Despite several significant changes amongst the world top ten in the latest 49er Rankings, but Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA) are unmoved in the world #1 for the third consecutive release. Jan-Peter PECKOLT and Hannes PECKOLT (GER) also remain at #2. Neither the Italian or German brothers were at their best during the recent European Championship in Palma, although both had scored podium finishes at the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy a week earlier.
In contrast 2004 Olympic gold medallists Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ (ESP) picked up their performance at the Europeans, excelling in the heavy weather conditions and holding their nerve in a very tightly contested Medal Race. The successful defence of their European title moves them one place up the Rankings to #3.
Just behind the Spaniard two top-five finishes in Palma lift reigning World Champions Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN (AUS) up one place to their best-ever Ranking of #4. Princess Sofia Trophy winners and European bronze medallist Rodion LUKA and George LEONCHUK (UKR) also climb up one place to #5. The other main movers at the top are the young Austrian crew of Nico DELLE - KARTH and Nikolaus RESCH. Strong finishes in both Palma events lift them back into the world top ten at #9.
Heavyweight Dinghy - Finn
The ever-consistent Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN) stays top of the Finn Rankings with no movement at all this month in the world top 20. The Danish skipper is closing in on an unbroken two-year reign in the world #1 spot, although he was slightly off the pace at the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy, finishing in seventh, his worst result in an ISAF Graded event for over two years.
At the top of the leaderboard in Palma nobody was able to live with the pace set by reigning Olympic Champion Ben AINSLIE (GBR). Since returning to the Olympic campaign trial full time, the five-time Finn Gold Cup winner has been literally unbeatable. Victory in Spain was secured before the Medal Race even got underway and consequently AINSLIE continues his rapid rise up the Rankings, gaining ten places to #34.
AINSLIE's closest challenger in Palma was the young Croatian skipper Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC. The 23 year old has become one of the leading protagonists in the Finn class, a position reflected in his world #5 ranking.
Multihull ? Tornado
Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) hold on to the world #1 spot for the 13th consecutive release of the Tornado Rankings, with very little change in the world top 20. Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP) and Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHUIS (NED) also remain unchanged at #2 and #3 respectively.
With only one new event counting in this Ranking release, the ISAF Grade 3 Regata Internazionale Vele Di Pasqua held in Italy (with only eight competing crews, the Princess Sofia Trophy did not meet the Grading criteria), it's no surprise to see little change in this Ranking release. At the top some minor shuffling results in two new entries to the world top ten. Andrey KIRILYUK and Valery USHKOV (RUS) move up two places to #9, just ahead of Yann GUICHARD and Alexandre GUYADER (FRA), who gain two places up to #10.
Winners in Italy, Michele SAPONARA and Valerio MISSO (ITA), are new into the Rankings at #89.
Women's Keelboat ? Yngling
Reigning World Champions Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON return to the top of the Yngling World Rankings following their European title triumph in Spain. In contrast to their World Championship win, the British trio were forced to battle right to the wire for their first European title, secured by a single point after a thrilling downwind battle on the last leg of the Medal Race. Their victory in Spain lifts them three places up the Rankings and back into the world #1 spot which they previously held from August 2007-February 2008.
Second in the Europeans and now up to #2 in the Rankings is the American team of Sally BARKOW, Debbie CAPOZZI and Carrie HOWE, whilst the previous world #1 crew of Ekaterina SKUDINA, Diana KRUTSKIKH and Natalia IVANOVA drop back to #3.
SKUDINA, KRUTSKIKH and IVANOVA are currently locked in a very tightly contested battle with compatriots Anna BASALKINA, Vladislava UKRAINCEVA and Ekaterina MAXIMOVA (RUS) for the Russian Yngling slot at the Olympic Games. BASALKINA and her crew just held the edge at the Europeans, finishing in fifth to SKUDINA's sixth, but it's the latter that holds the better Ranking position, with BASALKINA four places back at #7. Hy?res is pencilled in as the final selection event for the Russian team.
Just behind BASALKINA, Renee GROENEVELD and her various Dutch crew have moved up two places to #8. GROENEVELD was the best placed of six Dutch Yngling crews at the Europeans, narrowly ahead of the top-ranked Dutch skipper Mandy MULDER (who drops three places in this release down to #5). This is another Olympic selection battle that looks set to go down to the wire.
The big mover in this Ranking release in the Chinese team of Xiaqun SONG, Xiaoni LI and Yanli YU. They climb up six places to their best-ever Ranking of #18, although they would have been somewhat disappointed with their 15th place finish at the Europeans, having finished an impressive fourth in Palma a few weeks earlier.
Men's Keelboat ? Star
With all the big names of the Star fleet in Miami preparing for the start of the Worlds this week, there has been little action on the race course over the past month and consequently the Rankings remain relatively unchanged.
Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ and Dominik ZYCKI (POL) hold on to the world #1 spot for the fifth consecutive Ranking release, whilst Diego NEGRI and Luigi VIALE (ITA) move up one place to #2 with Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU (FRA) at #3.
Just outside of the top three, Afonso DOMINGOS and Bernardo SANTOS (POR) move up one place to equal their career-high Ranking of #4 (last achieved in May 2002). The Portuguese pairing appear to be coming into form at exactly the right time and go into the start of the World Championship with a victory in Miami at the Bacardi Cup already under their belts. Another team who impressed at the Bacardi Cup are Iain PERCY and Andrew SIMPSON (GBR). The British pair gain two places in this Ranking release to move into the world top ten for the first time in almost two years.
Click on the links below to view the latest Rankings or go to the ISAF World Sailing Rankings homepage - www.sailing.org/rankings.
470 - Men's Two Person Dinghy - www.sailing.org/470mRankings
470 - Women's Two Person Dinghy - www.sailing.org/470wRankings
49er - Skiff - www.sailing.org/49erRankings
Finn - Heavyweight Dinghy - www.sailing.org/FinnRankings
Laser - Men's One Person Dinghy - www.sailing.org/LaserRankings
Laser Radial - Women?s One Person Dinghy - www.sailing.org/RadialRankings
RS:X - Men's Windsurfer - www.sailing.org/RSXmRankings
RS:X - Women's Windsurfer - www.sailing.org/RSXwRankings
Star - Men's Keelboat - www.sailing.org/StarRankings
Tornado - Multihull - www.sailing.org/TornadoRankings
Yngling - Women?s Keelboat - www.sailing.org/YnglingRankings
The next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings will next be on 9 April 2008, including results from the Laser Radial World Championship and Princess Sofia Trophy.
Results from the following events have been newly included in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings since their last release on 5 February 2008.
|Tornado||Regatta Internazionale Vele Di Pasqua (3)|
|Laser||HRH Princess Sofia (2); Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week (3); Izola Spring Cup (3); Laser Europa Cup, Laser Radial & Laser 4.7 Youth Grand Prix Event (2); Laser Midwinters West (2); Split Olympic Sailing Week (3); United 4 (1) (3); Laser Europa Cup ? Switzerland (3)|
|Finn||HRH Princess Sofia (2)|
|Laser Radial||HRH Princess Sofia (2); Laser Radial Women World Championship (W); Izola Spring Cup (3); Laser Europa Cup, Laser Radial & Laser 4.7 Youth Grand Prix Event (2); United 4 (1) (3)|
|49er||HRH Princess Sofia (2); 49er European Championship (C1)|
|470 men & women||HRH Princess Sofia (2); Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week (M-470) (3)|
|M-RSX & W-RSX||HRH Princess Sofia (2)|
|Yngling||HRH Princess Sofia (2); Yngling Women European (C1)|
Graded events which have not been included are listed below.
|Event||Classes not included:||Reason:|
|RS:X South American Championships||W-RS:X (C1); M-RS:X (C1)||Postponed until later in the year|
|HRH Princess Sofia||Tornado (2)||Not enough entrants|
|HRH Princess Sofia||Star (2)||No Racing|
|Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week||W-Laser (3); W-470 (3)||Not enough entrants|
|Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week||Star (3); W-Yngling (3); Tornado (3); 49er (3); Finn (3); W-RS.X (3); M-RS:X (3)||No Racing|
|Izola Spring Cup||W-470 (3); M-470 (3)||Not eligible to enter|
|Laser Midwinters West||W-Laser (2)||Not enough Nations|
|Split Olympic Sailing Week||M-RSX (3); Finn (3)||Not enough entrants|
|Split Olympic Sailing Week||M-470 (3); W-470 (3)||Not eligible to enter|
|Split Olympic Sailing Week||W-Laser (3); 49er (3); Star (3)||No Racing|
|United 4 (1)||W-470 (3); M-470 (3)||Not enough entrants|
|Laser Europa Cup ? Switzerland||Laser (3)||Not enough entrants|
ISAF World Sailing Rankings - www.sailing.org/rankings