The Final World Sailing Rankings of 2002 have been released today. As we come into the latter part of the year, the final World Championship and Olympic Qualification Regatta finished last weekend in the form of the Mistral Worlds.
The traditional switch to southern hemisphere major events has happened with the start of the Sail down Under Series in Australia.
In many of the Olympic Classes, however, there has been a slow down in the number of graded events counting in the latest rankings as we move into the last few weeks of 2002.
Starting with the most significant changes, the Mistral men and women were the only events to include a world championship in the rankings release, and it would seem to have had a fairly significant impact on the list.
Men's Sailboard - Mistral
Gal Friedman (ISR), claiming his first world championship win in Thailand, jumped from sixth to second, only twenty six points behind the new leader of the rankings, Nick Dempsey (GBR), who historically makes his first appearance at the top and will stay there going into 2003. Nick has had a steady season and makes his first appearance at number one after a solid top ten result at the World Championship. Previously ranked number one Nicolas Huguet (FRA) has dropped an amazing six places after a disappointing twenty-fifth at the Worlds. Whilst third placed Ricardo Santos (BRA) replicates his finishing position in Thailand with his highest ever position in the rankings.
But the biggest move is reserved for slightly lower down the top twenty where Julien Bontemps (FRA) has risen an incredible nineteen places from thirty-ninth to twentieth after finishing third in the world championship at the weekend, whilst the young Tom Ashley (NZL), Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion in 2002, in qualifying New Zealand for the Olympic Regatta in Athens 2004 (Subject to ISAF ratification), climbs from twenty-second to fifteenth.
Women's Sailboard - Mistral
The absence of Lee Lai Shan (HKG) from the World Championship due to illness last week has not done her ranking campaign any favours. The previously world ranked number one has now dropped to eleventh. Qualification for the Olympic Regatta was left to her fellow countrywoman, Wai Kei Chan who, in finishing thirteenth, did the job of qualifying Hong Kong for the Olympics (subject to ISAF ratification).
The final table is once again headed by a British Sailor, Natasha Sturges (GBR) proving that a consistent season can pay dividends at the end by moving up to first from third, following the World Championship. ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominee Alessandra Sensini (ITA), who finished second in Thailand, lifted herself four places to joint twelfth, only 27 points behind her rival, Lee Lai Shan.
Two Person Keelboat - Star
Although no change in the top two of the Star class rankings, it is the only other class to include a grade one event in this ranking release. Their European Championship finished on 12 October and created some movement in the ranking release.
Mark Reynolds and Austin Sperry (USA) remain just ahead of current World Champions Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell (GBR), who see their highest position since they started their Star Campaign at the beginning of 2002. There are two movements into the top twenty with Nicola Celon and Dodo Natucci (ITA) moving up from twenty second to eighteenth, and Niklas David Holm and Martin Leifelt (DEN) move from twenty-first into seventeenth.
Mark Mansfield and Killian Collins (IRL) have replaced the Bermudan pair of Peter Bromby and Martin Siese in third place, after their result in the European Championship in October.
Decided by the event organisers and confirmed today by ISAF, the Bacardi Cup will be an invitational event, open to all and not enforcing the Star Class crew weight nor allowing any personal advertising as per the Olympic Class regulations. On request of the Star Class the Bacardi Cup will not be an event sanctioned as Grade 1 and therefore will not be factored into the next ISAF World Sailing Rankings.
All other Classes
There were no changes to the top twenty of the remainder of the Olympic Classes, with a shift to the southern hemisphere and the first and only ISAF grade one event taking place in Australia, will take place in January.
The Next ISAF World Sailing Rankings will be released on 5 February 2003, following the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta in USA.