Four fleets were held ashore at the Kiel Olympic Classes Regatta in Germany yesterday as the Baltic was lashed by a series of fronts that brought heavy downpours and recorded gusts of up 40 knots.
The windsurfers were the only seemingly happy fleet as more breeze simply equals more speed, although several broken booms provided ample proof of the arduous conditions.
Britain's Nick Dempsey was the days top performer in the Mistral men's class with three wins from three starts. He now leads the 82 strong fleet by four points. "I had decent speed and reasonable tactics but didn't win the races by far," explained the young Briton, who is ranked second in the world. "The hardest thing is defending your lead when it is so gusty and so shifty. You take a few knocks, but you just have to be patient and take the lifts when you can." Poland's Piotr Myszak is second overall.
Hong Kong's Lee Lai Shan retains her lead in the women's event from France's Lise Vidal, even though the 1996 Olympic gold medallist failed to win a race today. "I didn't catch the shifts as it was so squally," she explained, after scoring 8,2,6. "Twice I went to the wrong side of the course and had to catch up. The course was so small that when you are behind it is difficult to catch up."
Lee Lai's advantage is now just four points after Vidal scored 4,4,2. "It'll be tight with the French girl and it will be a tough event," she added. The top of this fleet is dominated by three nations with three French, three Polish and two Chinese windsurfers in the top ten.
It all came good for Finland's Sari Multala in the Europe fleet. The world champion made up for some costly errors in yesterday's opening three races and was always within the top three at the windward mark to pull through on the downwind legs and win all three races.
"I liked the conditions today but yesterday I had a few problems like a capsize, so I wasn't slow, it just wasn't my day," she reflected. Carolijn Brouwer from the Netherlands is three points behind after six races.
A third and a first place from Britain's Paul Goodison puts him back in charge of the Laser fleet with a two point lead over France's Xavier Leclair. Goodison was on course to win the first race but capsized on the downwind leg. He caught up to second, only to capsize again. After a herculian effort he fought back to take third place on the line.
Goodison is now able to discard his premature start from yesterday to lead the event, but Leclair maintained the pressure with first and second positions in series races four and five.
After several Tornado's limped back to the dock yesterday with broken parts and the occasional missing rig, they were wisely kept ashore with the delicate Star and 49er fleets. The safety boats meant for the Finn course were kept busy on the joint Laser and Europe race area so the Finn fleet also enjoyed a day off.
But the Ynglings were sent out just after midday to an inshore course for two races and German crews now hold first and second overall. Ulrike Schümann, Wibke Bulle and Winnie Lippert lead the series after four races with a 1,6,3,1 scoreline. This gives them an eight point lead over teammates Kristin Wagner, Aaan Hoell and Veronika Lochbrunner.
Several 470s also returned the dock with damaged kit or broken masts after gusts ripped through their course after the first race. Former Europe Olympic silver medal winner Margriet Matthjsse from the Netherlands, now sailing with Lisa Wersterhof in the women's doublehanded class, was seen being towed in minus a rig.
The 77 boat men's fleet is divided into two with 1996 Olympic gold medallists Eugeny Braslavets and Igor Matvienko from the Ukraine winning their heat, before the a majority of the fleet was laid flat by a squall. "When the storm came over it was just crazy," explained helmsman Eugeny, who later put their race win down to perseverence. "Positions were changing all the time. At the beginning we weren't doing too well. Then we gained some places, then lost some and had to fight the whole time."
The second group race was won by Sergey Bartashevich and Egor Petrovich. Braslavets and and Matvienko held the overall lead before the fleet were sent back out late this afternoon for another two possible races.
The first women's race was won by Australian Olympic gold medallists Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Powell. They were second overall to Russia's Vlada Dienko and Diana Knutskih prior to this afternoons racing.
Finally, Germany's Paralympic gold medallist Hieko Kröger continues to dominate the 2.4mR class. He has now won three of the four races but he admitted that today's back to back victories were hard work. This is the first time the a Paralympic event has been combined with the Olympic Classes at Kiel, and this could be the start for the future.
"Another German led around the course for one lap in the first race before I took over but in the second race Jens Als Anderson (Danish Paralmpic silver medallist) led for most of the way. It was difficult to beat him as we have the same speed and he is a good tactican," explained Kröger.
All results are strictly provisional and subject to later change.
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