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22 May 2008, 09:32 am
Tricky Conditions On First Day Delta Lloyd Regatta
The Yngling fleet in action in Medemblik
The Yngling fleet in action on the opening day of racing

Delta Lloyd Regatta 2008
Medemblik, The Netherlands

The ISAF Grade 1 Delta Lloyd Regatta started with tricky conditions on the IJsselmeer, but there were few surprises amongst the leading crews.
The moderate easterly breeze shifted to the north northeast and was very variable for the first day of racing on Wednesday. That caused fluctuating results in some of the classes. Other competitors were consistent in the top, like Laser Radial sailor Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) with two bullets and a second. Dutchmen Dorian VAN RIJSSELBERGE leads with two wins in the RS:X and so does Marina ALABAU (ESP) in the women's fleet and Gasper VINCEC (SLO) in the Finn. Yngling trio Ulrike SCHUEMANN, Julia BLECK and Ute HOEPFNER (GER) lead with a series of 1,1,3 scores.

"We are taking advantage of our improvement in team work, on which we have worked hard in last week's training session," said Yngling skipper SCHUEMANN on the dockside. "We are using everybody in the boat, whereas in the past we did not use the knowledge of all of us. But our boat speed and starts were also good."

The Dutch team of Mandy MULDER, Marije FABER and Merel WITTEVEEN climbed up the leaderboard during the day. The girls finished 6,4,2 and are second overall after three races. MULDER commented, "It was difficult sailing. The wind changes were hard to predict, so we had to wait and adapt to it." According to WITTEVEEN (bow), they did not choose a side of the course: "We positioned ourselves so that it would not matter from which side the breeze would come." The Russian girls Ekaterina SKUDINA, Diana KRUTSKIKH and Natalia IVANOVA are third overall with scores of 4,11,1.

TUNNICLIFFE Dominates Laser Radial

The fleet of 71 competitors in the Laser Radial was split up in two groups. Winner of last year's Olympic Test Event TUNNICLIFFE had a flying start with two bullets and a second. It was not easy on the Laser Radial course either, explained Sarah BLANCK from Australia. In April, she won the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères after which she did some training sessions. BLANCK took the day's second bullet and finished fifth in the last race. "There was a big, big shift to the left and I didn't get it, since I was in the middle. The breeze got a lot lighter in the last two races," she explained.

For most of the athletes building up to the Olympic Games in August, the Delta Lloyd Regatta is their penultimate large-scale regatta before the Games start. BLANCK commented, "I am still working on a few technical things, so this is an important event for me."

Gintare VOLUNGEVICIUTE (LTU) is second overall in the Laser Radial fleet, just one point ahead of BLANCK.

France and Brazil Lead 470s

"Downwind it was easier to gain and lose some places," said Sven COSTER from the Netherlands. He and his brother Kalle COSTER scored two seconds and an 18th, which lifted them to a third position overall in the Men's 470 fleet. "Not much happened on the beat. Mostly it was a matter of split tacks. It was hard to read the wind, especially below the bird island," he added.

Nicolas CHARBONNIER and Olivier BAUSSET from France did a good job of finding the breeze and are leading by seven points, followed by the Italians Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI. The Brazilians Fernanda OLIVEIRA and Isabel SWAN are leading the 470 women fleet of 28 teams. They finished fourth, second and first. Sylvia VOGL and Carolina FLATSCHER (AUT) are second overall with 19 point, just ahead of Sweden's Therese TORGERSSON and Vendela SANTEN.

Although they have a name for being heavy weather specialists, Dutchmen Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHUIS scored their best results in Wednesday's lighter breeze to tie for the lead in the 22-boat Tornado. NIEUWENHUIS said, "That is how it should be, since we are focussing on China conditions. We had 5-6 knots in the first two races, after which the wind picked up to about 20 knots in the final race. It was a beautiful racing day." The Dutch multihull sailors are tied on points with the current World Champions Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS).

The Japanese crew Akira ISHIBASHI and Yukio MAKINO had a promising start in the 49er class (45 entries). They were leading until the day's third and final race, in which they finished 15th. ISHIBASHI, who dropped to a fourth position overall, explained, "We had a good starts and the boat speed is great. Both are important to benefit from."

According to ISHIBASHI, it mostly paid to go to the left side of the course. Jonas WARRER and Martin KIRKETERP from Denmark took over the lead. VAN RIJSSELBERGE won both RS:X races for men (41 windsurfers) and so did ALABAU in the women's fleet (20 entries). The Brazilian Star duo Robert SCHEIDT and Bruno PRADA (BRA) are tied on points with the Swiss team of Flavio MARAZZI and Enrico DE MARIA. Vasilij ZBOGAR (SLO) is leading the 117 Laser competitors. His fellow countryman Gasper VINCEC scored two bullets and leads the 37-strong Finn fleet.

Besides from title sponsor Delta Lloyd, the regatta 2008 is also sponsored by Volvo Cars Netherlands, Infotec, Provincie Noord-Holland, AD Sportwereld Pro, Heuvelman Sound & Vision, WeerOnline, Spa mineral water and ARMA Verhuur.

Delta Lloyd Regatta - www.deltalloydregatta.org
Diana Bogaards
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