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25 May 2008, 10:28 pm
Big Breeze For Medal Race Finale At Delta Lloyd Regatta
Anna TUNNICLIFFE competing in the Medal Race
Anna TUNNICLIFFE won gold in the Laser Radial for the USA

Delta Lloyd Regatta 2008
Medemblik, The Netherlands

Big breeze made for a spectacular finish at the ISAF Grade 1 Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik.
Following the Medal Races for the Yngling and Men's 470 fleets on Saturday evening (click here to read more), today the top ten competitors in each of the remaining fleets at the Delta Lloyd Regatta met windy and wet conditions in their Medal Races. The strong breeze and choppy IJsselmeer were challenging, resulting in some spectacular battles with plenty of capsizes around the course. As the leaders tried to stay out of trouble, the opportunity was there for those competitors with an outside chance of victory to take some extra risks. Some gained and some lost. According to many Olympians, this year's Delta Lloyd Regatta has been a good training for Beijing with an interesting end.

Finn - TRUJILLO works his way up

This morning, the Finn class kicked off with their Medal Race in rough conditions, very much liked by Dutchman Pieter-Jan POSTMA. Gasper VINCEC (SLO) had to defend his one-point lead on Ed WRIGHT (GBR) and two points on Rafa TRUJILLO (ESP). POSTMA was second at the top mark and leading at the gate. Going into the last downwind, he sailed on a bronze course, but he touched the buoy and had to take a penalty. POSTMA explained, "I lost four boats and caught up on them in the run. I really had to work hard for it, but it was awesome."

He was going to beat VINCEC in the overall ranking, until WRIGHT capsized not far from the finish. TRUJILLO takes up the story, "I had a bad start and had to work my way up from behind. Edward was leading in the last beat, but he capsized on the final downwind. When I saw that happening, I slowed down."

TRUJILLO won the regatta, followed by VINCEC and WRIGHT. Afterwards VINCEC was philosophical in defeat, "Well, that's life. I did very well in the light conditions and China will be light, so this I okay."

Women's 470- Italians Decide The Battle

Italian world #1 crew Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL withstood the big winds and extended their lead on their Brazilian sparring partners Fernanda OLIVEIRA and Isabel SWAN to win in the Women's 470 fleet.

The Italians were under pressure earlier on, but as CONTI explained, recovered strongly through the race. "We had a bad start and where third last at the top mark. We gained a lot on the downwind and climbed to a fourth position and stayed there. The conditions were tough and the downwind was scary. We tried hard to control the boat. If it is windy in China, it is similar to here, so it was again a good training. We are very happy," she said.

Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED) gave the home fans something to cheer about by taking the bullet in the Medal Race and therefore the bronze medal.

Tornado - No troubles for Aussies

"We just had to finish," said Darren BUNDOCK (AUS) after the Medal Race, in which he and crew Glenn ASHBY wrapped up overall victory in the Tornado fleet by finishing sixth. Their lead was big enough to take it easy. BUNDOCK added, "We were cruising around, staying out of trouble."

The British team of Leigh MCMILLAN and Will HOWDEN did not stay out of trouble, as they capsized after a nose dive just before the finish. They scored a DNF instead of a third. The Canadians JOHANSSON and STITTLE were first over the line, followed by Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHUIS (NED). Following the mistake from the Brits, the Dutchmen climbed from a fourth to a second position Overall.

"On such a short course, it is all about getting the first tacks right. If you are not in the top two or three at the upwind mark, you are gone," explained BOOTH. The Frenchmen Xavier REVIL and Christophe ESPAGNON won bronze.

RS:X - 'Interesting finish'

"Today was a different competition," said overall winner in the Men's RS:X fleet Julien BONTEMPS (FRA). "It is interesting to finish the series like this. I had a good start with Dorian. Of course I was covering him, but my upwind speed was bad and he was in front of me."

The two Dutchmen Dorian VAN RIJSSELBERGE and Casper BOUMAN, both coached by New Zealand's Aaron MCINTOSH (NZL), like the heavy weather conditions and were flying. Going into the Medal Race, BOUMAN was in ninth position. He needed to finish top six in order to qualify for Beijing. He took the bullet, but missed the sixth position by just one point. He has one more chance in Kiel. If he fails, VAN RIJSSELBERGE will go. Despite the fact he has a full nomination of his National Olympic Committee and Sailing Federation, he lost the national selection to BOUMAN, who still needs to complete his nomination. Today, VAN RIJSSELBERGE sailed in second position as he saw BOUMAN making a small mistake at the bottom mark: "I was eager to catch him and wanted to make a smooth gibe, but I accidentally hooked into my harness and made a catapult." BONTEMPS passed him and secured his overall victory, followed by VAN RIJSSELBERGE and Tom ASHLEY from New Zealand.

Marina ALABAU (ESP) did not take any risks in the women's fleet. "I already had a big lead, so I took it easy. It was heavy going downwind in these choppy conditions. I did not have much control," explained the Spanish world #1 skipper. Despite her conservative approach the recently crowned European Champion finished third and won the regatta, followed by Barbara KENDALL (NZL) and Blanca MANCHON (ESP), who took the final bullet.

Laser - Winning tactics

Both leaders in the Laser and Laser Radial classes had their own tactics for the final battle in the Medal Race - and they both succeeded. In the Radial, Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) explained, "I sailed conservatively and kept it simple. I started slow and got better throughout the race. I rounded the top mark in ninth position and worked myself through the fleet to a fourth place. This victory is certainly good for my confidence."

Going into the race in second overall, Gintare VOLUNGEVICIUTE (SLO) had an eventful day: "I was sixth at the upwind buoy, but I touched it and had to take a penalty turn. Directly after this, I got flagged and had to take another penalty, so I was last. The Australians capsized, so we finished ninth," she explained. VOLUNGEVICIUTE still hung on to the silver medal, followed by Larissa NEVIEROV (ITA).

In the Laser fleet, Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) had a different strategy in mind. "I was math racing the Slovenian guy. My plan was to get his mind of the game, but in those conditions you cannot do too much," he explained. Despite the conditions SLINGSBY did enough, and his rival Vasilij ZBOGAR (SLO) did make a few mistakes and finished sixth in the Medal Race and second overall, followed by Tonci STIPANOVIC (CRO).

49er and Star - Risk Management

The top ten 49er teams struggled in the windy conditions. Only three out of ten skiffs managed to stay upright. The leaders Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR) did not hoist the spinnaker at all. MORRISON elaborated, "There was no need to be brave. Five boats capsized at the first top mark and two more on the run. It was about getting the job down, because we had to finish fifth."

The Brits were third over the line to take the title. The current Olympic and European Champions Iker MARTINEZ and Xavi FERNANDEZ (ESP) took the bullet. Their fellow countrymen Federico ALONSO and Arturo ALONSO won silver and the Italian brothers Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO bronze. Yesterday's Star podium did not change, so Flavio MARAZZI and Enrico DE MARIA (SUI) hung on to their first position. Iain PERCY and Andrew SIMPSON (GBR) won the double-scoring Medal Race, followed by bronze medallists Fredrik LOOF and Anders EKSTROM from Sweden and silver medallists Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ and Dominik ZYCKI from Poland.

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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