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15 August 2008, 05:52 pm
ECHAVARRI and PAZ Win Opening Tornado Race
Fernando Echavarri (R) and Anton Paz (L) of Spain
Fernando Echavarri (R) and Anton Paz (L) of Spain won the first race of the Tornado Opening Series

2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Qingdao, China

Two-time World Champions Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ of Spain won the first race in the Multihull - Tornado event at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.
Race 1 of the Tornado Opening Series got under way almost three hours late on Friday, starting in moderate air and finishing in light air on Course A.

To use or not to use the Chupacabra [a sail designed specifically for light winds] was the question for some. The special sail got John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE (USA) out of a hole off the starting line but, in the 9-10 knot breeze toward the top of the first beat, it started to flutter.

What had been a significant lead evaporated and they limped around the windward mark in fourth place. Six boats with larger gennakers rolled over them on the run and they rounded the gate in ninth.

From there, they slid to 14th place, nearly eight minutes behind the winners, Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ BLANCO (ESP), the 2005 and 2007 World Champions.

ECHAVARRI and PAZ trailed behind Iordanis PASCHALIDIS and Konstantinos TRIGONIS (GRE) for much of the race, only pulling into the lead at the top of the final beat.

Said ECHAVARRI after today's race: "Today the wind was very difficult and, if these conditions continue, we will suffer a lot."

Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHUIS (NED), who opted against the Chupacabra, were third throughout most of the race a position they maintained at the finish. Reigning World Champions and world #1 crew Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) recovered from a poor start to post a solid fifth place finish.

The surprise of the day was watching Sydney and Athens Olympic gold medallists, Roman HAGARA and Hans Peter STEINACHER (AUT) sail around the course at the back of the fleet throughout the race and finish 12th out of the 15 competing boats.

Overall Results - click here

ISAF (source: Olympic News Service)
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