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15 August 2008, 04:31 pm
Sweden Win Opening Star Race
Fredrik Loof (rear) and Anders Ekstrom of Sweden
Fredrik Loof (rear) and Anders Ekstrom of Sweden won the first race of the Star Opening Series

2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Qingdao, China

Sweden's Fredrick LOOF and Anders EKSTROM won the first race of the Men's Keelboat - Star event, seizing the early initiative as some of the other big names struggled.
Following a long delay at the start, the forecast wind eventually began to fill in later in the afternoon. Fredrik LOOF and Anders EKSTROM (SWE) limped around the weather mark in 8 knots of breeze just ahead of world ranked #1 crew Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ and Dominik ZYCKI (POL).

Afonso DOMINGOS and Bernardo SANTOS (POR), KUSZNIEREWICZ and ZYCKI's training partners, followed the Poles. Great Britain's Iain PERCY and Andrew SIMPSON and Germany's Marc PICKEL and Ingo BORKOWSKI were not far behind.

While LOOF and EKSTROM held their lead, the next six boats traded positions on the run. DOMINGOS and SANTOS gained a narrow lead at the top of the next leg. LOOF and EKSTROM and PICKEL and BORKOWSKI sailed down the middle of the run as everyone's mainsails flapped in the lumpy seas.

The Swedish team scored an opening win, with LOOF explaining the key to their success today: "It was not about boat speed. It was about selecting a route. If you go the wrong way, it doesn't matter how fast you go," he said.

Behind the leading group a lot of the pre-regatta favourites posted high scores after getting caught on the wrong side of a big wind shift up the first beat. Australia, Austria, Brazil and Italy all lodged protests against the Race Committee under rule 62.1 (a) but all were denied (you can see full details in our Protests & Communications section here).

Overall Results - click here

ISAF (source: Olympic News Service)
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