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11 August 2008, 01:54 pm
Brits Hold Onto Yngling Lead But Dutch Close The Gap
Mandy Mulder, Annemieke Bes and Merel Witteveen of Netherlands
Mandy Mulder, Annemieke Bes and Merel Witteveen won race 5 today

2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Qingdao, China

It was a great day three of racing for the Dutch Yngling, who closed the gap on the British leaders to just three points.
The British World Champion trio of Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON finished Monday on top of the Yngling fleet, with Mandy MULDER, Annemieke BES and Merel WITTEVEEN (NED) just behind them. Going into their reserve day tomorrow, this pair is beginning to pull out an advantage over the rest of the fleet.

The Brits once again got off to a conservative start in their first race of the day, picking their way through the fleet from tenth at the first mark to finish in third. Their closest rivals in this regatta are proving to be the Dutch trio, who led the first race of the day from start to finish, with the two teams equal poised on equal points when the discard came in after race five.

But AYTON, WEBB and WILSON nudged ahead with a second in the final race of the day to pull three points ahead of the Dutch heading in to their lay day on Tuesday.

A smiling AYTON said of the day: "It was a really tricky day but we started off, four fleet races down, six to go, knowing that we had to put in a solid performance and it definitely was that, so we're feeling pretty cool now."

"We are enjoying it,"
she continued. "We're an awesome team and we get on really well, and when we hit the water we've got a job to do and we get on and do that."

"We're not thinking about the end result - we've just got to take each day as it comes," AYTON explained, asked whether she's already thinking her second Olympic gold is in within reach. "We've got four races left in the fleet race, and then the Medal Race so we've got a long way to go. We're sailing really well, we're sailing strong as a team and all of us can't ask for anything more than that."

The largest horizon job of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competiton so far was done by MULDER, BES and WITTEVEEN in the first race of the day. The Dutch and Norwegian teams were close as they approached the first windward mark, but the Dutch squad was the first to make the starboard tack layline and bear away for the leeward gate. Germany squeezed in and rounded the mark ahead of Norway. While the Dutch pulled further into the lead, behind them the deck got reshuffled on each leg.

Sofia BEKATOROU, Sofia PAPADOPOULOU and Virginia KRAVARIOTI (GRE) and AYTON, WEBB and WILSON made big gains, moving from seventh to second and from 10th to fourth, respectively.

The women seemed more aggressive during the second race. Finland and Greece were OCS (on course side) at the start and there were some very close weather mark roundings that resulted in some circles being spun.

Ekaterina SKUDINA, Diana KRUTSKIKH and Natalia IVANOVA (RUS) and AYTON, WILSON and WEBB approached the finish line overlapped, but the Russians were closest to the committee boat at the favoured end and won their first race.

Just four points cover the teams occupying third to 11th overall, with the Australian team of Krystal WEIR, Karyn GOJNICH and Angela FARRELL lying in the bronze medal position.

Overall Results - click here

ISAF (source: Olympic News Service)
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