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12 June 2008, 10:32 am
Argentina and USA Maintain Lead At 470 Europeans
Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships
Two second places for Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA move them up to second overall

470 European Championships 2008
Riva del Garda, Italy

Javier CONTE and Juan DE LA FUENTE, and Amanda CLARK and Sarah MERGENTHALER held onto their overall leads on day four at the 470 Europeans.
The tough conditions continued on Lake Garda for day four of the ISAF Grade C1 470 European Championships. Another four races are scheduled over Thursday and Friday, with the Medal Race set for Saturday.

Amanda CLARK and Sarah MERGENTHALER (USA) hold on to the overall lead for the third consecutive day, although Japan's Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA now lie just one point behind them in second place. The US pair scored 6,11 in Wednesday's two races, whilst the Japanese crew, currently at #2 on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, were the outstanding performers of the day, finishing second in both races to jump three places up the leaderboard.

On the US team's campaign website, teamgosailing.org, CLARK explained the strategy that has so far brought them success: "The steep cliffs of Lake Garda are famous for many reasons including funnelling wind down the right side of the course. We've been exercising starting on port to allow ourselves to be one of the earliest boats heading right. This seems to be a good ticket as we've rounded the windward mark in the top four boats five races out of eight. Similarly, a gybe set down wind allows you to get back into the wind running down the right side of the course (left hand side of the run looking downwind).

"The trickiest part of the day is late afternoon when the thermal generated southerly wind begins to die for the evening. There are massive and unpredictable shifts occurring all over the race area. Staying consistent during these periods is difficult but rewarding."


CLARK's theory certainly seems to be borne out in the results, with all the top teams scoring at least three double-figure scores from the eight races so far.

Behind the leading pair, Sylvia VOGL and Carolina FLATSCHER (AUT) lie third overall, just eight points off the Americans and closely followed by the Swiss team of Emmanuelle ROL and Anne-Sophie THILO.

In the men's championship, the first two races in the gold fleet brought mixed results for overnight leaders Javier CONTE and Juan DE LA FUENTE (ARG). The Argentinean team started the day with a bullet, but followed it up with a 19th in race 9. However the pair's consistent scoring enables them to exclude that result immediately and they maintain their overall lead with a nine-point gap back to Gideon KLIGER and Udi GAL (ISR), who were 2,14 for the day. The day's most consistent performers were reigning World Champions Nic ASHER and Elliot WILLIS (GBR), who scored two third-place finishes to move up to third overall, three points behind the Israelis.

Other impressive performers in the first day of gold-fleet racing were Korea's Yoon and Kim, sixth overall after 11,1 scores; Austria's Matthias SCHMID and Florian REICHSTADTER, seventh overall after 6,5 scores; and treble World Champions Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS), eight overall after 7,6 scores.

Results - click here

Fraglia Vela Riva (As Amended By ISAF)
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