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14 July 2008, 06:38 pm
Leaders Extend In Tricky Conditions On Day Three In Århus
Valentin BELLET and Romain BELLET
French brothers Valentin and Romain BELLET hit the front in the SL16 fleet

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2008
Århus, Denmark

France moved to the top in the multihull fleet whilst the other leaders remain unchanged as the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship hit the halfway stage.
As of today all competitors at the event have sailed at least six races allowing them to discard their worst score to date. The discard and the shifty winds on the course meant that some sailors shone whilst others fell and rose in the standings.

In the SL16 multihull class the South Africans, Matthew WHITEHEAD and Micheal OVENSTONE were overtaken by the French brothers, Valentin BELLET and Romain BELLET when they discarded their DNF position on day one (started but did not finish the race). The French team were very happy with their rise to the top being as it is Bastille Day, in France.

The Danish team of Simon MICHAELSEN and Jacob DANNEFER were also pleased with their performance despite being pushed into third place. Michealsen explained how they now will concentrate all their effort on the South Africans, French and Brits. "The top four boats are extending their lead from the rest of the fleet so we are going to focus on them after the lay day. We had great downwind speed today, but the French guys are so quick they just got us in the end on the second race."

Laura LINARES (ITA) in the Girl's RS:X class posted a fifth today in her second race which was unusual for her but this was soon discarded meaning she remained in top spot. Polish windsurfer Maja DZIARNOWSKA managed to keep her second place overall due to her bullet in the second race. "I am so happy with my performance because I was in front of Laura and some other really great girls. I think I was fast but I think I was lucky as it was so gusty and shifty today out there."

Brazilian Patricia FREITAS, who will be going to the 2008 Olympics Games, was frustrated with her performance when she returned, despite being third overall at the halfway mark of the event. "It should have been a better day. I was leading on the second race at every mark but then Maja passed me on the very last downwind leg!"

Israel's Ron ASULIN was the star of the day in the Boy's RS:X, revelling in the flatter seas and westerly breeze coming off the beach, conditions he compared to those back home in Eilat. After winning the silver medal in Kingston last year, Asulin admitted he came to Århus with his sights set firmly on the title, but found himself a little off the pace in early races. After fourth and first place in today's two races he climbs up to fourth overall and back in touch with the leaders although Cypriot Michalis MALEKKIDES is still looking formidable at the front of the fleet. MALEKKIDES posted scores of 2 and 5 today to take a seven-point advantage over second place Thiseas KAMPAS (GRE) into the lay day. German windsurfer Oliver-Tom SCHLIEMANN makes up the top four in third place overall.

Three races in the 29er fleet saw the boy's fleet get as tight as it can get at the top with the British, American and Australian teams on equal points with 27 points. American's Judge RYAN and Hans HENKEN told of the difficult conditions out on their race course. "We had a shaky start, but managed to get it back together for the next two," said HENKEN. "The water was flatter today but the shifts were hard to predict. If you got them right you were top ten but if you were wrong then you would be at the back in no time."

Again it was the Brits Frances PETERS and Claire LASKO who led the girl's 29er fleet with 2, 4, 2 scores. The Dutch team of Annemiek BEKKERING and Jeske KISTERS jump up to second overall, taking advantage of a capsize by PETERS and LASKO to win race seven, although fortunes were reserved in race eight with the Brits coming in second as the Dutch girls went for a swim. The consistent Sara ENGSTRöM and Hanna DAHLBORG (SWE) remain third overall.

It turned out to be a perfect day for Gabrielle KING (AUS), with the defending champion in the Laser Radial scoring two bullets to increase her overall lead to six points. New Zealand's Cushla HUME-MERRY had her best day yet with 3, 4 scores lifting her up into second overall, just ahead of Denmark's Cathrine HALL.

Pavlos KONTIDES (CYP) carries on his domination of the fleet in the Laser repeating King's performance in the girl's fleet with two first places. American Luke LAWRENCE in second and Danish sailor Thorbjoern SCHIERUP in third will have a hard time to catch him now with only five points overall.

The competitors have a well deserved rest day tomorrow with a tour of the Old Town of Århus planned for them. Racing continues on Wednesday 16 July, with two races for all classes other than the 29er boys and girls fleets who have three races scheduled.

For Live online tracking of the races from Sportcasting click here

Click here to get the latest video podcast from the Volvo Youth Sailing World Championship

Results - click on the links below for the latest results

Boy's One Person Dinghy - Laser
Girl's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Boy's Two Person Dinghy - 29er
Girl's Two Person Dinghy - 29er
Boy's Windsurfer - RS:X
Girl's Windsurfer - RS:X
Multihull - SL16

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship microsite - www.sailing.org/youthworlds
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