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18 March 2008, 09:31 am
XU Now Leads Laser Radial Worlds
Lijia XU
Lijia XU has taken the overall lead in Takapuna

Laser Radial World Championship 2008
Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand

China's Lijia XU has hit the lead after another day of light winds in Takapuna at the Laser Radial Worlds.
Lijia XU (CHN), the 2006 World Champion, is three points ahead of Monday's leader Sarah STEYAERT (FRA), who now lies second. Evi VAN ACKER (BEL) is just one point back in third overall.

It was a mixed day for most on the water today with some serious shuffling on the leaderboard as the day unfolded. Five races have now been completed with two days of the regatta remaining.

Light winds continued to frustrate race management and made for an eventful day on the water for the women's Laser Radial fleet at the 2008 World Championships in Takapuna, North Shore City, New Zealand. The intention to start early today was thwarted by lack of breeze due to the large high sitting over New Zealand's upper North Island.

Race 4 did get underway at around 11:00 with the yellow fleet up first, sailing in a south westerly wind of 6-8 knots, followed by the blue fleet. The breeze eased and shifted and sailors had an on water delay of around an hour before race five got started, again the yellow fleet went first, sailing in 5-7 knots of wind which had shifted through to the south east.

Blue fleet were well into race five, with world #1 Jo ALEH (NZL) out to a 4 minute lead, just around the final mark and heading for the finish line when the race was abandoned with the dying breeze stalling the sailors towards the back of the fleet. Both fleets were back ashore by 16:00 and while yellow fleet packed up for the day, blue were put on standby in the hope that race five could be re-raced and added to the leader board for all.

A light wind filled in an hour later from the north east and the blue fleet headed back out onto the course, finally getting a start away just before 18:00. ALEH came out firing after the earlier disappointment and put a second on the scoreboard finishing behind Susana ROMERO STEENSMA of Spain.

XU was also on hot form, winning race 4 and then placing third in race 5. The 20 year old Chinese skipper takes the overall lead now that she is able to discard her disqualification from race 2. Two wins and two thirds give her eight points in total as the regatta heads into the finals.

STEYAERT drops back to second overall with a second and then a 36th in racing today while VAN ACKER is still looking strong just one point behind. VAN ACKER was second and 14th in today's races.

Paige RAILEY (USA) and ALEH share fourth place overall both on 20 points. RAILEY was consistent today with a seventh and an eighth while ALEH's day was mixed with a 43rd followed by a second.

ROMERO STEENSMA was the stand-out performer of the day languishing back in 60th overall at the start of the day the Spaniard clearly mastered the tricky light winds coming home with two bullets today. She improved her standing by 39 places to now lie 21st overall.

Racing continues tomorrow with the fleet now splitting into gold and silver for finals with a start scheduled for 10:00.

Olympic Qualification

With just six Olympic berths still available and 23 nations here in Auckland who have not yet qualified, the battle for national Olympic qualification is on.

Currently Russia, Paraguay, Greece, Spain, Croatia and Ireland are the top six of the nations not yet Olympic qualified with Czechoslovakia remaining in touch.

Results - click here
Laser Radial World Championship - www.takapunaworlds.org
Jodie Bakewell-White
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