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26 March 2008, 09:11 am
MARTINEZ And FERNANDEZ Lead At 49er Europeans
Iker MARTINEZ and Xabi FERNANDEZ
Iker MARTINEZ and Xabi FERNANDEZ raced to an early lead on a tough opening day in Palma

49er European Championship 2008
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Spain's Iker MARTINEZ and Xabi FERNANDEZ are the early leaders after a tough opening day of racing at the 49er European Championship - Madrid 2016.
The first five races of the ISAF Grade C1 event were sailed on Tuesday in waters of the bay of Palma, organized by Club Nàutic S'Arenal. The Spanish duo, Iker MARTINEZ and Xabi FERNANDEZ, who are the reigning European Champions, got their title defence off to a perfect start in this regatta sponsored by Fundación Madrid 2016.

Following Monday's cancellation due to the strong winds in the bay of Palma, on Tuesday the Race Committee of Club Nàutic S'Arenal offered a complete racing programme. Five races were sailed with NW winds of around 20 knots that lost strength as the day went by. Sailors had a break between the third and fourth race to go ashore for lunch and have a rest.

In this tough debut for the 64 boats and 128 sailors from 22 nations participating in Palma, the best crew were Spanish sailors MARTINEZ and FERNANDEZ, gold medallists in Athens 2004 and the team to represent Spain at the 2008 Beijing Games. As well as being the reigning Olympic Champions, the Basque tandem are defending the European Championship title they won last year on waters of Marsala, Sicily. From the beginning they proved they were in good shape with a brilliant victory in the first race. A second, fifth, third and another second place in the following races confirmed them as one of the best teams of the class, placed at the top of the overall results of the European Championship-Madrid 2016 after the second day of competition.

Second classified is Austrian team Nico DELLE - KARTH and Nikolaus RESCH, who are battling for the spot at the 2008 Beijing Games . They are five points behind the Spaniards, with a third, first, a 16th (to be discarded), a fifth and a fourth.

The Swedish crew Jonas LINDBERG and Kalle TORLEN are third overall, three points from the Austrians and tied with Italian brothers Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO, the current leaders of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.

It was a tough day of competition bearing in mind both the intense five-race programme as well as the weather conditions, with constant capsizes in the racing areas … half of the fleet retired or did not finish in some races! Furthermore, the extreme conditions also caused some upset amongst the pre-regatta favourites, with teams such as Australia's Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN (current World Champions) and Brits Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (2007 World Champions) dropping down on the overall results (they are 16 and 26 respectively).

Results - click here
49er European Championship - http://49er.cnarenal.com/49er
Neus Jordi
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