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24 January 2008, 09:17 am
AINSLIE Masters Tricky Conditions At Finn Gold Cup
The fleet heading to land
The fleet heading to land on day two in Melbourne

Finn Gold Cup 2008
Melbourne, Australia

Ben AINSLIE won race 3 in light and shifty conditions at the Finn Gold Cup, but it's Dan SLATER who still holds a commanding overall lead.
The second day of racing at the ISAF Grade W Finn Gold Cup in Melbourne proved to be challenging with light and shifty wind.

Multiple World and Olympic Champion, Ben AINSLIE (GBR) made his way through the fleet to cross the line a few metres behind Florian RAUDASCHL (AUT). The young Austrian, who had nurtured a good lead around the course, could not match AINSLIE's speed on the downwind leg. To further his disappointment, RAUDASCHL found himself disqualified for starting early giving the race victory to AINSLIE.

Michael MAIER (CZE) enjoyed the lighter conditions to finish in second place and improve his overall results after a very disappointing start in the regatta.

Australian Anthony NOSSITER improved from a poor start to take third place. "I was on the second row but I decided to sail conservatively on the beat. I played the shifts in the middle of the race and passed a few on the run."

Dan SLATER (NZL) capitalized on his earlier outstanding results (two bullets on the opening day) with a fourth place, which gives him a comfortable lead on the overall standings, 12 points ahead of AINSLIE. He is the only sailor with one digit results so far.

AINSLIE had predicted the tough weather conditions: "We will all have to count with bad races in this regatta. Despite being strong, the wind is often shifty and quite hard to read." Today he compared the sailing conditions with Qingdao. "We raced with light wind and the remaining big waves created by the earlier breeze."

With most sailors training in strong wind to prepare for this event, the sailing conditions on the start of the Finn Gold Cup are taking most by surprise.

"Not the weather I was expecting in Melbourne," declared world #1 Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN), disappointed with a 15th place. Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE) and Pieter-Jan POSTMA (NED) lost about ten places after sailing on the wrong side of the shift on the last beat. However, the Greek only lost one place to third overall, while HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN and POSTMA conserves their earlier fourth and fifth position.

Defending World Champion Rafa TRUJILLO (ESP) already looks to be out of the running, with another score in the teens leaving him languishing 22nd overall, 71 points off the lead.

It could have been a great day for Junior Piotr KULA (POL). The young Pole finished the race in 11th place but was found among the six sailors disqualified at the start. Giles SCOTT (GBR) dropped five places in the overall standings down to 16th position after collecting 31 points today. However, he is still the clear leader of the Junior division. Ian COOK (USA) was the first Junior across the line with a 29th. He is placed in fourth place in the Junior classification, five points behind Frederico MELO (POR) and four behind Henry BAGNALL (GBR).

Yesterday's surprise performer, Giorgio POGGI (ITA) tumbled down the leaderboard from second to 11th after finishing 45th in today's race. However he is still well placed to qualify Italy for one of the six national Olympic spots. In this battle, it was also a good day for the sailors from Cyprus, Germany, Ukraine and Russia. India's Nitin MONGIA could only post a 55 score in today's race, but he currently holds the sixth and final qualification slot, after RAUDASCHL's OCS score sent him tumbling down the leaderboard.

Two races are scheduled on Thursday.

Results - click here
Finn Gold Cup - www.sailmelbourne.com.au/event/finngoldcup2008

Corinne McKenzie (As Amended By ISAF)
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