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17 January 2008, 09:51 am
Final Series Start At Sail Melbourne
Ben AINSLIE
Ben AINSLIE lost his overall lead to team mate Ed WRIGHT

Sail Melbourne 2008
Melbourne, Australia

Great Britain sailors Ed WRIGHT and Ben AINSLIE are slogging it out in the Finn class as the final series begin at Sail Melbourne.
Racing out of Black Rock Yacht Club at the Asia Pacific Regatta, the Finns started their final series today with races 7 and 8 - and just four points separate the top three sailors.

Ben AINSLIE, a four-time world titleholder, double Olympic gold medallist and the man the Brits have already chosen as their Finn sailor for Beijing, managed to edge in front of Ed WRIGHT at the end of racing yesterday, but tonight has surrendered the lead with just three races remaining in the series.

WRIGHT enjoyed honours in race 7, but could only manage seventh in race 8, with AINSLIE crossing the line in fourth and sixth place respectively. This gives WRIGHT a two-point advantage in the overall standings.

Rafa TRUJILLO (ESP), the World Champion, rounds out the top three places in what looks to have become a three-man race. TRUJILLO had a 7,2 finish today and barring any major dramas, look like he will win a medal here on Saturday.

Anthony NOSSITER (AUS) regained some pride today with his first win for the week in what has been an ordinary series for the dual Olympian.

"I surfed past the 'Big Raffa' on the final downwind leg and beat him home by a couple of metres in the second race today," the likeable Aussie said.

"The top five were pretty close all day today. Even in the race I won in heavier conditions; it was 18-20 knots. There were heaps of shifts out there, so it gives you chances to come back if you're not doing well," he added.

NOSSITER combined his first with a fifth and managed to elevate himself back into the top ten. "It was a bit lighter in the first race, around 12 knots, a bit light for me. Even though I had my softer mast in, I finished fifth," he said.

The Finns will line up again for another two races tomorrow followed by their Medal Race on Saturday, in which the top ten competitors will compete before heading into the ISAF Grade W Finn Gold Cup series next week, also at Black Rock Yacht Club.

Men's 470

Today the 470 men were spilt into gold and silver fleets for the final series in the lead up to Saturday's Medal Race for the top ten.

Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) dropped from first spot to sixth overall after a black flag disqualification in today's second race after placing second in the first race. Gideon KLIGER and Udi GAL (ISR) fell back more dramatically from second place to 27th overall after not competing to today's racing.

Sime FANTELA and Igor MARENIC (CRO) climbed to first spot overall after finishing sixth in the first race and scoring a bullet in the second.

Second place is now occupied by Athens silver medallists Nick ROGERS and Joe GLANFIELD (GBR) followed by Onan BARREIROS and Aaron SARMIENTO (ESP) in third.

Women's 470

Today's condition were heaven for the 470s out on the reaches today with waves up to two metres and wind building to 18 knots as the afternoon progressed. Americans Erin MAXWELL and Isabelle KINSOLVING continue to dominate going into the last day of racing before the Medal Race, taking out a first and a fifth.

"We were second going into the last mark but had a boat handling situation," KINSOLVING said in regards to a dropped spinnaker halyard. "It was a great day sailing and the Japanese [Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA] were super fast."

The Japanese crew accredited their top performance, a second and first place, to their good starts.

World ranked #1 crew, Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) moved from fourth the third overall after placing 11th and second.

German crew Stefanie ROTHWEILER and Vivien KUSSATZ jumped one place to fourth today after a third in race 7 and 13th in race 8.

When asked about the conditions KUSSATZ simply replied, "Wow!" only to add later, "The waves were short and high. On the reaches we were right at the back of the boat."

Laser

A black flag disqualification did nothing to enhance Andrew MURDOCH's (NZL) chances of victory in the Laser gold fleet in the Asia Pacific Regatta today. He remains in second position behind reigning World Champion Tom SLINGSBY (AUS), however he trails the leader by eight points.

SLINGSBY finished with a 1,3 result at the completion of day four and has established a commanding position with just three races remaining.

Paul GOODISON (GBR) continued his consistent form with a third and second today to remain in outright third place.

Maciej GRABOWSKI (POL) had one of the more disappointing days on the water, dropping from third place to 11th after a 29th, backed up by a 19th.

"Our first race was light - 10-12 knots in a building breeze. I had a really good first run, I went from about 12th place to third. I got lucky and got a shift up the next beat and took the lead and won.

"In the next race I was in the mid-teens, but I was very quick downwind; I've been very quick downwind this whole regatta. I made big gains surfing the waves downwind and finished third," SLINGSBY said.

"My speed is good. I'm sailing pretty good. Everything is looking fine for Terrigal [the Worlds in February]," he said.

SLINGSBY said both MURDOCH and GOODISON were looking hot right now. "Paul's doing great in the bigger breezes. He broke his hand a while back and this is his first series back, so he's looking dangerous," SLINGSBY said.

Laser Radial

Aussie Sarah BLANCK consolidated her position at the top of the points table after day four action of the Laser Radial Women's at the Asia Pacific Regatta.

Sailing out of Royal Brighton Yacht Club, BLANCK is now five points clear of nearest rival Sari MULTALA (FIN) and a commanding 20 points ahead of third placed sailor Tania ELIAS CALLES (MEX).

BLANCK heads into the final two day's of racing on the back of five wins from eight starts, unlikely to beaten for the top prize.

SKUD18

Although able bodied son and father combination Morgan and David STALEY (AUS) continue to lead the Paralympic SKUD18 skiff class at the Asia Pacific Regatta today, a second father and son, Duncan and Peter MACGREGOR (AUS) have upped the ante at the Sail Melbourne event today, their second and first places moving them closer to the leaders.

The STALEYs scored mirror results to the MACGREGORs, only in reverse, wining race 7 and finishing second in race 8. "We did 14.5 knots downwind in the second race, it was great fun," said skipper Morgan. "It was nice to get on some waves; I wish they'd been bigger though," he said.

"We had a good race," said skipper Duncan, a 17 year old with muscular dystrophy.

"The winds were a bit lighter today; more to our liking. It was really nice sailing," he said of the 10-12 knot breezes on Port Phillip earlier in the day.

"We had a great second race. There were three of us so close at the finish line, it was close race right to the line, quite exciting," said Duncan, winner of a 2.4 Metre World and a national title.

"The SKUD goes faster and I'm really enjoying it. I'm definitely going to have a go at making the Paralympic team for 2012," he said.

Amy BARNBROOK and Leigh DUNSTAN (AUS) currently hold down third place, just one point ahead of Jan JOVIN and Desiree LIM (SIN). Four races remain to be sailed, with the final day of racing Saturday. BARNBROOK, who has Phocoamelia, a condition that manifests itself by the absence of limbs (she has a short three-toed left leg only), recently contested selection for the 2008 Paralympic Games, but missed out.

2.4 Metre

Peter THOMPSON (AUS) scored his fourth win today to claim a two point lead in 2.4 Metre Paralympic class from Peter RUSSELL (AUS), who was yesterday on equal points with THOMPSON.

THOMPSON, a Paralympic sailor, felt at home in the mid-range conditions on Port Phillip earlier today, and finished fourth in race 8, the latter race. Aaron HILL (AUS) continues in third place, notching up his first bullet today in race 8. He is seven points off the lead.

Sail Melbourne - www.sailmelbourne.com.au
Results - click here

Di Pearson (As Amended By ISAF)
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