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8 January 2008, 09:17 am
Nail-Biting Climax In Store At 49er Worlds
Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN
Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN are in pole position going into the final day in Sorrento

49er World Championship 2008
Melbourne, Australia

With one day of racing remaining in Sorrento, Australia's Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN and World Champions Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES tie for the lead of the 49er World Championship.
Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN (AUS) and Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR) are on equal points after 16 completed races, with the Australians currently leading on countback.

Leaders going into racing today, Athens silver medallists Rodion LUKA and George LEONCHUK (UKR) are now in third place, but only one point off the lead in what has turned into a nail-biting series, with only one day of racing remaining. The winner is likely to be one of the top three.

Next best placed, 11 points behind the leaders, are brothers Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO from Italy. Athens gold medallists, Iker MARTINEZ and Xavi FERNANDEZ(ESP) dropped back to sixth place overall after a shocking day with 22,10,19,14 results. They are now 25 points off the lead in an almost unrecoverable situation.

Racing was conducted in shifty and fluky breezes which peaked at 15 knots and averaged 10 knots, "but it was all over the place and up and down," according to race officials.

"It was really, really hard today," said OUTTERIDGE. "Iker [MARTINEZ] was with us a couple of times, but he fell away - we made our way back to ninth in the first race today.

"The breeze was so shifty. In two races we got it right and in two races we got it really wrong. We came from last in race 1, to get back to ninth - that was the important race for us in terms of overall results.

"We were a whole leg behind in the third race; we just got the shifts wrong and rounded last around the top mark. But it was too close to shore and moored boats - it made it a lottery. The mark should have been further out, then it wouldn't have been a problem. Have a look at the results - it was one of those days,"
OUTTERIDGE said.

Race Officials sent the 49ers off on four races today, leaving a one race to be sailed tomorrow, then the top ten from the 25 crews in the gold fleet series will then sail off for the championship in the Medal Race, worth double points, scheduled for 15:00 tomorrow afternoon. Then the winner will be announced. The Medal Race cannot be used as a drop.

More to worry about in the silver fleet, as the two top nations which have not yet qualified for the Games, will do so following their two final races tomorrow.

Results are provisional pending protests. The Sail Melbourne ISAF Grade W event finishes tomorrow.

Sail Melbourne - www.sailmelbourne.com.au
Results - www.yachting.org.au/site/yachting/event/14245/

Di Pearson (As Amended By ISAF)
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