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24 January 2008, 09:47 am
Italians Lead Both Fleets At 470 Worlds
Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI at Sail Melbourne
Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI lead after the opening day of racing

470 World Championships 2008

There was an Italian feel to the opening day of 470 Worlds in Melbourne, with Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI leading the men's standings and Gulia CONTI and Giovanni MICOL ahead in the women's.
Australian's Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE battled ordinary conditions on day one of the 470 Men's World Championship Sail Melbourne event at Mordialloc Sailing Club today.

WILMOT and PAGE, who already have three world title crowns to their credit, crossed the line in sixth and third place respectively and admitted it was not an ideal start but definitely something they could build on.

The world #1 ranked Aussie pair are now placed seventh overall heading into another two qualifying races tomorrow.

"It was an alright start ... we had to come from behind in the first race because we were really deep and we had to fight our way back quite a lot," WILMOT said.

"The second race, we were sort of third the whole way round the course … we lost a few boats and then we got them back, then we lost a few again and then ended up back were we belong," he added with a smile.

2003 World Champions Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI (ITA) got off to a flier in today's shifty conditions, with a first and second placing to lead the points tally with three. Just one point behind are Onan BARREIROS and Aaron SARMIENTO (ESP) and Nic ASHER and Elliot WILLIS (GBR).

Slightly built French pair Pierre LEBOUCHER and Vincent GAROS admitted the light winds, which is what is expected at the Beijing Olympic Games later this year, is more to their liking.

"We have a good feeling in the smaller wind … the more wind we have, the more difficult it is for us," LEBOUCHER said. And after finishing second and fourth, are lying in fifth position overall on six points, with plenty of racing to go.

In the women's fleet, Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) started their tilt for their first world title in the 470 Women's class in perfect style. The world #1 ranked pair took line honours in race 1 and third place in race 2 to place themselves at the head of the fleet following day one of the qualifying races.

The breeze reached about 12 knots early but died off to less than 10 knots by the completion of competition, with the Italians admitting to being quietly confident going into tomorrow's next round.

"It is just the first day so we want to be down to earth and just focus on the next race," CONTI said.

"I think we are in a good mood… we are trying to be at the peak of our performance at this regatta and I think that today we did it. We just have to focus on the next day," she added with a grin.

Elise RECHICHI and Tessa PARKINSON (AUS) sailed strongly, finishing the day with a fourth and a first leaving them trailing the Italian's by just one point.

"It's good to have a solid first day. It gets rid of the nerves," RECHICHI said.

The world #13 ranked girls from Perth, who will be representing Australia in Beijing later this year, believe consistency will be the key to their success.

"If we're solid every day the result will come in the end." PARKINSON said.

Triple World Champion Dutch crew Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT also had a good day with first and fifth places putting them in third position overall.

"It was a tricky day the first race when the wind picked up a bit. It was quite intense because we were still in a setting that was meant for light winds." BERKHOUT said.

"It is wonderful conditions here … we think it is going to be a great event," she added.

Racing continues tomorrow at 13:00.

Results - click here
470 World Championships - www.sailmelbourne.com.au/event/470worldchampionships2008
Jodi Kelly and Clare Murray (As Amended By ISAF)
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