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5 January 2008, 08:59 am
Aussies Set Tone At 49er Worlds
Andrea FONSECA and Rodrigo DUARTE in action
Andrea FONSECA and Rodrigo DUARTE have made a good start to qualifying Brazil for the Beijing Games

49er World Championship 2008
Melbourne, Australia

Australia's Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN have taken the lead of the 49er World Championship in Sorrento, after scoring two bullets and a seventh place on day two.
With a race drop in place, Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN (AUS) are three points ahead of yesterday's leaders, brothers Peter HANSEN and Soren HANSEN from Denmark, who are relegated to second place overall. Their downfall was a 14th in race 5, which they used as their race drop.

"We got two firsts and a seventh - we cleared out at the starts and just kept going fast - we led pretty much whole way from top mark in the first two races," OUTTERIDGE said.

"In our third race [race 6], someone tacked on top of us and we couldn't get away, but we were happy to make seventh. It could have been worse," the 22 year old said.

"Our major threats are the HANSEN brothers and the defending world champions Stevie and Ben [Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES from Great Britain]. I wouldn't rule out the Olympic gold medallists from Athens either [Spain's Iker MARTINEZ and Xavi FERNANDEZ]," he added.

Racing, hosted by the Sorrento Couta Sailing Boat Club, started on time in an 8-11 knot northerly, but lightened out to a top strength of around 8 knots, averaging around 5-6 knots, turning north northeasterly and shifty.

MORRISON and RHODES' group was last off the blocks. Keeping good their promise to protect their World Champion status, the pair scored 8,5,1 results to hang in at third place, using the eighth place as their drop. They are five points behind the leaders.

The Italian Sibello brothers, Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO, and Rodion LUKA and George LEONCHUK (UKR) respectively worked their way into fourth and fifth places after each won his group's race 6 this afternoon. Both pairs came into their own in the fluky light winds.

Brazil's hopes of qualifying for the Beijing Games to be sailed off Qingdao next year, moved closer to reality when Andre FONSECA and Rodrigo DUARTE scored 1,8,4 places for 12th place overall.

That was not the case for Irish brothers Russell MCGOVERN and Matthew MCGOVERN. "It's not going according to plan," said a disappointed Russell. The two finished their day with 10,12,8 results and are 30th overall.

"Racing is really good, tight -and nice wind, but things aren't going so great for us. It's tough, I hope we get more wind tomorrow, we're better in that," added Matthew.

Sorrento's Will PHILLIPS and Jon NEWMAN (AUS) had a fairly good day with 3,4,11 results to be placed 17th overall, well ahead of some Olympians and high profile sailors.

PHILLIPS commented this afternoon: "It's great that the breeze stayed in today for our races. It would be good to have some stronger stuff though - we like that better. It was so shifty today, we couldn't really use our local knowledge, but this is a great regatta."

A tricky day for Race Officials with a couple of general recalls and incidents. In one group's pre-start there was a pile-up at the start boat causing a few collisions. Seven competitors were black flagged, four OCS'd and others not finishing racing. It proved costly for those trying for Olympic qualification.

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