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25 January 2008, 10:02 am
SLATER Maintains Finn Gold Cup Lead
Chris COOK
Chris COOK was the star performer with a first and second place today

Finn Gold Cup 2008
Melbourne, Australia

Dan SLATER extended his series lead to ten points after another day of lighter conditions at the Finn Gold Cup in Melbourne.
Ben AINSLIE (GBR), double Olympic gold medallist and four-time Finn Gold Cup winner, placed a lowly 18th in race 4, after a starting-line infringement, but then bounced back with a convincing win in race 5 to close on series leader Dan SLATER (NZL), at the Finn Gold Cup on Port Phillip today.

SLATER also had mixed fortunes today. After a handy third in race 4 he finished 16th in race 5; being buried under a pack within the 82-boat fleet and pushed him to the less favoured left-hand side on the first windward beat.

With worst placing discarded and four races remaining SLATER, who began the series brilliantly with two wins on the first day, leads the series by ten points from AINSLIE and Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE) who are on equal points.

They are followed by Chris COOK (CAN), star of the day with a win in race 4 and a second in race 5, Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN), Pieter-Jan POSTMA (NED), Peer MOBERG (NOR), Ed WRIGHT (GBR) and Australian Anthony NOSSITER, who is in ninth place after placing 21st and ninth today.

AINSLIE in race 4, tried to follow SLATER who tacked onto port quickly after the start to cross quickly through a gap in the right-of-way starboard tackers into clear air.

But a starboard tack competitor just closed that door on AINSLIE, who had to perform a 720-degree penalty turn that left him well back in the fleet; rounding the first mark 23rd with few opportunities to recover in the 7-9 knot southeasterly breeze.

AINSLIE ashore was philosophical, "That's life. In those conditions everyone is pretty much going the same speed, nobody can afford to make mistakes like that so it was a disappointing one, but the good thing was I came back well in the second race.

"I needed it big time after the first race. All you can do after a race like the first race is try not to get too down and keep plugging away. You don't suddenly become a bad sailor from one mistake; it just happens.


"Everyone is finding it hard. Dan is sailing consistently well at the moment and so is Emilios," he said.

SLATER led around the first mark of race 4 from COOK, Zach RAILEY (USA) and WRIGHT. However the umpires penalized SLATER under Rule 42 for undue kinetics on the run. Performing the 720-degree penalty turns left him in fourth place.

That left COOK leading from RAILEY, WRIGHT and SLATER. The places remained unchanged until the run to the finish when SLATER, always fast downwind, slid past WRIGHT just before the finish.

AINSLIE won race 5, sailed in slightly stronger SSE breeze, which never exceeded 10 knots. Fifth around the first mark, behind POSTMA, NOSSITER, Mark ANDREWS (GBR) and COOK, AINSLIE showed his superb downwind technique to slide into second place on the first run.

He took a handy lead on the second beat and gained again on the run to win by more than a minute from COOK with Gasper VINCEC (SLO) third, PAPATHANOSIOU fourth and Guillaume FLORENT (FRA) sixth.

AINSLIE said, "In the second race I finally got some space on my own, finally played the right side of the bloody course."

"On the run I made quite a lot of ground. If you get a little puff a couple of knots more you are able to catch a few waves, it makes such a difference and I was able to do that and slide away."

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

Bob Ross (As Amended By ISAF)
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