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30 April 2008, 02:00 pm
ISAF World Sailing Rankings - 30 April 2008
The Laser fleet gets underway at the Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères
Hyères, France provided the latest test for the sailors aiming for Beijing glory

ISAF World Sailing Rankings

Australia hold on to their three world #1 spots and best-nation standing in the latest release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings on 30 April.
As the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao, China draws ever closer, the cream is rising to the top and during April there were few surprises as the favourites lived up to their billing at the Star Worlds in Miami and the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères. As a result there are no changes amongst the 11 leaders in this release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, although several changes in the crews occupying the #2 and #3 slots has resulting in a revised national standing.

Australia strengthen their position as best-performing nation in the Rankings, with Sarah BLANCK (AUS) moves up one place to #2 in the Laser Radial in additional to their three world #1 spots. Great Britain also continue count four top-three places (one #1, two #2, one #3), but have been knocked back into third position in the national standings by a terrific Polish performance. Spearheaded by Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ and Dominik ZYCKI's (POL) win at the Star World Championship in Miami, it's been a fantastic month for the Polish Olympic sailing team who now hold two world #1 spots along with one #2 and one #3. Together with the Star duo, it's the formidable Polish windsurfing team who boost their nation's standing.

Italy and Spain also continue to perform well, although a disappointing French performance in Hyères, returning just one podium position, has seen them fall back from third to sixth in the national standings.

Whilst the big names continue to dominate the leading Ranking positions, many nations have seen their top crews make considerable progress as their selected Olympic teams increase the intensity of their preparations. Although the top-three Ranking positions are only currently spread across 15 nations, recent performances by the likes of Norway's Yngling trio Siren SUNDBY, Lise Birgitte FREDRIKSEN and Alexandra KOEFOE, Slovenia's Gasper VINCEC in the Finn, China's Lijia XU in the Laser Radial and Star World Championship bronze medallists Robert SCHEIDT and Bruno PRADA of Brazil, indicate that the battle for medals in Qingdao is set to be spread far wider.

The next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings will be on 28 May 2008, including results from the ISAF Grade 1 Delta Lloyd Regatta (formerly Holland Regatta) in the Netherlands.

Click here to view a full list of the new events included in this Ranking release.

Chart showing nations with top-three Ranked sailors

Men's Windsurfer - RS:X

A podium finish at Hyères keeps Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL) firmly at the top in the latest Men's RS:X Rankings. The Polish skipper counts seven top-three finishes from nine ISAF Graded events since January 2007, an unmatched record in the RSX fleet. In contrast, world #2 Joao RODRIGUES (POR) suffered a blip in France, finishing outside the top ten for the third year running. Piotr MYSZKA (POL) makes the most of this slip, closing the points' gap on the Portuguese skipper and climbing up one place to #3.

Gold and silver medallists in Hyères, Ricardo SANTOS (BRA) and Julien BONTEMPS (FRA) respectively, are the big movers in the world top ten. SANTOS, the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Champion, gains four places to a career-best RS:X Ranking of #6, just behind BONTEMPS, who also climbs four places up to #5. Swiss skipper Richard STAUFFACHER also benefits from a strong performance in France, with his eighth place finish helping to propel him up four places to make his debut in the world top ten at #10.

The competition in Hyères was notable for the race-within-a-race between Dutch windsurfers Casper BOUMAN and Dorian VAN RIJSSELBERGE, both vying for Olympic selection. BOUMAN, the 2006 World Champion, won the day with a fourth-place finish and climbs up three places to #16 in this Ranking release.

Along with Hyères, the other new event counting in this Ranking release is the ISAF Grade 2 Expert Olympic Garda in Italy. Japan's Makoto TOMIZAWA scored overall victory on Lake Garda, which added to his 15th place in France lifts him up eight places in the Rankings to #32.

Women's Windsurfer - RS:X

Marina ALABAU (ESP) missed out on the racing at the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, but holds on to the world #1 spot for the 14th consecutive Ranking release. However Zofia KLEPACKA (POL) has reduced the gap on the leader to a mere six points after a dominant performance in France by the four-time Youth Worlds winner and 2007 ISAF Sailing World Champion. KLEPACKA's runaway victory boosts her five places up the Rankings in this release, to equal her best-ever performance at #2. France's Charline PICON, fourth in Hyères, remains at #3.

After KLEPACKA, the other big mover in the top ten is Australian Athens and Sydney Olympic representative Jessica CRISP. A sixth place finish at Hyères propels her nine places up the RS:X Rankings to #5, one place ahead of reigning Olympic Champion Faustine MERRET (FRA).

Following on from Jian YIN's (CHN) silver medal in Athens, there are big expectations for the Chinese women's windsurfer representative in Qingdao. No less than seven Chinese entries competed in Hyères and whilst YIN finished second amongst them in 12th place overall, it was Ling LI who put in the best performance, with a great Medal Race securing her seventh place. However, YIN still holds the edge amongst the 11 Chinese skippers on the Women's RS:X Rankings, with a two-place climb lifting her up to #22. It's a close run battle though, with Limei SUN (18th in Hyères) climbing ten places in this release up to #23, whilst LI is just behind at #24.

Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser

Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) continues his reign in the world #1 spot, as the top positions remain unchanged in the latest Laser Rankings. After winning the last two World Championship titles and amassing five other wins in ISAF Grade 1 events over the two-year Ranking period, SLINGSBY has a sufficient points' advantage at the top to offset an uncharacteristically poor finish of 33rd in Hyères. In this Olympic cycle the 23 year old from Gosford has been a leading light of the new generation, with one of the most impressive records across any of the Olympic events - no less than 19 podium finishes in ISAF Grade 1 events as well as two gold and one silver medal at World Championship level. With so much success coming his way, a poor performance in Hyères presents a new challenge and all eyes will be on the young Australian to see if he can bounce back at Medemblik.

In contrast to SLINGSBY, both world #2 and #3 skippers, respectively, Paul GOODISON (GBR) and Andrew MURDOCH(NZL), performed well in Hyères. MURDOCH was consistent through the regatta to finish in second place, whilst GOODISON had a very strong finish to pull himself up to fourth. Overall victory went to Canada's Michael LEIGH, who apart from a disappointing finish at the Worlds in February, has been showing fine form in the build up to Beijing and maintains his world #4 Ranking. Just behind him at #7 is Chile's Matias DEL SOLAR, who had an up-and-down month with a win at the ISAF Grade 2 Expert Olympic Garda followed by a 25th in Hyères.

Athens silver medallist Andreas GERITZER (AUT) demonstrated he's not a name to be forgotten with the bronze medal finish in Hyères. The Austrian skipper had dropped down to #46 in the Rankings after a series of indifferent performances, but is beginning to find some form again with the start of the European season. Third place in France helps him gain seven places in this Ranking release up to #39.

A standout performance at Hyères, and certainly one that will have many of the more experienced sailors in the fleet looking over their shoulders, came from 18 year old Cypriot Pavlos KONTIDES. Last year KONTIDES announced his arrival on the sailing scene by qualifying Cyprus for the Olympic Sailing Competition at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, Portugal then travelling to Kingston, Canada a few weeks later and winning the Laser title at the 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. In Hyères he strung together a fantastic series to finish 12th overall and jump 21 places up the Rankings to #75.

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial

Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) stays top in the Laser Radial Rankings, after the American skipper made an excellent start to her European season with a silver medal finish in Hyères. Just behind her, Hyères winner Sarah BLANCK (AUS) climbs one place to a career-best Ranking of #2, whilst Jo ALEH (NZL) completes the world top three.

Nathalie BRUGGER (SUI) is the big mover in the top 20, with the 22 year old Swiss skipper posting a best-ever ISAF Grade 1 finish of fourth in France. Not only does this boost her eight places up the Rankings to a career-high of #14, but also looks set to guarantee her selection to the Swiss Olympic team for Beijing.

April also marked a return to form for 2007 ISAF Sailing World Champion Tatiana DROZDOVSKAYA of Belarus. After finishing outside the top 50 at the 2008 Worlds in New Zealand, DROZDOVSKAYA was back in more familiar territory with finishes of seventh at the ISAF Grade 2 Expert Olympic Garda followed by a 14th place in Hyères. The Belarusian climbs six places in the Ranking release to #25.

Overall victory in Garda went to 2006 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion Tina MIHELIC, who climbs up three Ranking places to #24. Another Youth Worlds star making an impact on the senior circuit is Finland's 17 year old Tuula TENKANEN. An 11th place finish lifts her up 16 places to a career-best Ranking of #40.

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470

Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) manage to hold onto to the top spot in the Men's 470 Rankings for the eighth consecutive release, although their lead has been cut to the narrowest of margins. The Australian duo finished well down the fleet in Hyères, missing the gold fleet cut after a nightmare opening day. France's Benjamin BONNAUD and Romain BONNAUD seize the opportunity to make up some ground on the Ranking leaders, with a top-five finish in France lifting them three places up the Rankings to #2. Team mates and France's 2008 Olympic representatives Nicolas CHARBONNIER and Olivier BAUSSET complete the world top three.

The big movers in the top ten are Hyères winners Nick ROGERS and Joe GLANFIELD (GBR), who climb five places up the Rankings to #5 following their second ISAF Grade 1 event victory this year. Hyères silver medallists Sven COSTER and Kalle COSTER (NED) had a good month, also winning the ISAF Grade 2 470 Spring Cup in France, and remain at #8.

Perhaps most impressive in France were Kiwi youngsters Carl EVANS and Peter BURLING, both just 17 years old. After winning back-to-back 420 World titles, the pairing joined the 470 fleet in March last year and have rapidly shot up the Rankings to become the top-placed Kiwi team. In Hyères they scored their first ever podium finish at an ISAF Grade 1 event, which, combined with a silver medal finish at the Spring Cup, propels them up the Rankings to #14. Not only does this represent a 200+ place climb over their equivalent Ranking last year, it's the best performance from a Kiwi crew on the Men's 470 Rankings since Simon COOKE and Peter NICKOLAS hit the #11 spot in February 2001.

Another young crew making waves are Israel's Eyal LEVINE and Yam AMIR, who climb four places in this Ranking release up to #32 after a sixth place finish in Hyères, by far their best performance in an ISAF Grade 1 event. Another notable performance this month came from the Japanese crew of Tetsuya MATSUNAGA and Taro UENO. After winning their national selection battle for Beijing, they made a strong start to their European season with a victory at the ISAF Grade 2 Expert Olympic Garda and a 12th place finish at Hyères.

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470

Guilia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) are unmoved at the top of the Women's 470 Rankings, with the Italians making it seven consecutive releases in the world #1 spot. CONTI and MICOL continued to be the most consistent performers on the Women's 470 circuit, this month securing victory on their home waters at the ISAF Grade 2 Expert Olympic Garda before winning a bronze medal in Hyères.

It's also been a great month for world #2 crew Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA (JPN). Like CONTI and MICOL, the Japanese crew are a relatively new pairing but have rapidly risen to the top of the fleet. They finished second behind the Italians in Garda but got their revenge with victory in Hyères, their first at an ISAF Grade 1 event.

Behind the leading pair the British crew of Christina BASSADONE and Saskia CLARK (GBR) make a big move, climbing eight places up to #3. Americans Amanda CLARK and Sarah MERGENTHALER also make a big jump up, from #12 to #6, just behind Athens bronze medallists Therese TORGERSSON and Vendela SANTEN (SWE), who climb three places to #5.
With a very competitive 37-boat fleet in Hyères only one nation managed to place two crews in the Medal Race - China. Xiaoli WANG and Xufeng HUANG (CHN) and Yineng HUANG and Yinjuan SHEN (CHN) both finished in the top ten and move up to #21 and #25 respectively in the Rankings. Yimei WEN and Chunyan YU (CHN) were just behind there team mates in 13th place in Hyères and remain as China's top-ranked crew at #17.

Skiff - 49er

There's no shifting Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA) from the top spot in the 49er Rankings, but behind them the rest of the fleet is closing in. A great Medal Race helped the Italian brothers secure at top five finish in Hyères, but it was the reigning Olympic Champions Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ (ESP) who stole the show. The Spanish duo appear to be hitting their top form as the clock ticks down to Beijing and added to their European title win in March with overall victory in France, lifting them up into the world #2 spot.

Germany's Jan-Peter PECKOLT and Hannes PECKOLT complete the top three, just ahead of Tim WADLOW and Christopher RAST (USA). The American duo impressed throughout the week in Hyères, only missing out on the gold medal after a fifth place in the Medal Race. Since winning the US Olympic Trials last year, they have gradually climbed the Rankings and gain three places in this release up to a three-year high of #4.

With the Olympic Games now rapidly approaching and preparations intensifying, several new nations have emerged as potential challengers in Beijing. The Brazilian duo of Andre FONSECA and Rodrigo DUARTE (BRA) finished sixth in Athens four years ago, but have made infrequent appearances on the 49er circuit since then. That all changed at the start of this year when the secured Olympic qualification with an 11th place finish at the Worlds in Australia. Since then the team has been steadily progressing and a sixth place finish in Hyères is not just their best result in this Olympic cycle, but their second best ever in an ISAF Grade 1 event. Their Ranking improves two places in this release up to #20.

Another team to look out for are the Japanese duo of Akira ISHIBASHI and Yukio MAKINO. Victory ahead of the SIBELLO brothers at the ISAF Grade 2 Expert Olympic Garda helps them move up to their best-ever Ranking of #38.

Heavyweight Dinghy - Finn

Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN) makes it 18 consecutive releases at the top of the Finn Rankings, capitalizing on the absence of World Champion Ben AINSLIE (GBR) from Hyères to win his first ISAF Grade 1 event since February 2007. Ed WRIGHT (GBR) finished second in France and also maintains his world #2 Ranking, but there's a new #3 with Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC (CRO) moving up two places on the back of an impressive 12 months for the young Croatian. The 2007 ISAF Sailing World Champion Rafa (ESP) also climbs up two places to #4.

Just outside the top five, Gasper VINCEC (SLO) moves up one place to #7 after an impressive month which included a victory at the ISAF Grade 2 Expert Olympic Garda in Italy and a bronze medal finish in Hyères.

Leading the charge against the European dominance at the top is 2008 Finn Gold Cup silver medallist Dan SLATER (NZL) at #5, whilst Australia's Anthony NOSSITER, Canada's Christopher COOK and Zach RAILEY of the USA, at #8, #10 and #13 respectively, all gain places in this Ranking release.

Another notable performer is Russia's Eduard SKORNYAKOV, who moved from the Laser to the Finn class last year and sprung a big surprise by winning a very light-wind 2007 European Championship in Hungary. This January SKORNYAKOV qualified Russia for an Olympic slot in the Finn and in his first European regatta of the season in Hyères he finished a creditable 14th, consequently climbing nine places up the Rankings to #20.

Multihull - Tornado

Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) extend their incredible run of form, winning their sixth consecutive ISAF Graded event in Hyères to remain rooted firmly in the world #1 spot. The Australian team have been literally unbeatable this year, sweeping all before them in regattas down under and again hitting the top of the podium at their first European regatta of the season.

2007 World Champions Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP) remain best of the rest at #2, just ahead of Hyères bronze medallists Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHUIS (NED).

The Italian team of Francesco MARCOLINI and Edoardo BIANCHI (ITA) obviously enjoy racing in Hyères. They equalled their second-place finish of last year, easily their best performance in an ISAF Grade 1 event, to take another step closer to breaking into the world top ten for the first time at #12. That's a world top ten which now features the new International Tornado Association President Carolijn BROUWER and crew Seb GODEFROID (BEL). BROUWER and GODEFROID were both Olympians in singlehanded classes (the Europe and Finn dinghies respectively) before teaming up in the Tornado at the start of this Olympic cycle. An eighth place finish in Hyères boosts them five places to a Rankings-best of #9.

Women's Keelboat - Yngling

World and European Champions Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON (GBR) maintain their grip on the Yngling world #1 spot following their fourth consecutive podium finish (a third) at the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères. Sally BARKOW, Debbie CAPOZZI and Carrie HOWE (USA) stay at #2, although they got the better of their British rivals for the first time in a long while with a silver-medal finish in France. Ekaterina SKUDINA, Diana KRUTSKIKH and Natalia IVANOVA (RUS) won the Russian battle in Hyères with a fourth place finish overall sufficient to maintain their world #3 status.

However, the headlines in Hyères were centred on the Norwegian team of Siren SUNDBY, Lise Birgitte FREDRIKSEN and Alexandra KOEFOED, who sailed superbly all week to win their first ISAF Graded event. SUNDBY was the star of the previous Olympic women's one person event in the Europe dinghy, winning two World Championships before taking Olympic gold in Athens four years ago. A 470 campaign for Beijing never really got going and for some time it looked as if SUNDBY would forgo the 2008 Games in favour of concentrating on her studies. However, last year the helm position in the Norwegian Yngling became vacant and SUNDBY took up the challenge. Since then the team's results have been solid rather than spectacular, but a top ten finish at the Worlds in Miami ensured their Olympic qualification earlier this year, and now their victory in Hyères has really announced their arrival as medal contenders for Beijing. The Norwegians climb three places in this release to enter the world top ten for the first time at #10.

Another rapidly improving line up is the Finnish team of Silja LEHTINEN, Maria KLEMETZ and Livia VARESMAA. They secured the bronze medal at the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in New Zealand before returning to the Yngling with an impressive fifth place in Hyères. The Finnish team improve two places in this Ranking release to equal their best-performance at #14.

Men's Keelboat - Star

Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ and Dominik ZYCKI (POL) do the double, simultaneously holding the world #1 spot and the Star World Championship title. The Polish duo complete their sixth consecutive Ranking release at the top of the pile and there is no doubting their current standing after they became the latest crew to win one of the coveted Gold Stars, with a fantastic performance at the recent Star Worlds in Miami.

World Championship silver medallists Diego NEGRI and Luigi VIALE (ITA) also hold on to their world #2 Ranking, whilst the German team of Marc PICKEL and Ingo BORKOWSKI climb up four places to #3. Flavio MARAZZI and Enrico DE MARIA (SUI) move up one places to #8 after narrowly missing out on the podium in Miami but comfortably qualifying their country for an Olympic spot, whilst US Olympic representatives John DANE and Austin SPERRY gain four places to #12.

Along with Switzerland, the remaining Olympic qualification spots in Miami went to Croatia, Ireland and Austria. Although the Croatian pairing of Marin LOVROVIC JR and Siniša MIKULICIC are unmoved at #12, Max TREACY and Anthony SHANKS (IRL) climb up ten places to #24, their best Ranking for well over two years, whilst Austria's Hans SPITZAUER and Christian NEHAMMER gain two places up to #16.

Click on the links below to view the latest Rankings or go to the ISAF World Sailing Rankings homepage - www.sailing.org/rankings.

470 - Men's Two Person Dinghy - www.sailing.org/470mRankings
470 - Women's Two Person Dinghy - www.sailing.org/470wRankings
49er - Skiff - www.sailing.org/49erRankings
Finn - Heavyweight Dinghy - www.sailing.org/FinnRankings
Laser - Men's One Person Dinghy - www.sailing.org/LaserRankings
Laser Radial - Women?s One Person Dinghy - www.sailing.org/RadialRankings
RS:X - Men's Windsurfer - www.sailing.org/RSXmRankings
RS:X - Women's Windsurfer - www.sailing.org/RSXwRankings
Star - Men's Keelboat - www.sailing.org/StarRankings
Tornado - Multihull - www.sailing.org/TornadoRankings
Yngling - Women?s Keelboat - www.sailing.org/YnglingRankings

The next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings will be on 28 May 2008, including results from the ISAF Grade 1 Delta Lloyd Regatta (formerly Holland Regatta) in the Netherlands.

New Events Included

Results from the following events have been newly included in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings since their last release on 9 April 2008.

Class Event (Grade)
Tornado Semaine Olympique Française (1)
Star Star World Championship (W); Expert Olympic Garda - Eurolymp (2)
Laser Expert Olympic Garda - Eurolymp (2); Laser Gulf Coast Championship (3); United 4 (ll) (3); Semaine Olympique Française (1)
Finn Expert Olympic Garda - Eurolymp (2); Semaine Olympique Française (1
Laser Radial Expert Olympic Garda - Eurolymp (2); United 4 ll (3); Semaine Olympique Française (1)
49er Expert Olympic Garda - Eurolymp (2); Semaine Olympique Française (1)
470 men & women International Spring Cup M-470 (2); Expert Olympic Garda - Eurolymp (2); Semaine Olympique Française (1)
M-RSX & W-RSX Expert Olympic Garda - Eurolymp M-RS:X (2); Semaine Olympique Française (1)
Yngling Semaine Olympique Française (1)

Graded events which have not been included are listed below.

Event Classes not included: Reason:
International Spring Cup W-470 (2) Not enough entrants
Expert Olympic Garda - Eurolymp Tornado (2) Not enough entrants
Expert Olympic Garda - Eurolymp W-RS:X (2); W-Yngling (2) No Racing
Torneo de Onto Laser (3) Not enough entrants
Torneo de Onto W-Laser (3) Not eligible to enter
Torneo de Onto W-470 (3); M-470 (3) No Racing
International Spring Regatta Sofia W-Laser (3) Not eligible to enter
International Spring Regatta Sofia M-470 (3); W-470 (3) Not enough entrants
Laser Gulf Coast Championship W-Laser (3) Not enough entrants
United 4 (ll) M-470 (3); W-470 (3) Not enough entrants
Semaine Olympique Française Star (1) No Racing

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