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2 April 2008, 10:41 am
LEHTINEN Leads After Opening Day In Auckland
Silja LEHTINEN
Silja LEHTINEN skippers Team Audi, leading the scoreboard after the first day

BSPORT ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship 2008
Auckland, New Zealand

Finland's Silja LEHTINEN lies in first place after eight matches on the first day of racing at the BSPORT ISAF Women's Match Racing Worlds in Auckland.
Silja LEHTINEN (FIN), aged just 22 and the youngest of the 14 competing skippers, won five of her six opening matches to top the round robin leaderboard. She is closely followed on the scoreboard by Australia?s Nicky SOUTER and Liz BAYLIS from the USA, who each have four wins after five races. With just a very narrow range of scores separating the top six skippers, the quarter-finals spots will be very closely fought tomorrow.

LEHTINEN is well known as a versatile sailor in skiff, dinghy and keelboat classes. She is ranked #8 in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, won the 29er World Championship in 2006 and is also a contender at the Beijing Olympic Games in the Yngling women?s keelboat event.

Conditions on the Waitemata Harbour this morning started out on the light side, but the prevailing southwesterly developed to a steady 15-18 knots, gusty and shifty at times.

BAYLIS says things went their way today. ?I think our crew work was good. We had good starts and our practice in the time we came down for the New Zealand Nationals and our week in Sydney was really rewarding. We worked a lot on our boat speed and handling and it was invaluable,? said the American skipper.

New Zealander Jessica SMYTH, who holds four wins and two losses to sit in the top six, described the day as challenging but a lot of fun. A highlight for her crew was finally taking out Gemma FARRELL from Great Britain at the last top mark to win that race. ?We got on the bad side of a really good shift at the start, but pulled it back and beat her to the finish,? she says.

Defending World Champion and world #1 Claire LEROY (FRA) won her opening match against fellow French skipper Christelle PHILIPPE, but then was on the receiving end of two losses against Silke HAHLBROCK (GER) and SOUTER. From their she was able to bounce back, winning her next three matches to end the day in the top half of the round robin standings.

The BSPORT ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championships are hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and sponsored by BSPORT, Giltrap City Toyota and Auckland City Council.

Racing starts at approximately 10:00 each day on the inner Waitemata Harbour, concluding on Sunday 6 April.

Results

Round Robin Leaderboard
(After flight 8)

1. Silja LEHTINEN (FIN), 5 wins-1 loss
2. Nicky SOUTER (AUS), 4-1
3. Liz BAYLIS (USA), 4-1
4. Jessica SMYTH (NZL), 4-2
5. Josie GIBSON (GBR), 4-2
6. Claire LEROY (FRA), 4-2
7. Katie SPITHILL (AUS), 3-3
8. Silke HAHLBROCK (GER), 3-3
9. Christelle PHILIPPE (FRA), 3-3
10. Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN), 2-3
11. Gemma FARRELL (GBR), 2-3
12. Sabrina GURIOLI (ITA), 2-4
13. Jan DAWSON (NZL), 0-6
14. Camilla ULRIKKEHOLM (DEN), 0-6

Full points table ? click here
Event website - click here

Find out more on the ISAF Women?s Match Racing World Championship at www.sailing.org/wmatchworlds.
Zoe Hawkins
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