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6 February 2008, 04:45 pm
ISAF World Sailing Rankings - 6 February 2008
Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY at Sail Melbourne
The Aussies are on top in the latest release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings

ISAF World Sailing Rankings

The Aussies rule in this year's first release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, which features four changes in the world #1 positions.
With just six months to go until the start of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, it's been an action-packed start to the sailing year. The 49er, 470, Finn and RSX classes have already held their World Championships, with the Lasers and Ynglings set to begin later this week, followed by the Tornados then the Laser Radials in March and finally the Stars in April. With much of the action taking place down under, it's perhaps no surprise to see the Australians hold on to all three of their World Ranking top spots (in the Laser, Men's 470 and Tornado) and move ahead of Spain as the leading nation in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. After the disappointment of a medal-less showing in Athens four years ago, the Australian line up for 2008 appears to be perfect poised for a return to form in Qingdao.

It's also a great Ranking release for the Italians, with the SIBELLO brothers moving top in the 49er Rankings to give them their second world #1 crew. Other new leaders are New Zealand's Jo ALEH in the Laser Radial, Joao RODRIGUES of Portugal in the Men's RS:X, and Mandy MULDER (NED) and her rotating Dutch crew in the Yngling.

Along with the Aussies, Italy, Spain, Great Britain and France all hold three top-three World Ranking spots. In total 19 nations have at least one crew in a top-three Ranking position, a spread very similar to the final medal tally from Athens, which included 20 nations. It's definitely the Europeans who are dominating, with 23 of the 33 top-three spots, although the improved performance of the Oceania nations has helped redress the balance slightly from Athens, where European nations won 25 of the available medals.

The next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings will next be on 5 March 2008, including results from the Laser World Championship, Tornado World Championship and Yngling World Championship.

Chart showing nations with top-three Ranked sailors

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

Men's Windsurfer - RS:X

Joao RODRIGUES (POR) is the new world #1 in the Men's RS:X Rankings. The 36 year old Portuguese star hits the top spot in the RS:X Rankings for the time in his career thanks to a silver medal performance at the recent RS:X Worlds in New Zealand. Former #1 Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL) drops back to #2, Ivan PASTOR LAFUENTE (ESP) stays at #3, whilst newly crowned World Champion Tom ASHLEY (NZL) gains five places up to #4.

RODRIGUES is one of the most experienced campaigners in the Men's RS:X fleet with three previous Olympic campaigns behind him (the best a sixth place in Athens) and a former world #1 ranking in the Mistral (the previous Olympic windsurfing equipment) back in the late 1990s. Over the last year he has produced an unrivalled level of consistency at the top events with his only disappointing results coming in Hyeres and Palma; otherwise he was never once up of the top five in ISAF Graded events across five continents.

ASHLEY has come closest to rivalling the Portuguese and bar for an uncharacteristic 15th place at the windy 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, counts a perfect record for the past 12 months. Where RODRIGUES is consistent, he cannot boast a victory in an ISAF Graded event since January 2004. In contrast, ASHLEY has six in the last 12 months!

The other big story at the Worlds was the performance of Israeli young gun Shahar ZUBARI. The 21 year old finished with the bronze medal and is now almost certain of representing Israel in Qingdao, leaving Athens gold medallist Gal FRIDMAN (ISR) out in the cold. ZUBARI's performance helps him gain five places up the Rankings to a career high of #5.

One former gold medallist who does looks set to be in Beijing is Nikolas KAKLAMANAKIS of Greece. He finished 14th at the Worlds and moves up ten places to his best RS:X Ranking of #15.

Women's Windsurfer - RS:X

Marina ALABAU (ESP) completes an unbroken year at the top of the Women's RS:X Rankings after winning the bronze medal at the World Championships in New Zealand. However behind the Spaniard, it's all change with a big reshuffle of the remaining world top ten.

Reigning Olympic Champion Faustine MERRET (FRA) and her team mate Charline PICON (FRA) both gain five places up to #2 and #3 respectively after top ten finishes in New Zealand. Behind the French it's the turn of the triple Olympic medallists, with newly crowned World Champion Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) going from #14 to #4, and Barbara KENDALL (NZL) from #12 to #5, after winning her fourth World Championship silver medal in six years. 2007 World Champion Zofia KLEPACKA (POL) had, by her standards, a disappointing Worlds (12th overall) and consequently falls fourth places down to #6.

The top of the Rankings reflects the youth versus experience battle currently underway in the women's RS:X fleet. ALABAU, PICON and KLEPACKA are all in their early twenties and aiming at their first Olympic appearance, whilst MERRET, SENSINI and KENDALL have a combined aged of 107 and share seven a total of seven Olympic medals (with a gold apiece). In New Zealand it was experience that won the day and it's a commodity which traditionally has great value in the Olympic arena, but the young guns at the front of the RS:X fleet have already proven they have the talent to take them to the top.

One of biggest battles in the run up to Beijing will be for the Chinese slot in the Women's RS:X. Jian YIN (CHN) came within a whisker of winning gold in Athens, eventually taking the silver medal. She was only fifth best amongst the Chinese competitors in New Zealand (Peina CHEN, in seventh overall, was the best-placed Chinese competitor), but holds the best World Ranking at #20.

Men's One Person Dinghy ' Laser

Reigning World Champion Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) stays at #1 in the Laser Rankings, with the top five unchanged heading into the battle for the 2008 World title. SLINGSBY won the ISAF Grade 1 Laser Australian title and picked up a bronze medal at the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Melbourne to maintain his World Ranking lead. It's been an incredible 12 months for the young Australian, who started 2007 with the daunting prospect of challenging the then reigning World Champion and three-time Olympian Michael BLACKBURN (AUS) for Australia's Olympic berth in the Laser. A year later SLINGSBY faces a different challenge, as he lines up for the 2008 Laser Worlds on his home waters with the pressure of being red-hot favourite to defend his title.

At #2 in the Rankings, Paul GOODISON (GBR) has cut the points' difference to the leader after an impressive win at Melbourne. The British skipper has a point to prove at the Worlds, as despite not been out of the world top three for over five years, his only World Championship medal remains a bronze from 2002. World #3, Chile's Matias DEL SOLAR, will also be looking to improve upon his World Championship best of seventh (achieved last year in Cascais).

Outside of the world top ten, the USA's Olympic representative Andrew CAMPBELL (USA) gains three places to a career-best Ranking of #19. Just behind him, Bruno FONTES (BRA), who has the unenviable position of taking up the Brazilian Laser mantle from eight-time World Champion Robert SCHEIDT (BRA), also hits a best-ever Ranking of #21 following a second place finish (behind Diego ROMERO, formerly of Argentina but now sailing for Italy) at the ISAF Grade C1 Laser Central and South American Championships.

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial

New Zealand's Jo ALEH hits the top of the Laser Radial Rankings for the first time after a string of medal-winning performances down under. Tania ELIAS CALLES's (MEX) reign at the top was short-lived as she drops from #1 to #2. Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) also falls back one place to #3 after losing out to Paige RAILEY (USA) at the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR.

ALEH has been a major part of a resurgent Kiwi sailing team looking to improve on a medal-less performance in Athens, the first Olympic Games at which New Zealand had not won a sailing medal since 1980. At just 21 years old, she lacks the experience of many of her rivals, but has already matured into one of the most consistent performers in the Laser Radial fleet. With this year's Laser Radial Worlds on her home waters in Auckland, she'll be looking to add her first World Championship medal to her rapidly growing list of achievements.

Behind the top three there is also plenty of movement, spearheaded by Sarah BLANCK (AUS), who moves up two places to #6 after a trio of victories in Australian ISAF Grade 1 events. French skippers Sarah STEYAERT and Sophie DE TURCKHEIM are both high climbers, jumping from #18 to #8 and #20 to #9 respectively.

Just outside of the world top ten, 20 year old Chinese starlet XU moves up ten places to her best-ever Ranking of #14.

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470

Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) may have failed to defend their World Championship title on their home waters, but the Australian pair remains top of the Men's 470 Rankings. However, French pair Nicolas CHARBONNIER and Olivier BAUSSET are now right behind the Aussie leaders, jumping up four places to #2. Gideon KLIGER and Udi GAL (ISR) hold on to the world #3 spot after winning their third consecutive World Championship bronze medal.

Pierre LEBOUCHER and Vincent GAROS (FRA) are the highest of two new entries into the top ten. They move up eight places to a career-best Ranking of #4 following a fifth place finish at the Worlds. Croatia's Sime FANTELA and Igor MARENIC are the other new entry, moving up from #13 to #6.

Newly crowned World Champions Nic ASHER and Elliot WILLIS (GBR), who repeated their World title win of 2006, climb four places up the Rankings to #13. World Championship silver medallists and reigning European Champions Alvaro MARINHO and Miguel NUNES are just ahead of the British pair at #12.

The big movers at the top are Kiwi young guns Carl EVANS and Peter BURLING (NZL), who climb a massive 30 places to become the top-ranked Kiwi pair at #17. The two 17 year olds narrowly missed the Medal Race at the Worlds, but easily qualified New Zealand for an Olympic 470 spot. A top-ten finish at Sail Melbourne was another demonstration of the talent of this rapidly improving team.

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470

There's no stopping Guilia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) who maintain their lead of the Women's 470 Rankings for the fourth consecutive release. The Italian duo had a storming Medal Race at the 470 Worlds in Melbourne to sweep into the silver medal position and ensure they held on to their world #1 Ranking.

Behind the Italians, Japan moves up to take both remaining spots in the world top three. Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA (JPN) gain two places up to #2, whilst Yuka YOSHISAKO and Noriko OKUMA move up six to #3. Also on the up are the Aussie duo of Elise RECHICHI and Tessa PARKINSON, who climb from #13 to #6 after a bronze medal performance at the Worlds. It's not such a happy story for treble World Champions Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED), who fall back six places to #3 after missing out on the medals in Australia. Their successors as World Champions, Erin MAXWELL and Isabelle KINSOLVING (USA), climb up three places to #13, right behind US team mates Amanda CLARK and Sarah MERGENTHALER.

Maria Fernanda SESTO and Consuelo MONSEGUR (ARG) were also amongst the top performers in Melbourne. Their ninth place finish at the Worlds helps them move 14 places up the Rankings to #32, their best Ranking for well over a year.

Skiff - 49er

Italian brothers Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO are the new leaders in the latest release of the 49er Rankings. The SIBELLO brothers just missed out on the medals at the 49er Worlds in Australia, but their consistency over the past two seasons sees them reclaim the top spot they last held in December 2006. At #2 is another team of brothers, Jan-Peter PECKOLT and Hannes PECKOLT (GER). 2007 World Champions Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES climb one place up to #3 after narrowly failing to defend their title in 2008, ending with World Championship silver instead.

Newly crowned World Champions, Aussie hot shots, Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN, improve their points total but stay at #5 in the Ranking, just behind reigning Olympic Champions Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ (ESP).

Further down the Rankings the Brazilian team of Andre FONSECA and Rodrigo DUARTE get their reward for a fantastic World Championship performance. With the pressure on to qualify their nation for Beijing, the Brazilians excelled ending the regatta in 11th overall and consequently moving up ten places to #29, their best Ranking performance for over two years.

Heavyweight Dinghy - Finn

Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN) makes it 15 consecutive releases at the top of the Finn Rankings, holding on to the world #1 spot after winning the bronze medal at the Finn Gold Cup at Sail Melbourne.

Behind the Dane, Ed WRIGHT (GBR) moves up one place to #2, but it's his British team mate and 2008 Finn World Champion Ben AINSLIE (GBR) who has the biggest impact in this Ranking release. AINSLIE's double triumph down under, with a win at the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Melbourne followed by his fifth Gold Cup victory, pushes him 32 places up the World Rankings to #43. With the double Olympic Champion still only counting six of a possible seven events in his Ranking points total, he can expect to continue his rapid rise when the European season gets underway in a couple of months time.

Back at the top of the Rankings, Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE) climbs up two places to #3, just ahead of World Championship silver medallist Dan SLATER (NZL). Australia's Anthony NOSSITER is the only new entry into the world top ten, with a three-place gain up to #9, whilst Rafal SZUKIEL (POL) and Giles SCOTT (GBR) are both new into the top 20, with career-best Rankings of #13 and #18 respectively.

Further back, India's Nachhatar Singh JOHAL, Turkey's Kemal MUSLUBAS and Hungary's Tibor PALLAY all move up to close in on a place in the world top 50.

Multihull - Tornado

Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) remain untouchable at the summit of the Tornado Rankings, with the Aussie pairing completing a year in the world #1 spot.

BUNDOCK and ASHBY completed two dominant victories on their home waters at the ISAF Grade C1 Tornado Asia Pacifics and the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Melbourne, underlining their status as the world #1 pairing going into the Tornado Worlds in New Zealand later this month. Reigning World Champions Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP) stay at #2 after two typically consistent third-place finishes.

Whilst the leading pair are unchanged, behind them there's plenty of changes in the rest of the top ten. The Greek team of Iordanis PASCHALIDES and Konstantinos TRIGONIS climb eight places to their best-ever Ranking of #3 following a pair of top ten results down under, whilst behind them Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHUIS (NED) and Leigh MCMILLAN and Will HOWDEN (GBR) complete a new-look world top five.

Further back, the young and rapidly improving German team of Tino MITTELMEIER and Niko MITTELMEIER enter the world top ten for the first time, improving four places up to #8. Carolijn BROUWER and Seb GODEFROID (BEL) also record a Ranking-best performance with a climb of nine places up to #14.

Of the nations not yet qualified for the Beijing Olympic Games, both Canada and Puerto Rico impressed at the Asia Pacifics and Sail Melbourne. The 2000 and 2004 Olympic Champions from Austria will also be hot favourites to qualify their nation after surprisingly missing out at the 2007 Worlds.

Women's Keelboat - Yngling

Dutch skipper Mandy MULDER has hit the top in the Yngling Rankings after a regatta-winning performance at the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR. The unique Dutch strategy of rotating their Yngling crew around in different combinations means MULDER has competed with six different crew during the two-year Ranking period, but it was with Marije FABER and Merel WITTEVEEN she triumphed in Miami. Her win lifts her four places up the Rankings to hit the world #1 spot for the first time.

Behind the Dutch, Russia's Ekaterina SKUDINA, Diana KRUTSKIKH and Natalia IVANOVA move up to #2 after their silver medal finish in Miami, whilst Ulrike SCHUEMANN, Julia BLECK and Ute HOEPFNER (GER) stay at #3. Reigning World Champions Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON (GBR) lose their world #1 spot and fall back three places to #4, one place ahead of 2006 World Champs Monica AZON, Sandra AZON and Graciela PISONERO (ESP).

There is just one new entry in the world top ten and it's another of the Dutch skippers, Renee GROENEVELD, who gains five places up to #10 following a third-place finish in Miami.

The Yngling Worlds, also being held in Miami, gets underway in just a few days time with the final four national places for the Beijing Olympic Games up for grabs. At the Rolex Miami OCR nations not qualified who performed well included France, helmed by Anne LE HELLEY, Norway, skippered by Athens gold medallist in the Europe Siren SUNDBY, and Greece, with another Athens Olympic Champion, Sofia BEKATOROU, at the helm,

Men's Keelboat ' Star

Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ and Dominik ZYCKI (POL) retain their world #1 status for the third consecutive release of the Star Rankings. The usually consistent Polish pair were not at the top of their game at the recent ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR, but hang on to the lead in the World Rankings thanks to a string of top finishes throughout 2007. Behind the leaders Fredrik LOOF and Anders EKSTROM (SWE) and Diego NEGRI and Luigi VIALE (ITA) trade places and are now at #2 and #3 respectively.

With the Star Worlds in Miami this April, there was a big turn out at the OCR with virtually all of the top names taking the opportunity to test themselves on the waters which will decide the 2008 World Champions. Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU ended the week top of the pile, recording their third consecutive ISAF Graded event victory to maintain their world #4 Ranking. The French duo have fantastic record at World Championships, winning medals at five of the last six (including World Championship wins in 2003 and 2005), and appear to be coming into their top form at just the right moment.

Also impressing in Miami were Eivind MELLEBY and Petter Morland PEDERSEN, who finished with their best-ever ISAF Grade 1 result of second overall and consequently move up to a career-high #7 in this Ranking release. The Swiss European Champion team of Flavio MARAZZI and Enrico DE MARIA also continued their recent impressive form, taking the bronze medal in Miami to improve their World Ranking by six places up to #10.

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 next be on 5 March 2008, including results from the Laser World Championship, Tornado World Championship and Yngling World Championship.

New Events Included

Results from the following events have been newly included in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings since their last release on 19 December 2007.

Class Event (Grade)
Tornado Tornado Asia Pacific Championships (C1); Sail Melbourne (1)
Star Star Christmas Race (3); Star South American Championship (C2); Levin Memorial Regatta (3); Rolex Miami OCR (1)
Laser Christmas Race (3); Laser Australian Championship (1); Europa Cup & Youth Grand Prix New Year Regatta (3); Laser Central & South American Championships (C1); Australian Youth Championships (3); New Year International Regatta (3); Caribbean Laser Midwinter Regatta (3); Laser Brazilian Championship (2); New Zealand Laser, Laser Radial National Championship (2); Rolex Miami OCR (1)
Finn Sail Melbourne (1); Finn Gold Cup (W)
Laser Radial Christmas Race (3); Laser Australian Championship (1); Europa Cup & Youth Grand Prix New Year Regatta (3); Laser Central & South American Championships (C2); Youth Championships (3); Sail Melbourne (1); New Zealand Laser, Laser Radial National Championship (2); Rolex Miami OCR (1)
49er 49er World Championship (W)
470 men & women Christmas Race (3); Sail Melbourne (1); 470 World Championship (W)
M-RSX & W-RSX New Year Regatta M-RSX (3); RSX World Championship (W)
Yngling Rolex Miami OCR (1)

Graded events which have not been included are listed below.

Event Classes not included: Reason:
Christmas Race Finn (3); Tornado (3); Star (3); 49er (3); M-RSX (3); W-RSX (3) No Racing
Christmas Race Yngling (3) Not enough entrants
New Year Regatta W-RSX (3) Not enough entrants
Christmas Regatta M-470 (3); W-470 (3) Not enough entrants
New Year International Regatta Laser Radial (3); M-470 (3); W-470 (3) No Racing
New Year International Regatta M-RSX (3) Not enough entrants
Caribbean Laser Midwinter Regatta Laser (3) No Racing
Sail Melbourne Star (1); Yngling (3); M-R:SX (1); W-RSX (1); 49er (C1) No Racing
Laser Brazilian Championship Laser Radial (2) Not eligible to enter
Rolex Miami OCR M-RS:X (1); W-RS:X (1); Finn (1); 49er (1); M-470 (1); W-470 (1); Tornado (1) No Racing

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