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2 May 2003, 12:34 pm
Bermuda|s Top Two Competing for Etchells Title
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Light Conditions for the Etchells Fleet

Bacardi International Race Week
Royal Bermuda Yacht Club

Taking time off from competing on the hectic European racing circuit to return home to attend her sister's wedding, it didn't take much to persuade Bermuda's Olympic sailor Paula Lewin to take part in Bacardi International Race Week.
Not hesitating for one moment, the current Female Athlete of the Year quickly suited up in her sailing gear to team up with American skipper Tim Lynch in the Etchells fleet. Since then, Lewin and Lynch have proven to be a formidable combination as they currently lie in second position behind Peter Bromby and ideally poised to make a strong run for the KF Trimingham trophy when racing action resumes today.

"It's always fun to be able to compete in an event where you are more involved as a tactician which is my role," said Lewin, having fast adapted into her new role.

"I am not helming but I am kind of calling the shots on the boat which is a little bit different. It's certainly good practice."

Lewin has been away competing overseas in Spain among some of the world's elite sailors where she placed fifth and eighth respectively in two recent top regattas. The Bermudian had strong showings in both the Barcelona Olympic Week and Princess Sofia international regattas.

"It was great because all of the top Europeans were there and also some of the best from Australia and the US," she added.

Having already qualified for next year's Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in the Yngling class, the sailor is gaining valuable experience on the European sailing circuit. Lewin will next see action in June's Gold Cup series in Sweden.
"It is kind of similar to the Gold Cup here where there is prize money and a huge spectator interests," added Lewin.

"It's one of the five Gold Cup events held around the world and it's a big event.

"So we are going to do that and then in terms of the Yngling, we are just going to continue with the circuit events in Europe."

Lewin will also compete in regattas both in Holland and in Germany in a few weeks time.

"Based from our two previous events in Spain, the biggest difference right now is that our team isn't quite sailing full-time.

"Everyone still has a job and most of the other sailors are sailing full-time. So we aren't quite as polished as we would like to be at the moment,"
she said.

"So it was evident that when we plan our final preparations for the Olympics we will have to make sure that we have had enough sailing and that we are at our peak."

Lewin described sailing with Lynch this week as a very "interesting" experience. "He sails in a very different type of weather pattern where there are a lot of swells from the ocean.

"It's just so much different from the conditions in Bermuda," said Lewin. "It's just interesting because throughout the races he is always asking 'what's going on?'

"We feed off each other and it goes both ways as there's always a lot happening. But it's also more fun that way."
Colin Thompson
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