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27 September 2005, 09:44 am
SCHEIDT Continues Charge Towards Eighth Title
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Laser World Championship 2005
Fortaleza, Brazil

The first day of the finals series at the ISAF Grade W Laser World Championship in Fortaleza, Brazil lived up to the highest expectations as Olympic gold medallist Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) posted two more wins in the toughest two races held so far. For the first time the clear leader was up against all the top sailors in the Championship in the same race, but the result was only chaos behind him as his closet rivals struggled and the Brazilian further extended his lead.
In the first race, in 20 knot winds, Australia's Brendan CASEY from was able to tack off to the right hand side of the course while SCHEIDT was locked in the fleet after the 68 boats hit the start line as one. Playing the shifts in the middle and right CASEY and Thomas LE BRETON (FRA) rounded the first mark together just ahead of SCHEIDT with Diego ROMERO (ARG) in fourth. On the downwind they were constantly changing places as one then another caught a ride in the long swells.

Up the next windward leg they stayed together each trying to sniff the next shift before the others. Not much separated them at the next windward mark and again they set off for a repeat of the previous downwind leg that kept all the spectators attention. One seasoned observer said 'I would pay good money to watch this race'. SCHEIDT commented, 'I managed to catch the last wave to the downwind mark and round ahead of CASEY, LE BRETON and ROMERO. We all watched each other and finished in the same order.'

The wind dropped to 15 knots for the next race. SCHEIDT got out on the right hand side of the course early on and soon had an early lead. Approaching the windward mark he tacked under the lay line and was lifted into the mark while those further right overstood and he was ahead by 50 metres. From them on he was in his element and extended throughout the race to claim his biggest win of the series - 1 minute and 45 seconds ahead of 2003 World Champion, Gustavo LIMA from Portugal. He was so far ahead that when he returned to the shore with no other boats nearby some of his fans thought he had retired!

Four races remain in the Championship, with SCHEIDT now holding a massive lead after his closest rivals overnight Vasilij ZBOGAR (SLO) and Jeremie STEYART (FRA) fell to finishes of 11,6 and 5,20 respectively yesterday. However with only one discard from the final series allowed, nothing yet is secure for the Brazilian, whilst the battle for medals behind him is getting closer and closer.

Top Ten After Ten Races

Pos Nation Helm R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 Pts
1 BRA Robert SCHEIDT (17) (2) 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 9
2 ARG Diego Emilio ROMERO 5 7 2 3 (13) (BFD) 3 1 4 3 28
3 SLO Vasilij ZBOGAR 4 4 5 2 2 4 2 (9) (11) 6 29
4 FRA Jeremie STEYAERT 4 1 (14) 5 3 1 10 2 5 (20) 31
5 NZL Andrew MURDOCH (14) 1 11 1 5 2 5 3 7 (24) 35
6 CRO Mate ARAPOV 1 4 (13) 3 7 2 6 6 8 (13) 37
7 AUS Brendan CASEY (15) 13 1 6 4 (19) 1 12 2 5 44
8 GBR Mark POWELL 7 (20) 11 7 2 3 (20) 3 16 7 56
9 FRA Felix PRUVOT (36) 3 3 11 9 4 7 9 13 (28) 59
10 POR Gustavo LIMA 8 6 9 (17) 7 15 12 7 (26) 2 66
Jeff Martin (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Diego ROMERO moved up to second place overall after an impressive first day of the final series:© Bia Saboia
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