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15 March 2003, 12:48 pm
Final Day Cliffhanger
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2003 OlympicSail

The final day of Olympicsail 2003 is set to be a cliffhanger with many of the top spots still up for grabs.
Whilst a number of classes have been all but decided - the 49er class has been dominated by Dan Slater and Nathan Handley, Tornado by Aaron McIntosh and Mark Kennedy and the Europe by Sarah Macky, the attention is now being focused on the remaining classes where the podium positions are still largely undecided.

In the Finn class veteran Craig Monk was clearly feeling the pace and 2000 Olympic representative Clifton Webb has now established a clear lead. Other than Webb the other competitors in this fleet are within 3 points of each other and the battle is on for second place.

The real competition now is in the 470 class where Stephen and Philip Keen top the leaderboard with only one race to go, taking first place away from current World Champions Simon Cooke and Peter Nicholas as a result of a protest late last night. However Cooke and Nicholas can drop this result if another race is sailed tomorrow which should see them back in the lead . Andrew Brown and Jamie Hunt are hovering in third place but not close enough now to take the lead.

In the Lasers Robbie McMillan is sailing a very consistent series and is still holding out veterans, Rod Dawson and Rohan Lord. Andrew Murdoch is splitting them in third place but is struggling from an earlier Jury decision which could change the top places if it is reversed. Michael Bullot is recovering from a slow start and is lying in fifth place .

Jon-Paul Tobin is leading the men's Mistral fleet by two points. The boards only sailed two races today and should be able to handle the fresh conditions forecast for tomorrow. This will give two more races and will provide a chance for second placed Dutch sailor Joeri van Dijk to overtake Tobin. Close behind these two is 20 year old, Bucklands Beach boardsailor James Wells who could also easily come into the reckoning. Barbara Kendall leads the women's division and has been giving the men a run for their money, with a second overall in one of the two races sailed.

The Olympic classes have been joined by the youth classes for the weekend and these are being led at the half way stage by Chris Dawson (2,2,1,1) in the P class, Matt Coutts (1,4,1,1) in the Starlings, and Brett Elstob (1,3,1,1) in the Splash class.

Also joining the regatta was the new 420 fleet which is the double handed youth boat. Leaders are Garth Ellingham and Scott Illingworth, with Olivia Powrie and Sarah Bilkey in 2nd, and Scott Kennedy and Alastair Thompson sitting in 3rd place. However a protest has been lodged against the girls which could alter the standings, the outcome of which will not be known until later tonight.

The Race Officers, John Parrish and Ian Clouston decided to run extra races today to leave only one race for most classes tomorrow, when the effects of Cyclone Erica are expected to hit the East coast. It remains to be seen if the regatta can be completed as scheduled or if today's results become the final ones.
Louise Andrews
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