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20 July 2003, 07:09 am
France Takes Early Lead
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420 World Championship
Hayling Island Sailing Club

With bright sunshine and a southerly wind of about force 3-4, the first day of the International 420 World Championships at Hayling Island Sailing Club, got off to a good start.
With bright sunshine and a southerly wind of about force 3-4, the first day of the International 420 World Championships at Hayling Island Sailing Club, got off to a good start. The fleet was split into four flights with colour codings for a round robin tournament to determine the gold and silver fleets which will be racing from Monday.

The race team ensured that the first race got off to a clean start, with French pair Nicolas Thebaud and Thomas Pasquier taking an early lead to reach the windward mark narrowly ahead of Ignacio Zalvide Lopez and Antonino Zalvide Lopez of Spain and Morten Bogacki and Felix Patterson of Australia. These three pairs fought throughout for the top three placings, with the eventual finishing order showing Australia out in front, followed by Spain and France. Promising British youth pair, James Goss and Daniel Schieber, competing in their first 420 Worlds, put in an impressive performance to finish 4th.

In the second race, the French were clearly at home in the choppy conditions, Alexandre Rossignol and David Boudgourd reaching the first mark just behind their team-mates Nicolas Duron and Sebastian Durand. A fishing boat at the windward mark caused some confusion in the lower part of the fleet, but the French pairs contested the lead throughout, with Duron and Durand eventually triumphing. Australian pair, Tom England and Tom Chisholm, 3rd at the windward mark, conceded three places to finish behind strong Italian team Giovanni Pizzatti and Michele Pavoni.

With a reorganisation of groupings, the confusion appeared to translate to the start of the third race in flights, with several individual recalls required. The French proved dominant once again, despite a decreasing wind and a strong ebb tide, with three French pairs taking an early lead, but eventually losing out to young Greek team George Vassilas and Evangelos Mitakis. The other race in this flight stage saw Duron and Durand reassert their authority, leading from the front and taking a convincing win from Portugese pair Luis Niza and Paulo Baptista, who chased them throughout. The British team found some form to battle it out for the higher places, both Great Britain and Portugal finishing with three boats in the top fifteen.

In yesterday's final flight matches, Duron and Durand got too fantastic a start and were adjudged OCS, an unfortunate result for the French pair, which saw their overall ranking plummet from 1st to 33rd. Nahuel Fernando Martinez and Jonatan Ricardo Izquierdo took advantage of the French misfortune to take their first win of the championships and improve their placing to 12th overall. With the wind still lessening, Rossignol and Boudgourd of France took a good 2nd, to consolidate their place at the top of the leader board overnight. Frank Tybor and Hilary Shapiro of the USA, having given two solid performances, took 2nd place in the other fleet to lie in second place, four points behind. In the men's fleet, it seems that patience and reliability are winning the day, with consistent top ten performances marking most of the top competitors.
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