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24 July 2003, 09:56 am
Brazilian Ladies Consolidate
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420 World Championship
Hayling Island

Another windy day at the 420 World Championships at Hayling Island saw Brazilian pair Isabel FLICKER and Laura ZANNI consolidate their lead in the Ladies Championship with another impressive performance.
Another windy day at the 420 World Championships at Hayling Island saw Brazilian pair Isabel FLICKER and Laura ZANNI consolidate their lead in the Ladies Championship with another impressive performance.

After taking first in both of today's races, Flicker and Zanni are 15 points clear of their closest rivals and, with only three races to come, must now be strong favourites for the title. Their remarkable record (five wins from the last six races) does not reflect the tight competition which took place today. In the first race the Brazilians were pressed throughout by Molly CARAPIET and Sarah HIMMELFARB of the USA, eventually snatching the win by only three or four boat lengths.

Charlotte SAVAGE and Maia WALSH of Great Britain were neck and neck with the Flicker and Zanni up to the final mark in the second race of the day when the British pair appeared to broach slightly and slowed fractionally, allowing the Brazilians to edge ahead on the final leg. Although today's races were hotly contested, however, the race for the title is looking increasingly predetermined, as the skill and consistency of Flicker and Zanni edges them away from their opponents.

A second place and an eighth were sufficient to lift Savage and Walsh into second overnight ahead of the leading pairs of the strong German contingent, Dorothea GEBERT and Natascha LORENZ and Silke HAHLBROCK and Marion ROMMEL. Virginia Morales PAEZ and Elena Barambio HURTAOO (ESP) also remain in medal contention; these five pairs have pulled away from the field since the start, showing consistent class.

In both the men's and ladies' fleets, two teams have shown consistent strength and depth. For the ladies, Germany and Britain each with five boats in the top fifteen, whilst the men's championship has been dominated by France, also with five of the top fifteen, closely followed by Britain, who have four. In shifting winds gusting up to 20 knots, the consistent performance of the competitors has been impressive. Even the race team had a few problems with the weather today, waves washing over the bow soaking the finishing boat and all of their results!

The Race Officer remained impressed with the excellent starting and high standard of boat handling. In the Gold fleet competitors consistently hit the ground running, timing their starts to perfection. Only two recalls were required (in the Silver and Ladies fleets) and, in the words of one of the race team, "a cracking port end flyer was only spoiled by the fact that he was counting down a second ahead of the starter", who heard him as he passed!

The few capsizes and breakages amongst the fleet failed to affect the leaders who managed to catch up the tail end of the ladies, despite a ten minute start separation. The top pairs remain unchanged overnight, with consistent Spanish team Jose Antonio Medina RUIZ and Onan Barreiros RODRIGUEZ consolidating their lead with a tenth and a fourth. George VASSILAS and Evangelos MITAKIS of Greece recovered from an early retirement in spectacular fashion by winning the final race of the day. Despite having broken their boom, they were enabled to compete in the final race by the sporting chivalry of the German coach who came to their aid with the loan of a spare spar.

Morgan LAGRANIERE and Nor DELPELCH of France rose to third, whilst their compatriots Alexandre ROSSIGNOL and David BOUDGOURD (France) dropped to fifth. The outstanding performance of the day was that of Luke PATIENCE and Adam WAGNER (GBR) who took two firsts to leap up the rankings to fourth. A ripped spinnaker at the leeward mark cost Patience and Wagner their lead in the second race, but they managed to finish tenth, finding good boat speed on the final leg.

With five races remaining and a discard still to come, everything is still to play for in the men's competition although you have to feel that the likely challengers have already shown themselves. The races were hotly contested in the Gold fleet today, however, and with reliable top ten results which characterising most of the top competitors, the medals remain open.

In the Silver fleet, the German team of Martin and Oliver LEWIN are dominating proceedings, leading their nearest rivals by 21 points following an impressive series of results.

Full results are available on the event website at the address below.
Caroline Dodds (As Amended by ISAF News Editor)
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