On Day nine of the Championship, clear leaders and guaranteed medal winners emerged as every class but the Europes, who concluded yesterday, took to the water in a busy day for athletes and officials alike.
High-performance Dinghy Open - 49er
Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS grabbed the lead on Day 2 of the 49er World Championships, after another hot windy day on the Bay of Cadiz.
The British pair lead Norway's Christoffer SUNDBY, and Bovim FRODE by a point after six races of the qualification series, with the newly crowned European Champions from Germany, Marcus BAUR and Max GROY, a further two points behind.
Interestingly, all three top teams train together and share information, and they have spent a lot of time getting to grips with the windy, wavy conditions that typify this venue.
The breeze wasn't quite so strong today, or perhaps it was just that the sailors are getting more used to the conditions, although there was a nasty collision of rigs between a British and American team towards the back of the Yellow Group racing, resulting in the American rig crashing down when the two boats failed to extricate themselves in time.
Tomorrow completes the qualifying series of the Championships, with two races to be held before the 88-boat fleet gets broken into Gold, Silver and Bronze divisions.
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Single-handed Dinghy Open - Laser
Gustavo LIMA from Portugal held on to his overall lead alter scoring a third and second place in his fleet in the two races sailed today. An offshore wind varying between 14 and 20 knots and shifting through 20 degrees provided ideal conditions for close racing.
All the mark roundings were tight with the majority of each fleet passing within 30 seconds. The 4 fleets raced a double windward leeward course and considering the high standard it was a credit to the sailors and the race committee that there was only one general recall in 8 starts.
There were places won and lost all round the course even amongst the leaders. Lima was one of the few sailors to move upwards throughout each race. He said 'I was fourth round the first mark in the first race and managed to pass Andrew LEWIS from USA on the last downwind. In the second race I rounded the first mark fourth and once again passed one boat to get third.'
In the same fleet Luis MARTINEZ from Spain equalled Lima's score although he had to work harder. Rounding the first mark in first place he led the fleet to the right on the second upwind only to lose several places when the wind shifted to the left. He said 'I picked up some places on the next downwind and had a good last upwind to get back to first. In the second race I started near the back which I think was good for me as I picked up places all through the race to finish fourth.'
Defending champion, Robert SCHEIDT from Brazil, also had a good day with the same results as Martinez and coincidently the same as he scored yesterday. Scheidt said 'I'm satisfied. My races were almost the same as yesterday. In the first race I missed some shifts especially on the second windward but I managed to get a fourth. In the second race I got to the first mark third and then lost a place downwind. On the second upwind I got back to first and then spent the rest of the race protecting my lead.
Best results of the day went to the European Champion, Vasilij ZBOGAR from Slovenia, who scored 4 points with a third and a first which moves him up from sixth to third overall. Although pleased with this he will have wished he had held the lead he had he had in the first race, which could have put him in second overall.
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Windsurfer - Mistral
Back on the Mistral racecourse today, following a well-earned lay-day yesterday, the Levante winds were blowing once again with 20/25 knots. There is potentially a weather change in store though, with a small area of cloud moving over the Bay of Cadiz this afternoon.
Following qualification, and now split into seeded groups, the men's gold and women's fleet were sent offshore on time to get the races started on time.
The men were the first to start and it was Alexander BARONJAN (GER) who rounded the top mark in first position speeding away ahead of the fleet on the reach. But it was Przemek MIARCZYNSKI (POL) who dominated the racing day with two bullets.
He remains the lead now with an amazing record of 7 firsts out of 8 races and is leading now by 22 points to Joao RODRIGUEZ (POR) in second overall and 27 points European Champion Julien BONTEMPS (FRA) in third.
Meanwhile on the women's course heavy wind specialists Lee KORSITZ (ISR), Allison SHREEVE (AUS) and Barbara KENDALL (NZL) dominated the fleet in both races. Lee KORSITZ is leading now by 8 points to Allison and 14 points to Barbara KENDALL.
Allison commented on coming ashore, that she is very happy to be in second place after a bad first day of the championship. "I think at the beginning I was a bit nervous as this is the second part of our Olympic trial, and my main competitor is also doing quite well."
The last and final part of the Australian Olympic Trial is the Sail Melbourne Regatta, held over the Southern Hemisphere winter.
Lee's background is in Formula and as a relative newcomer on the Olympic circuit, is doing fantastically well; she has also had spells on the Aloha, when she was a junior, and in the Olympic double-handed dinghy, the 470.
Two races are scheduled in both the men's and women's fleet tomorrow, before the final race on Sunday, and whilst Pont may almost be close to assuring his championship win, anything could happen and it's all still to play for.
Keelboat Men - Star
The Star class today enjoyed their first day of finals, following the fleet being split into Gold and Silver at the end of yesterday's racing. Two races were sailed and it was tough at the top.
Iain PERCY and Steve MITCHELL (GBR) were as consistent as they could be, albeit a little less successful than their two firsts yesterday, with two second places firmly embedding them at the top of the Star World, with three races left to go in the championship.
They lead from the almost as consistent French duo of Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU. Winning the last race has seen them close the gap by a point to the defending world champions. They won the second race by overtaking the defending World Champions on the last run, as the breeze began to drop.
Fredrik LOOF and Anders ELKSTROM, are another pair that had not dropped a bad result in the Championship, and won the first race of the day today to keep up the pressure on the top two. But, whilst lying fifth in the second race disaster struck, and with a problem with the rig the pair could not finish the race. Nevertheless, they still remain only four points behind Rohart in second.
Barring Freddie, all the top few had two good races today in a breeze that held up until the very last run of the final race of the day. This keeps the results close, and it is likely to be come down to the final throes of the regatta as to who walks away with the World Championship title.
Sixteen points separate the top four, and any one of them could still win this championship. Two races are scheduled for tomorrow before the final race on Sunday.
Keelboat Women - Yngling
In the same conditions that sailors have enjoyed for the whole week here in Cadiz, the Ynglings set out for their penultimate day of racing in bright sunshine and a steady easterly breeze.
It's almost as close as it could possible get at the top of the fleet, with the top two now only split by a single point going into the last race tomorrow. Ulrike SCHUEMANN (GER) has retaken the lead from overnight leader Hannah SWETT (USA)
Racing has been getting closer and closer all week as the girls get to grip with the shifty, pressure variable conditions here in Cadiz. Tomorrow, we will see the final race of the championship for the Yngling, and with A World Championship title, as well as Olympic Qualification up for grabs, this last one will be intense.
Single-handed Dinghy Men - Finn
The Finns reached their halfway stage today with two more races sailed in excellent conditions. A shifty 12 to 16 knots kept the sailors on their toes on the upwind legs and provided some nice waves to give them a bit of fun offwind.
After his fine win yesterday, Andrew SIMPSON (GBR) did it again in this morning's race, narrowly beating Sebastien GODEFROID (BEL), the leader after day one.
Simpson, the only sailor to have now won more than one race so far in these championship, then went on to score a third in the second race to move him up to third overall. David BURROWS (IRL) who crossed the finish line with a considerable lead over the chasing pack won that race.
Again, sharing the course with the Ynglings, the Finns sailed an outer trapezoid course with two outer loops.
So overnight, going into tomorrow's rest day, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) is still leading despite scoring an eighth and a 23rd in today's races. Neither him, nor second placed Ben AINSLIE have yet to win a race, but their consistent top ten finishes are placing them in good stead. Andrew Simpson's good day moved him up to third, while Rafael Trujillo slipped from second to fourth. Surprisingly a third and first from Burrows caused him to slip to fifth overall from third.
Simpson commented on his day's work, 'It was tough out there, very hard to break through and you never really knew what was going to happen.'
'However I had good speed round the course and good starts, and also a bit of luck, which helps,'
he added, with a grin.
Racing resumes on Sunday with two races, two more on Monday and the final race on Tuesday.
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Multihull Open - Tornado
The Tornados started racing late today. Racing was scheduled for
3:00pm but on race area Charlie the wind was very shifty and with less than 6kt.
The solution was to move the fleet to the course closer to the 49ers, closer to shore, which by 5:15pm was free. The conditions were much better - steady 14kt.
So race 3 started at 5:29pm with two teams leading the whole way: British Leigh MCMILLAN and Mark BULKELEY followed by Australians Darren BUNDOCK and John FORBES.
It was a tight fight, with a very exciting finish, where the British crossed the line first. Second came the Australians followed by Americans John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE.
The time was short for a second race so once the sun set at 8:28pm and the Race Committee decided to send the boats in safely before getting dark.
2002 World Champions and Olympic Silver Medallists Bundock and Forbes are leading the Worlds. 4 points behind come McMillan and Bulkeley followed by the French Yann GUICHARD and Christophe ESPAGNON.
But there are still 8 races to be sailed and behind them excellent sailors are trying to get to the top.
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Italy and Greece set pace at early stage of 470 Worlds
Double-handed Dinghy Men and Women - 470
Today has been a very exciting day in both the 470 Men and 470 Women's Fleets.
As some team results came in unexpected yesterday, those who scored below average, recovered today. Two races were completed in both women's groups, and only one for all groups on the men's course as wind conditions made racing impossible.
Garbrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI (ITA) have taken a lead with an overall series of 1-1-2, having 5 points, followed by the BELCHER brothers from Australia with 11 points. Top sailors like Israel's Gidon KLIGER/Ehud GAL, Philippe GILDAS/Nicolas LE BERRE (FRA), Nathan WILMOT/Malcolm PAGE (AUS), Simon COOKE/Peter NICHOLAS (NZL), Benjamin BONNAUD/Romain BONNAUD (FRA) all sailed a top 3 position in the only race today to get back in line with the top rankings.
In group A today, Alvaro MARINHO/Miguel NUNES won the only race sailed today.
"We had a perfect start and chose to take the left side of the course where we thought there was more wind. We reached the upper mark in 2nd position after Italy's ZANDONA/TRANI. Downwind we got ahead of them and won the race."
Alvaro and Miguel are one of the crews to watch in this Championship. They are always ranked within the top of major events, and now and then, they rule the event. In 2000 they competed at the Olympics and ended up 5th." I was inspired to sailing by my father and grandfather who were actively sailing Vaurien and Snipe. I started in the Optimist and continued in the 420 for four years placing my best result at the 1996 420 Worlds in Belgium ending up 6th.
In 1997 I started sailing 470 with Miguel. He has kind of the same background as I do and we have been friends and sailing together since wqe were young. We make a perfect team. Competing at the Sydney 2000 Olympics has been the highest achievement sofar.
At this Worlds event we aim to end up within the top 3."
In the women's fleet, the renowned Greek pairing, Sofia BEKATOROU / Emilia TSOULFA, have taken a great lead with a 10 points margin overall after 4 races in a very early stage of the Championship.
They are followed by Lisa WESTERHOF / Margriet MATTHIJSSE from the Netherlands with 15 points, the same amount of points as Vlada ILIENKO / Natalia GAPONOVICH from Russia.
In the early afternoon, French ladies Ingrid PETITJEAN / Nadege DOUROUX sailed a 2nd position in their group. With these results it looked like they were going to take over the second overall position, but were unfortunate in race 4 to end up 20, which places them 4th overall.
Sydney 2000 Gold Medallists Jenny ARMSTRONG / Belinda STOWELL moved up in the overal rankings in a better day then the opening races yesterday. A perfect race this morning where they where the first to win a race in the same group as the reigning World Champions. With that bullet, and a 5th place in the second race, puts them in a 6th postion in the overall rankings.
"We are not complaining about our results at this moment. On our way to Gold in Sydney we almost never ruled a major series. We are building up our strength on the way to Athens now, testing materials and trying to get better everey step we take. Our main concern now, is the Olympic qualification, for our country and ourselves."
said both girls.
"The level of performance has grown significantly in the 470. In the women's fleet, there used to be about 6 tough competitors, now there are at least 12."
Tomorrow will be the last day of Qualifiers. Two races are scheduled for the 470 Women and possibly three races for the Men.
Full results for all classes are available on the event website at the address below.