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17 September 2003, 07:54 am
The Morning Report
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Hans WALLEN (SWE)© ISAF

2003 ISAF World Championship
Bay of Cadiz

Overnight the wind has decreased to present a leisurely 7 knots this morning, but with, as is typical in these parts, a forecast increase to 11-15 knots from the east, before veering south and decreasing a little.
The schedule for today sees the Ynglings on a lay day, Stars on their final day of qualification with the cut this evening. The Europes are into day two of their finals, with Siren Sundy leading the pack, whilst the men´s single-handed event in the Finn gets underway today.

The Mistal men and women´s fleets who have been revelling in the conditions see the final qualification races for the men, before being split into the Gold and Silver group for the finals, whilst the women will continue to race in a single fleet.

In the multihull open in the Tornado, with measurment concluding today, they will have their practice race this afternoon. The fleet includes a range of talent, the traditional multihull and Tornado leading lights such as Darren BUNDOCK (AUS) and John FORBES, alongside the likes of converts such as Carlos ESPINOLA (ARG) with helm Santiago LANGE. Carlos is a previous medallist in the Olympic windsurfing event, taking silver in both 1996 and 2000.

ISAF caught up with Tornado helm Hans WALLEN (SWE) and crew Martin WESTERDAHL. Making up one of three Swedish entries in the multihull open event, Hans is anticipating a top 10 result. With a world ranking of 21, they are not the top-ranked Swedish pairing in what is the fastest of the Olympic events, but remain positive that they can make the grade when it counts.

Hans' previous appearance on the Olympic circuit was in the keelboat match event in the Soling, where he claimed Silver at the 1996 Olympic Regatta in the keelboat open sailing the Star. Hans was back into the foray in Sydney, having jumped to the Soling, sailing a fleet/match racing format, where he placed 11. So third time round, in his third event, he has plenty of Olympic experience to draw on.

Whilst Martin is relatively fresh to this game, his father Stellan WESTERDAHL won a Silver Medal at the 1972 Olympics in Munich also in the Star.

After Sydney, and with the demise of the keelboat match event and hence the Soling, Hans turned further afield and to more faster craft to obtain his desire for speed. His attention was initially drawn to the 60 foot trimarans, and lacking funding approached Toshiba to support him. However, Toshiba's goals were slightly at a variance, and they agreed to support him, but in the Tornado and an Olympic campaign. A challenge yes, but with a sponsorship deal through until Athens 2004, there was all to play for and nothing to lose, so Hans agreed.

Roll forwards a few years, and here we are in the year before the Olympics. Sweden has qualified for the 2004 Olympic Regatta, and all that remains is to determine the best crew that will hopefully secure the elusive medals. With three Swedish crews contesting the slot, it is all open, but Hans and Martin remain confident of a top 10 finish, ahead of their rivals.

On that count, the Swedish team in Cadiz, is not short of a medal or two. Of the 32 entries and 42 sailors present, they lay claim to at the latest count, 33 Swedish National Championship titles, 11 World Championship titles, 5 European Championships and two Olympic medals, one Gold and one Silver.

Returning from a morning tester, Hans commented on their attainable speed, "Upwind we can go a maximum of 12-14 knots, with 25-30 knots achievable downwind. The difference with the Tornado compared to the windsurfer is that when we go fast you can see it. There is lots of spray and you know you are moving."

On the concept of the combined World Championship, "This is all about selling sailing. We have the best sailors in the world here and we have to sell it. The Olympic Games is where it is actually happening. However, I do think we should allow spectators, the public, access to the venue, to see what is going on and experience it, but without interfering with the sailors."

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Over in the two satellite venues, Elcano for the Lasers and Rota hosting the 470 men and women, things are hotting up, as measurement in the 470 and equipment allocation in the Laser concludes, prior to their practice races this afternoon.
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