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18 September 2003, 08:08 am
Nine Events On The Water
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2003 ISAF World Championship
Bay of Cadiz

Today sees the busiest racing day of the Championship so far, with 9 of the 11 events on the water. Only the Mistral Men and Women will remain ashore for a layday.
The weather is forecast to provide more of the same, 7-10 knots from the east this morning, increasing to 11-15 knots, before dropping back down to 7-10 as the wind veers to the south east.

All three venues of the 2003 ISAF World Championship - Puerto Sherry, Elcano and Rota - are in full competition mode today with racing from all three.

Over in Elcano the Lasers get into the opening qualification, and with 172 entries will be split into 4 fleets. After each day, the groups will be reseeded based on overall positions, before the cut is schedule to be made at the end of racing on Saturday. With 15 Olympic Qualification slots up for grabs, and 12 countries already qualified, a rough judgement will be that any nation finishing in the top 30 should get through to Athens.

Racing from Rota the 470 men and women fleets will be split into three men's groups and two for the women.

Yesterday, the 470 sailors had their first opportunity to experience the conditions of racing on the Bay of Cadiz, with the practice race as their final preparation.

It was obvious that the sailors` awareness of what is going to happen the coming days is rising. Less words and higher concentration. Whilst lighter winds prevailed in the morning, the sailors were relieved that the conditions for the practice racer were similar to those in which they have been training.

The venue at Rota, the weather conditions and circumstances on the water seem to please the sailors pretty well. Lots of positive reactions have been heard around the boat park. The most enthusiastic reaction so far came from the Canadian camp, as Nick BEAUDOIN named it in one word: 'Awesome!'

The pressure is on the women in the Europe fleet, as with today's final race it is make or break. With 11 qualification slots up for grabs, and Australia, Norway, Germany, Finland, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Ireland, Poland and China already qualified, judging on the overnight results it is looking good for many of the overnight top 20 sailors. Throughout the fleet the pressures are on. Whilst many of the girls at the top have already qualified their nations and are going for the Silver and Bronze medal, those slightly lower down will have their eyes set on qualification. Meanwhile, Siren SUNDBY (NOR) having claimed Gold yesterday will watch from the sidelines as she does not intend to race today.

The 104 boat 49er fleet will be split into four groups, and will sail a three race schedule each day over a windward leeward course. Only a handful of boats took place in yesterday's practice race, and of those the majority bailed out after the first windward mark. Many of the sailors preferred to go for a morning sail, wishing to preserve themselves and their equipment for today's opener.

The two groups in the Star fleet will each have a single race, with the cut made at the end of today, and the top 42 boats going through to the Gold fleet.

The Finn fleet go into the second qualification day, with no surprise to see the world ranking leader Sebastien GODEFROID (BEL) at the top.

After their reserve day yesterday, the Yngling fleet go into races 7 and 8. There has been much shifting in positions throughout the fleet, with nearly all the top placed crews having one race they'd rather forget. However, this just goes to show the range of ability throughout the fleet.

For the latest action from the 2003 ISAF World Championship, go the event website for results, reports, and click here for Video Streaming of the daily highlights.
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