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11 June 2010, 02:08 pm
Croatian Stipanovic Is New Leader At Laser Europeans
2010 Laser European Championships
Croatian Stipanovic Is New Leader At Laser Europeans

2010 Laser European Championships
Tallinn, Estonia

Thursday was a day of anticipation for the Laser Standard and Laser Radial European Championships & Trophy 2010 in Tallinn, Estonia.
The starts were postponed for three hours for lack of wind, and while the Laser Standard athletes managed to sail two races, Laser Radial will have to make up for the postponed races tomorrow.

In the Laser Standard class the first race was held in around 8 knots of shifty wind. Australian Ryan Palk took the bullet in the first race, with German Philipp Buhl second and Tonci Stipanovic third. The second race began after waiting for the wind to stabilize in speed, this time Germans took the lead with Simon Grotelschen first, Buhl second and Greek sailor Evangelos Chimonas third.

Phillip Buhl who sailed to second place in both races said the day was unbelievable for him.

"I have been having problems with the gold fleet this year, but even in this shifty and light wind I could sail two second places today, so I am unbelievably happy. I am normally better in the strong wind cause I am a bit heavier. I think today it was important to sail on the right side and I did 100% right. I feel a bit of pressure on me for tomorrow but it is important to sail with pleasure."

20-year old Buhl, who had initially set his goal as the top 16, now wants to finish the European Championships & Trophy in the top 5.

Overall, the Laser Standard has a new leader - Croatian Tonci Stipanovic with 30 points. "I want to finish in the top 3 - this is my goal for this regatta. I hope we will have better wind tomorrow, so I can do it," Stipanovic said.

The Croatian is followed by Philipp Buhl, who managed to climb from the 8th overall place to no two with his day's performance, Buhl's score is 34 points.

Currently third with 36 points comes current Olympic and World Champion Paul Goodison of Great Britain, who admitted he was aiming for gold tomorrow.

"I am still trying to win. I think I have a good chance when another discard comes in," he said. "Today was a bit up and down. The first race was pretty good, I got a fourth but the second race wasn't so good. The wind completely disappeared and it wasn't really fast sailing. I think the forecast has a bit better breeze for tomorrow so hopefully we'll get two good races and finish off the championships."

While the Laser Standard gold and silver fleets sailed two final races and bronze fleet one race due to the dying wind, the Laser Radials were not so lucky. After several hours of waiting for the wind, the first final race began but was abandoned mid-way due to wind dying down again. Finally the Radial athletes were called back on land.

Hence, the top 3 remains unchanged with Tina Mihelic from Croatia as the leader, Charlotte Dobson from Great Britain in second and Belgian Evi Van Acker in third place.

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