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11 April 2005, 10:29 am
ZBOGAR Takes The Spoils
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Laser Europa Cup 2005
Izola, Slovenia

Slovenia's Vasilij ZBOGAR took victory in the third leg of the Europa Cup on his home waters of Slovenia. Jadralni Klub Burja in Izola hosted the event over the weekend with racing in three fleets, the Laser Standard, the Laser Radial and the Laser 4.7.
One race was run in the Laser Standard and Laser Radial events on Thursday in very poor wind conditions (around five knots on the start and around on the finish). The Laser 4.7s were unable to start because of a lack of wind.

The Slovenian government declared a day of mourning for the late Pope for Friday 8 April and stated that sporting events should not take place, therefore the Laser Europa Cup was not sailed on that day.

Racing started on time on Saturday and the competitors managed to complete three races in all three fleets in southerly winds and rain.

Sunday brought a little too much wind. Racing started in the in North West Burja wind of around 20 knots with gusts of 25. Perfect for standard sailor but a little too much for some Radials and 4.7s. It was rainy and quite cold for the time of year (there was snow up until 500 metres). After the start of second race in the 4.7 event the wind increased to 30 knots and it was decided that the race should be abandoned. However the race committee managed to run two races in the Laser Standard fleet and one in the Radial.

Victory in four of the six races gave the Olympic bronze medallist, ZBOGAR, a crushing victory over second and third placed Russians, Yury BOZHEDOMOV and Russia's Olympic representative in Athens, Maxim SEMERKHANOV. ZBOGAR finished second in the two other races to complete a dominating performance by the ISAF World Sailing Rankings' number five. If the Slovenian can maintain this sort of form the fourth position of American Mark MENDELBLATT, who was racing in the Star Western Hemisphere Championship last weekend, just 49 points ahead of ZBOGAR, looks distinctly under threat come the next ISAF World Sailing Rankings publication on the 4 May.

In the Laser Radial fleet Jon EMMETT (GBR) was even more dominant, taking five bullets out of five. His closest challenger was Croatia's Mateja PETRONIJEVIC, whose consistent top ten finishing gave her second in front of Pierre AANGELO (FIN) and meant she was the highest women finisher in the Radial fleet which will be new Olympic equipment in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Second highest women was Chernova ANASTASSIA (RUS) followed by Russia and Slovenia's Olympic representatives in the previous equipment for the Single-handed Dinghy Women event, the Europe, Natalia IVANOVA (RUS) and Teja CERNE (SLO).

In the Laser 4.7 fllet Marko SESTAN (CRO) mirrored EMMETT by completing a clean sweep of the four races. Kaarel KRUUSMAGI (EST) and Edoardo BARTOLINI (ITA) tied on points for second, with the Estonian's higher finish in his discarded race giving him the runner up spot..

Bojan Gale (As Amended By ISAF). Image, ZBOGAR on his way to a bronze medal in Athens:© MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images
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