On the strength of two impressive race wins in slightly stronger breezes today off Hayling Island, Australia's double world champion Tom Slingsby stepped four points clear at the top of the Laser World Championships leaderboard after six of the eight scheduled Qualifying Races have been sailed.
The gentle, and at times fickle-minded sea-breezes of the two opening days of racing gave way to a more consistent, ESE'ly wind which averaged around 11-12 knots and peaked at around 14 to offer both fleets, the Standard Senior Men's championship and the Junior Worlds, a brisker and more physical challenge.
But if the winds proved to be more settled in direction there was still no shortage of challenges and traps, not least managing the changing tidal flow of up to one knot. And the choppy, swell made for some fast, enjoyable downwind sailing.
(AUS) made two sharp starts to lead off the line but attributed part of his success today to his desire to stay super smooth downwind. After a yellow flag penalty for excessive kinetics on Tuesday he commented later that possibly the jury had done him a favour, the penalty was a key to him sailing very smoothly in the choppy waves, and in both races he was well clear of the pack when he took his second and third winning guns of the regatta.
Chasing hard in third overall Skandia Team GBR's Paul Goodison
was forced to press his 'recovery mode' into action again today. Deep in the pack in the second race the Olympic and World Champion pulled back to seventh, keeping his world title defence firmly on target with all six of his scores top 10 finishes.
Goodison shares the same points tally as New Zealand's second placed Josh Junior
who scored a seventh and a fifth today, retaining a level of consistency which he commented was 'a bit of a surprise.'
With Michael Bullot lying fourth, the strong, tightly knit Kiwi squad now have four sailors in the top eight.
Austria's Andreas Geritzer
, 2004 Olympic silver medallist had taken the overall championships lead after a second in his Race 5, to go 2,1,2 but he was snared in the thick of a raft of boats at the start of the second race and could not get away off the line. After jumping from 50th after Day 1, to 5th last night, Geritzer lies ninth.
of Italy has managed to retain one of the most impressively regular set of scores so far. Lying fifth he is the only sailor other than Goodison to have scored the full half dozen top ten finishes.
In the Junior World Championships Italy's Francesco Marrai
retained his overall lead today after a fifth and a third, lying two points ahead of Denmark's Thorbjoern Scheirup.
Paul Goodison (GBR): "It was a tricky day all in all. I thought with the breeze in that it was going to be a little easier today but it wasn't. It was still quite shifty and the tide played a big part of it. The second race did not quite go quite to plan and I was in the 20's but I had good speed downwind and played the shifts well up the second beat."
"I think with it being such a long regatta it is all about trying to keep in single figures and I've managed to do that so far. I think for me that has been about not taking too many risks and sailing the fleet, but that is not easy because if you do get caught in the middle and it comes in from one side or the other then you do end up in the teens. It is just about giving yourself."
Tom Slingsby (AUS): "It was a really good day. There was a lot of current and everyone was really intimidated to get up on the start line but I had good transits and so I was able to start a boat length or two ahead of the boats around me. So I had really good starts, good speed upwind, but I was really fast downwind which is maybe a little out of the ordinary for me. I am usually an upwind specialist but today I was really quick. I am not too sure why. Yesterday I got a yellow flag and that maybe did me some good, I was trying to stay very still and today was a day about being very smooth and rocking really would not have helped you very much."
Joshua Junior (NZL): "The biggest gains were downwind for sure and so if you got to the top mark quite deep then you could really smoke it downwind and pass heaps of boats which was really fun and awesome. I struggled a little upwind.
It was a bit unexpected to do that well today again and really awesome to be up there and doing so awesome. Every regatta I am improving little by little, getting more consistent. Last year I was able to win races but still score the 30ths. Now I seem to be able to get back up to the top ten which is awesome. Over the winter we had some awesome training with seven of us, a couple of months in Auckland. Everyone is really close in training and works really hard."
Laser Standard Senior Men's Championship 2010
Provisional Results after 6 races including 2 discards.
1 Tom Slingsby (AUS) 1,8,(29), 3,1,1, 14pts
2 Joshua Junior (NZL) 3, (22), 1,2,7,5, 18pts
3 P Goodison (GBR) 3,1,(9),4,3,7,18pts
4 M Bullot (NZL) 1,2,5,(13),9,3, 20pts
5 Giacomo Bottolli (ITA), (9),4,3,6,3,8 24pts
6 N Thompson (GBR) 2,3,(25),6,9,7 27pts
7 A Maloney (NZL) 2, (22),4,10,2,11, 29pts
8 A Murdoch (NZL) 6,4,11,2,8, (22) 31pts
9 A Geritzer (AUT) (33) 6,2,1,2,22 33pts
10 L Radelic (CRO) 2,2,(42),1,18,10,33pts
Junior World Championships
1 Francesco Marrai (ITA) 2,3,(7),5,5,3 18pts
2 Thorbjoern Schierup (DEN) 3,36,(19),6,2 20pts
3 Keerati Bulaong (THA) (19),1,10,6,2,4 23pts
4 A Munos (FRA) (14),2,8,4,8,1, 23pts
5 M Kaeldo (DEN) 2,15,1,2,(16),16, 36pts
For further information visit: www.laserworlds2010.co.uk