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7 January 2010, 09:48 am
Spaniards Martinez And Fernandez Seize The Lead At 49er Worlds
Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez of Spain
Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez of Spain have hit the front of the fleet at the end of the qualifying series

49er World Championship 2010
Freeport, Bahamas

Cool temperatures did not dampen the competitive sailing in Freeport, Grand Bahama with Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez of Spain jumping into the lead at the 49er World Championship.
Although the mercury was low, the winds were up averaging 16-18 knots on the race course. Spanish stars Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez, World Champions in 2002 and 2004 and gold and silver medallists at Athens and Beijing respectively, revelled in the conditions posting 3, 2, 3 finishes. The Italian world #1 Sibello brothers, Pietro Sibello and Gianfranco Sibello, also stepped up to finish second in the qualifying series with 4, 1, 4 scores for the day. The British teams had a tough day with Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR) slipping from first to third in the series after being caught under a black flag, while John Pink and Rick Peacock (GBR) received a DSQ in an altercation with defending World Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS). However, even with their DSQ score, Pink and Peacock still stay in the top five in fourth place overall, three points ahead of Outteridge and Jensen.

Another team looking well placed at the end of the qualifying series is Athens silver medallists and 2005 World Champions Rodion Luka and George Leonchuk (UKR) in sixth. Two-time World Champion Chris Draper and his new crew Peter Greenhalgh (GBR) are also well-placed, just outside the top 10 in 11th. Meanwhile Kiwi youngsters Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) continue to show they're a team to keep a close eye on. At the end of the qualifying series they lie 15th overall and ahead of some major players including 2008-2009 ISAF Sailing World Cup winners, Federico Alonso and Arturo Alonso (ESP), and the world #3 ranked crew of Nico Delle - Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT).

Conditions of shifty winds at the weather mark caused a few upsets in the days racing, mixing up the results. With the fleet now entering the finals on Thursday, the heat is on both on the water and in the expected increase in the air temperature.

Lighter winds are predicted for the course area for Thursdays racing.

Results - click here

To follow coverage, go to www.49erworlds.org as well as the Facebook: 49er World Championship page and Twitter. Int49er. Channel 49er, the latest video link for the 49er Class has video and interviews. Seiko is the official sponsor of the 49er Class and title sponsor of the 2010 World Championships.

World Championship Page

Click on the link below for our 49er World Championship page containing all the news, photos, results and more from this year's 49er Worlds.

Click here for our 49er World Championship page.

Jerelyn Biehl (As Amended By ISAF)
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