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13 July 2010, 09:04 am
Sari Multala (FIN) In Control at the Laser Radial Worlds
Challenging Weather at the Radial Worlds
Challenging Weater at the Radial Worlds

Laser Radial World Champinship 2010
Largs, Great Britain

Finland's defending champion stepped further clear of the chasing pack on the first day of finals when she sailed to a well earned fifth place in another difficult race at the Laser Radial World Championships.
As the women's fleet entered the Finals phase there was little in the way of extra cooperation from the fickle and shifty breezes which finally thwarted all attempts to complete the scheduled two races when the easterly expired to nothing.

Sari Multala's fifth gives her a seven points advantage over the young Dutch sailor Marit Bouwmeester who finished eighth to maintain her second overall position.

When the fleets set off in the morning in a North Westerly breeze which was not showing on most of the forecasts, then perhaps that was a foresight of what was likely to happen. Early sunshine was the bonus, but after an initial rain shower the Men got away best in the westerly breeze which perhaps mustered all of six knots. The women took longer to get their start away as the breeze swung around.

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But the dark clouds over Largs town soon took effect shifting the breeze around in direction, with holes and areas of light pressure developing. On the first downwind for the Women's gold fleet the breeze died nearly completely and on the second upwind the extra pressure had started to push in true to the forecast from east, but when it did come in the course ended slightly skewed. Indeed on the final beat the wind had finally swung round the best part of 100 degrees since the start direction.

With three races now planned for Tuesday, the penultimate day, Multala's sights are set firmly on just repeating the same kind of consistent assured strategies that have served her well so far.

"I think I have become more steady as a sailor, better able to sail in whatever comes along, and I can perform well no matter what the conditions are." Remarked the Finnish sailor, 32, who won the world title across a breezy regatta in Japan last year in the late afternoon sunshine.

China's Dongshuang Zhang read the big advantage to the left on the first beat, where there was more wind pressure, and won the women's race with a lead of about 200 metres over Anna Tunnicliffe (USA), the Olympic gold medallist and Paige Railey (USA) in third. Railey holds third overall with France's Sarah Steyaert in fourth.

In the Men's fleet, racing on the adjacent race area, conditions were just as tricky as evidenced when Poland's Marcin Rudawski broke his string of wins with a seventh place, but the 2009 title holder goes forward to the Men's Finals with a margin of six points.

Sari Multala (FIN): "It was variable, a bit challenging really. The first upwind was OK, it was still quite steady but then the wind started to die first, then shift to the right slowly. And then in the end it had gone around about 180 degrees. But it was always quite obvious something was happening to the right because there was some really dark clouds but it juts took a while until the wind reached us, we were close to the second top mark by then and so the top sailors were pretty much OK by that stage. I was in the top ten and then I came up a few places on the second upwind because I saw the line of breeze coming across on the right and got there before some other girls ."

Tina Mihelic (CRO): "It was really hard to sail. The wind was changing a lot. The first upwind was still OK, but the first downwind the wind dropped and I thought they would abandon it, but then in the upwind the wind changed 30 or 40 degrees to the right and then we started to hike and I thought it was going to be OK, but then the last downwind it was reaching and on the reaching it was upwind.

But overall I did OK, I lost a couple of places because of a wind shift. Sixth for me is OK just now."


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