Win for Draper and Hiscocks

Positive result for British Olympic duo at conclusion of 49er Europeans on Lake Garda

Saturday July 10th 2004, Author: Camille Parrain, Location: Italy
This morning the expectant sailors were anticipating a long and tough day when they went on the water with an 18 knots northerly cold wind at 8.30am this morning. But the wind - it is probably a curse - dropped once again when they got to the starting line. The fleet was sent ashore to wait for the southerly Ora to fill in.

This year the conditions have been unpredictable all week just as the local people warned us, so the sailors and the race committee had no idea how they would have to wait.

The Gold fleet finally went racing this afternoon along with the Silver and Bronze fleets. Yet again the wind decided to drop and to change of direction making the competitors wait around.

In the first two races in the Gold fleet the American team of Tim Wadlow and Pete Spaulding dropped in the results putting a disappointing 24th and 20th places. The other teams also had ups and downs, showing how tough this fleet is.

Ultimately winners of the European Championships were British Olympic hopefuls Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks followed by the Danish team of Michael Hestbeck and Dennis Dengsoe.

The Australian team of Chris Nicholson and Gary Boyd finished third but won the President’s Cup that was held after the Championships. This was held close to the shore for the first five teams. In front of a lot of spectators the selected boats match raced until one boat won two races. Gary Boyd said exhausted: “It was really quick!”

Probably the most disappointed team is the Dutch pair of Mats Hellman and Pim Nieuwenhuis. They started sailing together last November after Pim quit sailing with Peter Lantermans. The country was qualified but the Netherlands would only send them if they gained a top 6 at a grade 1 event or a top 10 here in Torbole. They fought until today, a few weeks before the Games. But yesterday they 'fell into a big hole' according to Pim. Hit by the Norwegian team at the start, they finished last on the first race. They scored a fourth at the second race but this one was cancelled after a race committee error. This proved hard mentally for them and things just got worse. The decision is not made yet but it seems that there will be no Dutch team in Athens.

This event also decided which Swiss team will be sent to the Games. Switzerland had two teams fighting in the Gold fleet: Chris Rast and Christian Steiger and the team of Thomas Ruegge and Jorg Steiner. Rast and Steiger finished ahead of their rivals but no decision has been made officially yet.

Results

1. Chris Draper/Simon Hiscocks GBR2 41pts
2. Michael Hestbeck/Dennis Dengsoe DEN4 45pts
3. Chris Nicholson/Gary Boyd AUS13 46pts
4. Marc Audineau/Stéphane Christidis FRA 21 49pts
5. Stevie Morrison/Ben Rhodes GBR9 51pts
6. Christoffer Sundby/ Frode Bovim NOR6 55pts
7. Nico Delle Karth/Niko Resch AUT 29 55pts
8. Thomas Johanson/Jukka Pirainen FIN10 59pts
9. Tim Wadlow/Pete Spaulding USA 5 64pts
10. Christopher Rast/Christian Steiger SUI 17 66pts

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