Olympic fleet moves to Holland

Day one of the SPA Olympic classs regatta

Wednesday May 22nd 2002, Author: Nigel Cherrie, Location: none selected
It is impossible to draw conclusions from the opening days results' of any Olympic class regatta, but the British sailing team did themselves more favours than harm at SPA multi-class event in Holland today.

All eleven disciplines are racing on the vast Ijsselmeer, from the small town of Medemblik just north of Amsterdam. Of the three big meets (the other two being Hyeres and Kiel), SPA is perhaps the most popular.

Stars of the day are Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell. They are second overall in the men’s doublehanded keelboat class after two races, one being a second place. Could this be Percy’s first event win?

Paul Goodison will be looking to retain his unbeaten form in the Laser fleet and his third place overall is a good start but team mate Edward Wright is again giving him a run for his money in the 148 boat fleet. Swedish world championship medallist Karl Sunesson is second while Aprove Mate from Croatia leads after a remarkable 1,2,1 performance in today’s light and shifty breezes.

In her return to European competition after a winters training in the Southern hemisphere, Natasha Sturges is in third place overall in the Mistral women’s division, behind two Hong Kong windsurfers, one being fleet leader 1996 Olympic gold medallist Lee Lai Shan.

In the Men’s fleet, Dominic Tidey has his impressive second place at Hyeres to live up and now also face Nick Dempsey’s return to competition after illness. Tidey is living up his new reputation though as he won the second race of the day to go into the first night in fourth. Dempsey is still well and truly in with a shout in seventh position.

Andrew Simpson’s new Finn dinghy is fast out of the blocks as he is third while Greek European champion Emilios Papathanasio leads. Ben Ainslie admittedly chose the wrong sail today, but reflected later it is all still "a big learning process".

"I have some good races and some bad, so I just need to pull them together in order to make a mark at these regattas," continued the Olympic gold and silver medallist.

In the 49er class, Olympic silver medallist Simon Hiscocks and helmsman Chris Draper are second overall after the first three qualifying races. "We had a good steady start to the regatta," said Draper, but added, "We should have won race two. We were leading at the windward mark but I think we were sailing too conservatively to drop places and finish second."

Their third race didn’t go entirely according to plan either as Draper believes they didn’t sail "a very good windward leg", finishing in fifth but second overall although equal on points with former Spanish world champion Santiago Lopez is a commendable start.

The SPA regatta finishes on Sunday.

Page 2 Top ten results for 470 men
Page 3 Top ten results for 470 women
Page 4 Top ten results for 49ers
Page 5 Top ten results for Europes
Page 6 Top ten results for Finns
Page 7 Top ten results for Lasers
Page 8 Top ten results for Mistral men
Page 9 Top ten results for Mistral women
Page 10 Top ten results for Ynglings
Page 11 Top ten results for Stars
Page 12 Top ten results for Tornados

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