Brits revel in Dutch breeze

News from day three of the SPA Olympic Classes Regatta

Friday May 24th 2002, Author: Nigel Cherrie, Location: none selected
While the SPA Olympic classes regatta at Medemblik in Holland was not lashed with the same gale force winds that are sweeping across England, the 25 knot breezes on the Ijsselmeer made for some interesting racing on day three.

In the Laser fleet, the Paul Goodison versus Robert Scheidt show that many people expected to carry over from the Hyeres regatta last month has been interrupted. Scheidt is leading the regatta after seven races but Goodison’s Team GBR mate Edward Wright is second, two points behind the Brazilian five-time world champion. Goodison, who is currently undefeated this season in any Laser regatta, is third, two points further back.

Past Laser master Ben Ainslie is up to second in the Finn class but Greek European champion Emilios Papathanasio was fourth today and has already amassed a useful seven point lead after winning three of five races. "I have never sailed the Finn in these conditions and was pleased with my performance," said Ben, after finishing tenth in their single race. "I thought I might struggle with boat speed upwind, but worked the boat hard and made good gains, unfortunately I was almost leading downwind, but then capsized and lost some places".

European silver medallist Andrew Simpson is fourth in the 81-boat fleet while Polish 1996 Olympic gold medallist and former world champion Mateusz Kusnierewicz is an uncustomary ninth overall, carrying an OCS from the first race.

Finish world number one Sari Multala leads the women’s single hand class - Europe dinghy - from Belgium’s Min Dizillie after eight races.

It’s normally a case of the more breeze, the merrier for the Mistral fleet and evidently Britain’s Olympic windsurfing hopefuls enjoyed the windy conditions. Nick Dempsey won both races to jump from nineteenth overall up to seventh, but Dominic Tidey leads the charge for SPA title, as he was only ever so slightly less impressive with two fourths. A content Dominic later reflected: "My game plan for today was to sail consistently in order to keep in the top places, which I managed to do. It is nice to be in first place going into the Gold fleet but there is still a way to go yet."

In the women’s fleet, past Olympic and world champion Lee Lai Shan from Hong Kong is fighting for lead with Britain’s Natasha Sturges.

In the Yngling class, one boat was towed ashore swamped, with its deck almost to the water line but Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson, sailing with Inga Leask and Sarah Ayton (fiancé to windsurfer Nick Dempsey) excelled and dominated the single race to move up to fourteenth overall. Spain’s Monica Azon leads.

Out on the Star course, over half of the competitors that started retired from the race but British Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy, sailing with Steve Mitchell, was in his element. Percy won the race by a clear margin from Italy’s Nicola Celon and Dodo Natucci. Percy and Mitchell now move into the top spot with a margin of nine points over Celon.

The Tornado and 49er classes were kept ashore.

Page 2 470 men and women results
Page 3 The singlehanded classes- Europe, Finn and Laser results
Page 4 Mistral men and women results
Page 5 Star and Yngling results

Tornado and 49er results as yesterday.

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