Ayton and Clark take the lead

Light conditions beset the Olympic classes racing at Kiel Week

Tuesday June 22nd 2010, Author: Hermann Hell, Location: Germany

There was much nail biting again on the morning of the fourth day of Kieler Woche. By noon a light breeze filled in and all classes could finish enough races before the medal races begin on Wednesday. "The forecast was really the opposite of what we saw later on the water. But to make sure enough races were completed for the Finn and Star classes, who had only raced two before, we relocated their course close to the shore. And it worked, they could sail three races," said Jobst Richter, Chairman of the Kieler Woche.

Finn: Rafael Trujillo started the day where he left off yesterday, chalking up another bullet, his third consecutive, but dropped off the pace in the second race scoring a discardable 19th to go into the medal race with a four point lead over his rival Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic of Croatia, who also discarded a bad result in the second race. "It was shifty and puffy on the course today, I had a bad start, had to sail back round the committee boat." explained Trujillo. "The top ten boats are always racing against each other all the year but Ivan and I have been fighting for gold at the last three major events. I have been coming to Kiel since 1997, won in 2004, came second in 2008 so I really hope I can win tomorrow." Deniss Karpak (EST) goes into the medal race in third only just ahead of the chasing pack. More on the Finn from Robert Deaves below...

Star: He has never won Kieler Woche in the Star before, only in the Laser, but he is well on the way to achieving that goal this year. Robert Scheidt (BRA) with crew Bruno Prada leads the Star fleet into the medal race with a comfortable gap of seven points over Diego Negri and Enrico Voltini (ITA) with Mark Mendelblatt and Magnus Liljedahl (USA) in third.

Mens 470: It was only possible to race one more race again today and it was a predicable sight as Matt Belcher and Malcolm Page chalked up a fourth bullet in a row. They seemed to be sailing an immaculate series in all conditions but Page was respectful of the opposition.

"There has been very good competition at Kiel Week this year, we prefer stronger wind, which is what we had on the first day but we have been practising in the light so its good to know we are going well in light as well," said Belcher. "The points are very close for the medal race tomorrow and the medal races are a different style of racing to the normal fleet racing so we have to sail with what we feel and see. It's a very short race with only ten boats, so tactics will be out of the window; the calibre of competition is very high."

Despite the Aussies domination of the fleet, 2009 world champions Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) are only five points behind with Anton Dahlberg and Sebastian Ostling (SWE) another four points back in third so the medal race will still be close.

Womens 470: Leading the Womens 470 fleet going into the medal race is the British team of Sarah Ayton and Saskia Clark, this new duo finally coming on song  Lisa Ericson and Astrid Gabreilsson of Sweden go into the medal race in silver position with Maria Gallego and Julia Rita of Spain currently in bronze. Three German teams have found their way into the top ten after four races. Kathrin Kadelbach and Friederike Belcher, Annina Wagner and Marlene Steinherr, and Tina Lutz and Sanni Beucke will all start in the medal race. "We won the last race today and just made it into the medal race, which was not a sure thing before. We are very happy," stated Tina, former world champion in the Optimist.

49er: Only three points separate the top six competitors in the 49er fleet going into the medal race. Of three British boats in the top five the young team of Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign have enjoyed the light conditions to lead the consistent Danes, Emil and Simon Toft Nielsen, the first of three other Danish teams in the medal race. Yann Rochierieux and Morgan Lagraviere of France sailed very consistently, winning the last race of the day and finishing in the bronze position but only one point ahead of the chasing pack of three boats including former leaders Chris Draper and Pete Greenhalgh (GBR).

Laser: In the only race of the day Michael Leigh (CAN) closed the gap to four points on run-away leader, Tom Slingsby (AUS) by winning the last race. Leigh heads into the medal race with a further three point lead over two young German sailors lead by Philipp Buhl.

Laser Radial: The Laser Radials sailed one more race today and Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) has maintained her lead all week to finish with a fifth and a slender one point lead over Alberte Holm Lindberg of Denmark and seasoned campaigner Paige Railey (USA) another point behind in bronze position. These three go into the medal race with a few points in the bag.

Mens RS:X: Having sailed seven races in total Julien Bontemps of France has been simply unstoppable recording six bullets and discarding a second. Trailing him by six points is Ivan Pastor (ESP) and the Polish trio of Grodzicki, Majewski and Przbytek battling for the other medals.

RS:X W: After leading the RS:X fleet right from the start to the medal race it was no surprise that Olga Maslivets (UKR) starts tomorrow as number one ahead of silver medallist at the 2009 world championship, Blanca Manchon (ESP) and Agata Brygo (POL).

2.4 mR: With twelve races sailed, the 2.4 mR class showed again today that this class is the real results machine at Kieler Woche. And after his Kieler Woche victory in 2009 Heiko Kroeger (GER) is again on course to make it his second win in row. After three days leading the fleet, which started in Kiel with handicap and non handicap sailors, Megan Pascoe (GBR) dropped back to third place three points behind Helena Lucas (GBR).

Womens Match Racing: The race committee continued to churn through the rounds all day, but by 20.00hrs had to postpone having got part way through the quarter finals. At the close of the day, Claire Leroy (FRA) leads Silke Hahlbrock of Germany two flights to one. Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) leads Silva Lehtinen's team from Finland by two to one and Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) also leads Katie Spithill of Australia by the same score. In the final group world number one Lucy Macgregor (GBR) leads her opponent Genevieve Tulloch (USA) by two to one.

Full results here

Robert Deaves' Finn focus:

For the second year running Kieler Woche has thrown its worst weather at the Olympic classes. For the Finn class, after two days of waiting for wind, there was finally some racing on Tuesday. With five races now on the board after four days, Rafa Trujillo (ESP) takes a four point lead over European Champion Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) going into the final day, with Deniss Karpak (EST) another four points behind.

Though the forecast looked no more promising than previous days, race four got underway at 14.30 in a shifty 4-6 knots. The two day break didn't seem to hurt regatta leader Trujillo as he scored his third race win in a row, with the fleet behind him generally pretty mixed up. 22 year old Max Salminen (SWE) placed second in the race with Vyacheslav Sivenkov (RUS) in third. Third and fourth placed overall Kljakovic Gaspic and Oleksiy Borysov (UKR) stayed in touch with Trujillo with a fifth and a sixth.

Race five got away at 15.50 is a similar shifty breeze with Trujillo having to re-round the committee boat and starting late. Karpak, who placed tenth in the first race said, "Today there was a light wind. The first race was almost hiking, but then wind died and sometimes we had 3 knots. I was unlucky in the first race today on the first upwind but then recovered well."

"In the second race I was lucky from the start. I rounded the first mark second after Florian [Raudaschl], and then he went to the wrong mark and then I took the lead. Then I was all the time in first, and Zach [Railey] second. We had a nice match race on the last beat to the finish." Zach Railey (USA) placed second in the race with class veteran Thomas Schmid (GER) in third.

Karpak concluded, "So I'm happy to be in the medal race again, first time this year, and to be in third position is great."

Another happy sailor is recent silver medalist at the Junior Europeans, Luke Lawrence (USA), in 19th place. He said, "I'm very happy about my performance today because it was sufficient enough to move me into the top 20, which was my goal. The conditions were light and shifty for the first three-quarters of the race which made for tricky sailing. The wind lightened on the first beat and I was in a position to keep going to the right when the left died out completely. This allowed for a top 15 rounding. On the second upwind, I dug into the header much harder than I usually do because this was one of my weak points and I wanted to make sure I did it. This pushed me into 8th
position which is where I finished the race."

"In race two, the same light and shifty continued. On the first beat I practised the same shift-digging technique which allowed me to round in the top 10. I lost a few boats on the second beat because I wasn't far enough left when a large shift came in. I finished just inside the top 10 on the second race, about half a boat length ahead of the Swedish sailor."

"I am very excited about my light air technique starting to develop, a new mast has also helped the process along. Next I need to gain strength and size to better my heavy air performance."

In 15th place overall lies the current world champion Jonas Høgh Christensen (DEN), sailing his first regatta since he won the Finn Gold Cup in Vallensbæk, Denmark last year. He said, "Since the Gold Cup I have done no Finn sailing at all. My boat was still rigged and when I packed it up to come to Kiel. I found a couple of old power bars, a half empty bottle of champagne and the Danish flag. So I really haven't touched the boat since then."

"After the first day of racing I was in a lot of pain - it was fun but painful. I had to fix the boat so it was up to racing standards and that meant I was the last guy on the water. I got a good start and I was second at the windward mark, then I passed the German who was leading and I thought to myself, "If you win this race you better sail in and pack up and wait for the Games...ha ha. Seconds later I tried to gybe for the mark and rusty as I am I went strait into the soup."

The Dane, who hasn't finished top ten in any race is hoping to get to San Francisco in August to defend his world title, but admitted, "I need to get fit before San Fran. At the Games in 2008 I was in the shape of my life and I tried to keep it that way so I was in pretty good physical shape for the worlds last year. But I have lost way more in the last 10 months than in the months after the Games."

A good result in Wednesday's medal race from either Trujillo or Kljakovic Gaspic will see them jump ahead of Ed Wright (GBR) in the overall Sailing World Cup ranking, and set up a tight battle going into the final event in Weymouth in August. The Skandia Team GBR Finn sailors skipped Kieler Woche, preferring to train out in San Francisco in preparation for the Finn Gold Cup, whichis being held just a week after the Weymouth event.

Trujillo summed up his day, "I feel very comfortable with my new boat after a winter of testing all configurations and many hours work. I am four points clear in the medal race, but it is very tight because of the small number of races. Let's see if I can continue to demonstrate this line of improvement also in the medal race."

With 17 points separating the top 7 boats, and only nine points between the top five boats, the final race is going to be where the week is decided.

Results after 5 races

1 ESP 100 Rafael Trujillo 11.00
2 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 15.00
3 EST 2 Deniss Karpak 19.00
4 UKR 1 Oleksiy Borysov 20.00
5 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 20.00
6 ITA 117 Poggi Giorgio 27.00
7 USA 4 Zach Railey 28.00
8 CZE 1 Michael Maier 31.00
9 SWE 6 Björn Allansson 33.00
10 AUT 3 Florian Raudaschl 44.00

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