Closing in on Scheidt
A day of mistakes and mixed fortunes among the main contenders for the 2013 Laser Standard World Championship title has paved the way for a thrilling finale in Oman with the last two races on Saturday set to determine medals and futures.
Leader Robert Scheidt’s nine point lead over Pavlos Kontides from Cyprus shrank to a single point advantage after he made a poor start to the last race, prompted by frequent changes in both wind speed and direction, which he was unable to turn round despite climbing almost 20 places in the downwind leg.
Having won the first race, he finished 26th and while it is one of two results to be discarded, he will be under considerable pressure on the final day to avoid making any mistakes if he is to land his ninth World Championship title.
“I had a bad second race and kept seeing men from Cyprus being inspired. I could have had a better race but I didn’t blow it because I won the first race so my chances of winning the championships are still alive,” he said.
Kontides posted a third followed by a sixth to claw back eight points on Scheidt and already he was looking ahead to the last day. “My aim was to have my 16th from yesterday as a discard and I achieved that,” he said. “It was a very difficult last race because the wind dropped and the current was strong. The last downwind leg was nerve-racking because they came in from all sides but at the end of the day, I am second and lying just one point behind Robert.
“Tomorrow, I will have to be ready for all conditions and it is best not to think too much about it. The best sailors in the world are here and one moment of not being on top of your game could end up being very costly.”
Both Phillip Buhl of Germany and Nick Thompson fell foul of the rules, which in Thompson’s case has ended his campaign for a podium place. He once again proved he was one of the fastest in the fleet when he took second in the first race but then picked up his second yellow flag of the week, this time for a Rule 42 infringement.
“I am gutted because after my result in the first race, I was back up to 4th place overall which meant I was in with a chance of a medal,” he said afterwards. I was really shocked when they raised the flag – I haven’t had an infringement for years but at this event, I’ve had two and picked up an OCS as well. I just have to put it behind me and look ahead to my next event.”
Buhl was disqualified for being OCS on a black flag start in race 11 but is still in 5th place, 30 points behind Scheidt.
Another British sailor Alex Mills-Barton overcame the challenging conditions posed late afternoon to record his first win of the competition, crossing the finish line of a course shortened due to the growing darkness ahead of Jesper Stalheim of Sweden in second and Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia in third. He heads into the final day in 23rd place.
In the silver fleet, following a succession of general recalls and disqualifications, there were wins for Giovanni Cocculuto of Italy, who was then BFD in the next race and Tom Ramshaw of Canada.
The first race of the final day of the Laser Worlds will start at 11.00am GST with 15.00 set as the cut off time for the last start.
Full results below