Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Wellingtonian is leading Kiwi Youth Sailor at Radial Worlds

from Cushla Hume-Merry (pictured above)

It was another hard day on the water for the Laser radials at the Takapuna Worlds, on Tuesday, 18th March, with light and variable winds boxing the compass from SW to NE and then NW. The fleet was trapped in the convergence zone but two races were completed with changing fortunes.

Race 4
I went left in Race 4, towards the shore, expecting to pick up the land shift which never eventuated leaving the other part of the fleet to sail over us. I finished 53rd and learnt some useful lessons but am reassured that my boat speed is OK in the light. Jo Aleh (NZ Olympic rep. 2008) finished 43rd.

Race 5
The first attempt at this race was abandoned at the third mark due to shifting wind, which was disappointing as I was 11th at the time. The Yellow fleet managed to complete their race whilst Blue fleet was sent ashore. We were called out on to the water later, but it was still very light and shifty. Better tactics saw me finish 15th, just 33 seconds after the leader, in really close racing.

I am the leading Kiwi youth sailor in the Blue Fleet, and have made the cut into the Gold Fleet for the final races. Spanish sailor Susanna Romero Steensma is currently the top youth sailor, lying in 21st place, and I am the fifth youth sailor in the fleet.

Cushla Hume-Merry

A more general report on races 4 and 5... from Jodie Bakewell-White

Lijia Xu (CHN) has hit the lead at the Women's 2008 Laser Radial World Championship and is three points ahead of Sarah Steyaert (FRA) who now lies second. Evi Van Acker (BEL) is just one point back in third overall.

It was a mixed day for most on the water today with some serious shuffling on the leader board as the day unfolded. Five races have now been completed with two days of the regatta remaining.

Light winds continued to frustrate race management and made for an eventful day on the water for the Women's Laser Radial fleet at the 2008 World Championships in Takapuna, North Shore City, New Zealand. The intention to start early today was thwarted by lack of breeze due to the large high sitting over New Zealand's upper North Island.

Race four did get underway at around 11am with the yellow fleet up first, sailing in a south westerly wind of 6-8 knots, followed by the blue fleet. The breeze eased and shifted and sailors had an on water delay of around an hour before race five got started, again the yellow fleet went first, sailing in 5-7 knots of wind which had shifted through to the south east.

Blue fleet were well into race five, with Jo Aleh (NZL) out to a four minute lead, just around the final mark and heading for the finish line when the race was abandoned with the dying breeze stalling the sailors towards the back of the fleet. Both fleets were back ashore by 4pm and while yellow fleet packed up for the day, blue were put on standby in the hope that race five could be re-raced and added to the leader board for all.

A light wind filled in an hour later from the north east and the blue fleet headed back out onto the course, finally getting a start away just before 6pm. Jo Aleh came out firing after the earlier disappointment and put a second on the scoreboard finishing behind Susanna Romero Steensma of Spain.

Lijia Xu (CHN) was also on hot form winning race four and then placing third in race five taking the overall lead now that she is able to discard her disqualification from Race 2. Two wins and two thirds give her 8 points in total as the regatta heads into the finals.

Sarah Steyaert (FRA) dropped back to second overall with a 2nd and then a 36th in racing today while Evi Van Acker (BEL) is still looking strong just one point behind. Van Acker was 2nd and 14th in today's races.

Paige Railey (USA) and Jo Aleh (NZL) share 4th place overall both on 20 points. Railey was consistent today with a 7th and an 8th while Aleh's day was mixed with a 43rd followed by a 2nd.

Romero Steensma was the stand-out performer of the day languishing back in 60th overall at the start of the day the Spaniard clearly mastered the tricky light winds coming home with two bullets today. She improved her standing by 39 places to now lie 21st overall.

Racing continues tomorrow with the fleet now splitting into gold and silver for finals with a start scheduled for 10am.

Olympic Qualification

With just six Olympic berths still available and 23 nations here in Auckland who have not yet qualified the battle for national Olympic qualification is on.

Currently Russia, Paraguay, Greece, Spain, Croatia and Ireland are the top six of the nations not yet Olympic qualified with Czechoslovakia remaining in touch.

PROVISIONAL Top twelve overall standings after five races

1st Lijia Xu CHN - 8 points (3, (DSQ), 1, 1, 3)
2nd Sarah Steyaert FRA - 11 points (6, 1, 2, 2, (36))
3rd Evi Van Acker BEL - 12 points (1, 2, 7, 2, (14))
4th Paige Railey USA - 20 points (3, 2, (DNF), 7, 8)
5th Jo Aleh NZL - 20 points (7, 7, 5, (43), 2)
6th Sarah Blanck AUS - 24 points (1, 4, 8, (42), 11)
7th Nathalie Brugger SUI - 31 points (7, 5, 14, (50), 5)
8th Katarzyna Szotzynska POL - 32 points (10, 6, 13, 4, (20))
9th Marit Bouwmeester NED - 40 points (4, 8, 16, (22), 13)
10th Karin Soderstrom SWE - 45 points (24, 10, 2, 9, (38))
11th Lizzie Vickers GBR - 45 points (8, 6, 15, 16, (31))
12th Sophie de Turkheim FRA - 46 points (4, (OCS), 9, 5, 28)

NZ placings
GOLD Fleet

5th Jo Aleh NZL - 20 points (7, 7, 5, (43), 2)
19th Sara Winther NZL - 53 points ((26), 19, 20, 6, 8)
53rd Cushla Hume-Merry NZL - 92 points (8, 32, 37, (53), 15)
56th Miranda Powrie NZL - 93 points (12, 27, 24, (40), 30)


3rd Sarah Tootill NZL - 101 points (45, 40, 10, (46), 6)
38th Briar Dye-Hutchinson NZL - 155 points (35, (OCS), 36, 45, 39)
43rd Jane Monk NZL - 159 points (45, 36, 36, 42, (53))
49th Jessica Barrell NZL - 176 points (46, 47, 45, 38, (56))
53rd Amanda Hargreaves NZL - 186 points (32, 45, 54, (58), 55)
55th Aevril Hibbard NZL - 197 points (48, 46, 44, (51), DNC)

Takapuna Worlds

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