Monday, 17 March 2008

Womens Laser Radial World Champs get under way in Takapuna

by Jodie Bakewell-White

Sari Multala (FIN) and Evi Van Acker (BEL) have the early lead with a win and a second place apiece at the 2008 Women’s Laser Radial World Championships which got under way today, 16th March, on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.

It was a warm sunny day on Auckland’s North Shore and a 20 knot south westerly breeze greeted sailors for race one of the regatta, which kicked off on time at 11am this morning. Winds eased slightly for race two and the fleet enjoyed excellent sailing conditions all day.

Van Acker enjoyed being back on the water for some top level competition, after being down with a virus. The Belgian demonstrated today that she’s back in top form with a stunning start to the regatta. Despite traditionally being more of a light air specialist Van Acker’s recent training paid off and she won the first race in the blue fleet.

“I think it’s the first time I’ve won a race in strong winds,” she said after racing today. “I’m usually more of a light wind sailor. But last month I’ve been training, and I’ve been getting better, and today was just great. I was so fired up because it’s been so long since I’ve done a real regatta.

“The first race I had a good start, good speed and I was far out in front from the start with an easy lead.

“In the second race I had a bad start. In the beginning it didn’t work out for me, I was on the wrong tack. But anyway I tried to climb up, I was, I think 7th or 8th at the top mark. I made too many mistakes on the downwind; I think I could have won the race,” continued Van Acker.

“But woah, great day, great result – I was crying after the first race. I’m really happy.”

Sari Multala of Finland had an equally good start to the regatta placing 2nd in race one in the yellow fleet and then following that up with a win in race two.

Both Sarah Blanck of Australia and Paige Railey of the USA also started strongly and share third place, both just two points adrift of the leaders. Blanck had a win and a 4th in racing today while Railey was 3rd and 2nd giving them both five points in total and ensuring that they are well placed in this world class fleet going into the second day of the five day series.

Behind them is France's Sarah Stayaert. With a 6th and a win on the water today she has 7 points in total and lies 5th overall on the leaderboard.

Jo Aleh is the best placed of the New Zealand contingent and sits in 11th place overall with two 7th places on the water today. The light air specialist suffered with a capsize but still managed a respectable result and is on equal points with Lizzie Vickers (GBR) in 10th.

Top twelve overall standings after two races

1st Sari Multala (FIN) 3 points (2, 1)
2nd Evi Van Acker (BEL) 3 points (1, 2)
3rd Sarah Blanck (AUS) 5 points (1, 4)
4th Paige Railey (USA) 5 points (3, 2)
5th Sarah Stayaert (FRA) 7 points (6, 1)
6th Charlotte Dobson (GBR) 8 points (5, 3)
7th Lijia Xu (CHN) 8 points (3, 5)
8th Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 12 points (4, 8)
9th Nathalie Brugger (SUI) 12 points (7, 5)
10th Lizzie Vickers (GBR) 14 points (8, 6)
11th Jo Aleh (NZL) 14 points (7, 7)
12th Katarzyna Szotzynska (POL) 16 points (10, 6)

Other NZ sailors
34th Miranda Powrie (NZL) 40 points (12, 28)
37th Cushla Hume-Merry (NZL) 41 points (8, 33)
46th Sara Winther (NZL) 45 points (26, 19)
79th Amanda Hargreaves (NZL) 77 points (32, 45)
84th Jane Monk (NZL) 83 points (46, 37)
86th Sarah Toothill (NZL) 85 points (45, 40)
95th Jessica Barrell (NZL) 93 points (46, 47)
96th Briar Dye-Hutchinson (NZL) 94 points (35, OCS)
101st Aevril Hibbard (NZL) 96 points (49, 47)

Takapuna Worlds

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