Bronze for Thompson at Australian Laser Champs

Tom Slingsby - final of Australian Laser Championship - Sail Melbourne
Britain's Nick Thompson was able to raise his game to overatake Dutchman Rutger Van Schaardenburg and grab the bronze at the Australian Laser Championships.

World champion Tom Slingsby of Australia recovered to take the title after the leading four had all dropped deep into double figures in the final series of races.


Also recovering to take the top podium place was Sarah Blanck (AUS), who won the Laser Radial title at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron. Her two wins in the final two races giving her the Championship trophy. One of the world’s best light air specialists, Jo Aleh (NZL) finished the series second overall and six points behind Blanck, after finishing second in both races.

Slingsby, who scored a fifth in the final race of the Sail Melbourne event, floated close to the wind, his major rival Michael Leigh rising to the top again today after scoring third and second places. Leigh, who beat Slingsby at the Sydney International Regatta in December, fell down the leaderboard yesterday, but recovered in the light airs to finish only two points behind the 22 year-old world champion.

'I rounded the bottom mark the first time in second place, but fell into a hole on the left side of the course. Although I recovered some places, I couldn’t find my way back to the top,' Slingsby said of his 17th place.

'I’m still making plenty of mistakes, but I know what they are and I know I can fix them. I am taking this week off sailing to work on my fitness training and then I’ll get back into sail training,' said Slingsby, who has been chosen to represent Australia at the Beijing Games.

Of Leigh, Slingsby says: 'Mike’s sailing really smart. He had a bad day yesterday, but he got back on track today. He is sailing really well and will definitely be a threat at the World’s (at Terrigal) in February.'

Great Britain’s Nick Thompson and Dutchman Rutger Van Schaardenburg maintained fairly steady results throughout, the Brit coming unstuck in the final race with a 23rd place, Van Schaardenburg in the previous race with a 20th place, ending both sailors chances of winning gold or silver. Neither seemed to enjoy the light decreasing 10 knot nor-easterly breezes throughout the day.

Sarah Blanck hiking on final day of Laser Radial Championship - Sail Melbourne
Sarah Blanck pulled off two wins in the final two races of the Australian Laser Radial Women’s giving her the Championship trophy.

Jo Aleh (NZL) finished the series second overall and six points behind Blanck, after finishing second in both races.

Veronika Fenclova (Cze) finished third in the Championship, with Nathalie Brugger (SUI) fourth.

Leading British was Llizzie Vickers in sixth, with Andrea Brewster in seventh and Laura Baldwin tenth.

'I felt really comfortable today,' Blanck, who is heading to the Olympic Games next year, said. 'I was crook day before yesterday and didn’t sail. I didn’t feel much better yesterday; I just had to push through the day, but today it all came together,' she said.

Blanck went on to say: 'Jo (Aleh) is a light air specialist. I knew I had to beat her today to win the Championship and so it was pleasing to win both races.

'It’ll be interesting next week at the Asia Pacific’s at Sandringham Yacht Club, because the World’s top three ranked will be there; Tania Elias Calles (MEX), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA), Evi Van Acker (BEL) and also Sari Multala (FIN). I have to see what I can do against them,' Blanck said.

In the all-Aussie 4.7 fleet, Tasmanian Rohan Langford took the rest of the 46 competitors to the cleaners, finishing an incredible 23 points in front of second placed Stephen Collings (Vic) with another Victorian Jarrad Lincoln just one point behind.

Laser - Final overall leading positions
1 NSW SLINGSBY, Thomas 1 1 1 5 65 2 2 3 1 3 17 5 24
2 CAN LEIGH, Michael 2 3 5 2 1 2 1 2 8 34 3 2 26
3 GBR THOMPSON, Nick 3 2 4 1 2 3 10 1 6 2 6 23 30
4 NED VAN SCHAARDENBURG, Rutger 2 3 1 3 13 1 5 2 2 4 20 9 32
5 USA CAMPBELL, Andrew 12 7 4 4 4 8 4 8 12 5 10 1 55
6 EST KARPAK, Deniss 3 2 2 13 3 12 41 9 7 1 4 15 56
7 CAN WRIGHT, David 1 12 2 2 27 13 1 1 28 42 1 25 86
8 NED BOUWMEESTER, Roelof 4 1 3 7 10 7 13 5 34 13 34 3 87
9 CAN TORCHINSKY, Abe 15 5 12 19 6 10 7 11 11 11 2 10 89
10 CAN KALIN, Michael 11 9 13 10 11 9 3 8 9 18 65 6 94

Laser Radial - Final overall leading positions
1 VIC BLANCK, Sarah 2 1 2 3 3 1 1 62 5 16 1 1 20 Women
2 NZL ALEH, Jo 4 5 2 10 2 2 5 2 1 1 2 2 26 Women
3 CZE FENCOVA, Veronika 3 2 1 1 1 6 3 62 9 2 3 13 31 Women
4 SUI BRUGGER, Nathalie 6 3 3 4 4 2 5 3 12 12 10 5 51 Women
5 NED BOUWMEESTER, Marit 1 2 20 14 24 3 4 4 4 5 11 3 60 Women
6 GBR VICKERS, Llizzie 5 6 5 17 3 8 1 62 3 6 7 12 61 Women
7 GBR BREWSTER, Andrea 3 4 11 6 2 4 8 6 8 10 12 17 63 Women
8 TAS PRICE, Benjamin 8 3 4 16 5 8 10 3 2 13 17 16 72
9 QLD HAUSCHILDT, Klade 2 1 9 15 12 5 2 10 13 19 14 4 72
10 GBR BALDWIN, Laura 7 16 8 4 4 24 10 1 10 23 6 62 89 Women