Walsh & Barney top GBR at Tornado Worlds

Andrew Walsh and Edward Barney (GBR) come off the startline Tornado Worlds, Day 1, Race 1
The German crew of Roland Gaebler and Gunnar Struckman have come out on top after day one at the 2008 Tornado World Championship in New Zealand. John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree of the USA are in second and Mitch Booth and Pim Nieuwenhuis of the Netherlands are in third place. Britain's Andrew Walsh and Ed Barney are fourth after two races.

The stormy conditions experienced in Auckland over the weekend abated for day one of the 2008 Tornado World Championship today. 51 Tornados took to the water under blue sunny skies and a shifty south westerly breeze of around 12 to 18 knots.

Gaebler and Struckman, were third in both races sailed today and lead the fleet at the end of day one with a narrow one point margin.

“We are leading overall after two races, so that is a good start,” said Gunnar Struckman after racing today. “We were never in the top three around the top mark, but climbed through the fleet, by getting the shifts right, so we are happy with that.”

Hot on their tail in the standings are John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree representing the USA. The Americans were second in race one behind and then fifth in race two to hold second overall at this early stage in the regatta.

Then equal on nine points in third and fourth are Mitch Booth and Pim Nieuwenhuis of the Netherlands and Brits Andrew Walsh and Edward Barney. Walsh and Barney had a fifth and a fourth place, Leigh McMillain, expected to be in with the leading group had a 20th in the first race and 21st in the second race to be 21 overall.

Meanwhile defending world champions Fernando Echavarri and Anton Paz of Spain opened the regatta with a win in race one but weren’t able to follow that up crossing in 14th place in race two.

It was mixed fortunes also for Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle of Canada who were 21st in race one and then took the gun in the second race of the day. “The wind strength ranged from 12 - 18 knots, but very shifty,” said Johansson. “Up to 30 degree shifts with holes, so made it difficult.”

“In the 2nd race we managed to pick the first shift, which was the key to winning it. We are trying to win one of the remaining four Olympic spots left and it is a very high standard.”

Another surprise at the end of the first day is to see hot favourites Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby of Australia lying 19th in the overall standings. The pair who has a string of recent wins in the class including Singapore Airlines Sail Auckland sailed on the same waters just a week ago were 14th and 23rd in racing on day one.

In what promises to be a hard fought battle Canada, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and the Ukraine are currently the best placed of the nine nations who are on the hunt for one of the four remaining Olympic places to be decided at the this event.

This puts the pressure on double Olympic gold medallists and reigning Olympic champions, Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher of Austria who are also fighting for a spot after failing to qualify the country at the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Portugal last year.

Racing resumes tomorrow with a planned start time of 1 o’clock and a further two races scheduled.

2008 Tornado World Championship - standings after day one

1st GER Roland Gaebler Gunnar Struckman 3 3 6
2nd USA John Lovell Charlie Ogletree 2 5 7
3rd NED Mitch Booth Pim Nieuwenhuis 7 2 9
4th GBR Andrew Walsh Edward Barney 5 4 9
5th FRA Yann Guichard Alexandre Guyander 4 9 13
6th ESP Fernando Echavarri Anton Paz 1 14 15
7th ITA Francesco Marcolini Edoardi Bianchi 11 7 18
8th CAN Oskar Johansson Kevin Stittle 21 1 22
9th BEL Carolijn Brouwer SEbastian Godefroid 12 11 23
10th NZL Aaron McIntosh Mark Kennedy 17 8 25
11th PUR Enrique Figueroa Jorge Hernandez 8 17 25
12th ARG Santiago Lange Carlos Espinola 15 10 25
13th UKR Pavlo Kalynchev Andriy Shanfranyuk 9 19 28
14th GBR Rob Wilson Mark Bulkeley 13 15 28
15th RUS Andrey Kirilyuk Valeriy Ushkov 16 13 29
16th GRE Iordanis Paschalidis Konstantinos Trigonis 6 24 30
17th FRA Xavier Revil Cristophe Espagnon 18 12 30
18th AUT Roman Hagara Hans Peter Steinacher 10 25 35
19th AUS Darren Bundock Glen Ashby 14 23 37
20th FRA Billy Besson Arnaud Jarlegan 19 20 39
21st ESP Toni Rivas Fabian Escude 34 6 40
22nd DEN Allan Norregaard Michael Risoer 22 18 40
23rd GBR Leigh McMillan Will Howden 20 21 41
24th AUT Thomas Zajac Thomas Czajka 29 16 45
25th GER Johannes Polgar Florian Spalteholy 27 22 49
26th GER Tino Mittlemeier Niko Mittlemeier 23 32 55
27th GBR John Gimson Stuart Bithell 26 29 55
28th NZL Rex Sellers Brett Sellers 32 26 58
29th GER Eckart Kaphengst Rasmus Topsch 28 30 58
30th AUS Rohan langworthy Jack Punch Benson 25 34 59
31st BRA Bruno Di Bernaldi Mario Tinoco 33 27 60
32nd RUS Sergey Dzhienbaev Maxim Semenov 24 40 64
33rd CHN You Jia Lao Xiu Ke Chen 30 37 67
34th NZL Paul Francis Aaron Duncan 40 28 68
35th POL Piotr Kowalewski Maciey Klosowicz 37 31 68
36th AUS Brett Burvill Ryan Duffield 35 33 68
37th NZL Bruce Kendall Blair Tuke 31 38 69
38th NZL Dave Shaw Susan Shaw 36 35 71
39th NZL Nigel Williams Jeremy Stephenson 38 36 74
40th VEN Saba Yamil Cendiza Gonzala 39 39 78
41st CHN Bo Lin Shanfeng Yang 44 42 86
42nd AUS Paul Peterson Matt Thackray 42 44 86
43rd GER/NZL Justus Wolf Justus Maus 45 45 90
44th NZL David Mead Chris Burgess 48 43 91
45th AUS Allan Gamble Kim Nicholas 46 46 92
46th AUS Damian Ford Mark Edmonds 52 DNS 41 93
47th AUS/GBR Stephen Medwell Stuart Offer 41 52 DNF 93
48th GBR Tom Phipps Marcus Lynch 43 52 DNF 95
49th AUS Paul Raymond Nicholas Raymond 49 48 97
50th NZL William Caunce Andrew Springford 52 DNF 47 99
51st CHN An Jie Lu Xue Hai Zhuang 47 52 DNF 99