Weymouth and Portland International Regatta -down to the wire

by ISAF 
Marit Bouwmeester going for Victory on Day 8 - Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011
At the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, the Olympic Test event, Marit Bouwmeester has taken the gold medal in the Laser Radial with the Medal Race still to go. The Dutch sailor has dominated the Laser Radial fleet almost from the outset with a tremendous display and she heads into the Medal Race with an unassailable thirty-two point lead.

On her day Bouwmeester said, 'I am very happy that I could finish everything today. It was really windy and quite shifty today but it’s always pretty tricky so I was happy with a four and two.'

After her superb performance in Weymouth Bouwmeester is eyeing up Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championship Laser Radial glory, 'Hopefully at the Perth 2011 ISAF Worlds I can get a world title behind me. Everything went well this week but Perth is a different venue and I am definitely going to train hard to do my best there.'

Paige Railey (USA) was the standout sailor of the day as the American recorded two stylish race wins in winds of 20-25 knots on the Weymouth Bay West course. Railey trailed Charlotte Dobson (GBR) round mark one and two in Race 9 but she powered ahead and won convincingly by 56 seconds. Her victory was not as emphatic in Race 10 but she held the lead from the start to finish 28 seconds ahead of Bouwmeester.

Railey is now hot on the heels of Evi Van Acker after the Belgian went 8-6 on the fifth day of Laser Radial sailing. Van Acker has 49 points and Railey is on 58 points ahead of the double points Medal Race on Friday.

Evi Van Acker going for victory on Day 8 - Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011

Just two points separate Andrew Murdoch (NZL), Tom Slingsby (AUS) and Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) with only the Medal Race to go in the Laser.

Murdoch had a three point lead overnight but Slingsby brought the deficit down to one after a bullet in Race 9 and an eighth in Race 10. Murdoch went 9-2 and van Schaardenburg, who did trail Murdoch by eight points, has brought the difference down to just two points after a fourth in Race 9 and a bullet in Race 10.

A fantastic Medal Race is on the cards and if tactics come into play Great Britain’s Paul Goodison (GBR) is still in with a shout as he sits in fourth on 56 points, just eight points behind Murdoch.

Ben Ainslie (GBR) extended his lead in the Finn after he recorded his third race win after eight races. Ainslie won Race 7 by a comfortable 51 second margin over Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO). The Finns raced on the Nothe course in Race 7 and Ainslie rounded three of four marks in first place. At the first mark he was 15 seconds behind Pieter Jan Postma (NED) but the Brit rounded the next mark seven seconds ahead of the trailing fleet and gradually extended his lead to take the bullet. Ainslie finished second in Race 8 and with 15 points he has a seven point lead over Pieter Jan Postma (NED) who won Race 8.

Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JPN) reduced the gap on Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) to just one point ahead of the Medal Race. Mills and Clark have led the Women’s 470 fleet from the start, but the Japanese sailors have slowly chipped away at their lead. With the Medal Race taking place on Friday at the Nothe the Brits are on 37 points and the Japanese girls are on 38 points. Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) are in third on 47 bullets after their bullet in Race 10. The days other race win went to Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (NZL) who are down in seventh place on 69 points.

Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA) take a 17 point into the Men’s 470 Medal Race after they recorded their eighth top five finish from ten Men’s 470 races. The French duo have epitomised consistency in Weymouth and a strong performance in the Medal Race will hand them the gold medal. Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page won Race 9 but did not finish Race 10 and are second on 49 points. Israel’s Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela have moved up to third place overall after their 3-2 today to move onto 58 points.

Pierre Leboucher and Garos Vincent maintaining their consistency on Day 8 - Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011

Only two races were possible in the 49er and Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) have moved back into pole position on 29 points after winning Race 10. Iker Martinez and Xabier Hernandez (ESP) are second on 32 points and Race 9 winners Emmanuel Dyen and Stephane Christidis (FRA) are seventh. The 49ers will continue tomorrow with Races 12, 13 and 14.

With strong winds and gusts of up to 30 knots reported on the Portland Harbour course the Stars were cancelled but Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) lead after six races. The Stars will resume sailing tomorrow with Races 7 and 8.

The Women’s Match Racing 5-8 place sail-off was scheduled today on the Portland Harbour course but racing was cancelled meaning Olivia Price (AUS) finishes in fifth followed by Mandy Mulder (NED), Lucy Macgregor (GBR) and Anna Kjellberg (SWE).

Tomorrow also sees the Women’s Match Racing Final and the Men’s and Women’s RS:X Medal Races. The Finns will also continue with racing scheduled to start at 12:00 local time.



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