Pepper hits top spot in latest ISAF Rankings

by ISAF 
David Giles (AUS) hard at work down the side of the Southern racing Star, skippered by Hamish Pepper (NZL).

Spain and New Zealand make their mark on the latest release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings on 7 March, with both nations bringing new sailors to the world #1 spots. Great Britain maintain their place as the top performing nation, but the challenge from Australia and Germany is intensifying.

Great Britain may retain their position as the top performing nation on the ISAF Rankings but the challenge from Australia, Germany and France is hotting up. Nick DEMPSEY's (GBR) fall from the top spot in the Men's RS:X means Britain's tally of sailors holding a #1 position is now matched by Australia and Germany with two apiece.

Aside from the Star and the Men's RS:X fleets which both now have new leaders, there have not been many major movements this Ranking release. Paul GOODISON (GBR) and Christina BASSADONE and Saskia CLARK (GBR) have managed to maintain their world #1 status in the Laser and Women’s 470 Rankings and are both heading towards the significant achievement of spending a full year at the top of their respective Ranking lists.

Spain And New Zealand Challenge Whilst Australia and Germany match Great Britain with their sailors in #1 positions, Spain and New Zealand are also mounting their challenges as nations to be reckoned with. The meteoric rise of Hamish PEPPER (NZL) in the Star class has been well documented and he now gives New Zealand their first #1 Ranked sailor since June 2006. The Star class is also the site for Poland's return to the top nation table as another ex-single-handed sailor Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ (POL) claims the #3 position. Spain hosts the other #1 new comer in the RS:X to complete a double for the nation as Marina ALABAU (ESP) holds onto the position she claimed at the last Ranking release. With the first multi-class event of the European season getting underway in Palma, the Spanish will looking for the advantage of home waters to improve their Ranking positions further. The European season will soon be in full swing and there are many sailors who will be striving to reach the top ranking positions either as they return to form or as they stake their claims for Olympic glory. Coming Up It is going to be a busy time for the Star fleet before the next Ranking release with their South American, Western and Eastern Hemisphere Championships taking place. The Laser will have completed their Central and South American Championships and Tornado World Champions Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) will be in Palma with their sights set on completing a full house. Palma is also preparing for their annual influx of Olympic class sailors as the ISAF Grade 2 HRH Princess Sofia Trophy gets underway at the end of March and signalling the European Olympic circuit is well underway. About The Rankings The ISAF World Sailing Rankings rate skippers based on their performances over the last two years. Skippers score points by competing in ISAF Graded events. The top finishers at all ISAF Graded events score Rankings points, with the highest points awarded to the event winner and then decreasing down relative to position. The most points are up for grabs at World Championship events, followed by ISAF Grade C1 events, Grade 1, Grade 2 etc. For more on how the Rankings work CLICK HERE. The tables on the right hand side show the new events included in this Ranking release. The next Rankings release will be on 18 April 2007, following the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy.  Men's Windsurfer - RS:X Women's Windsurfer - RS:X Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470 Skiff - 49er Heavyweight Dinghy - Finn Multihull - Tornado Women's Keelboat - Yngling Men's Keelboat - Star 1. Men's Windsurfer - RS:X
ISAF GradeNationEvent
Grade C1BRARS:X South Americans
Grade 1 NZLSail Auckland
Grade 2GREAthens Eurolymp Week
Grade 3ESPAndalusian Olympic

Week
Back at #1 - Ivan PASTOR LAFUENTE

© Javier Rios
Ivan PASTOR(ESP) has reclaimed the #1 position he briefly held back in May 2006 after adding a fourth place at the ISAF Grade C1 RS:X South American Championshipsto his consistent results at top events and moving up two places. There are two new appearances in the top five, both making big gains. Nicolas HUGUET(FRA) climbs six places to #2 whilst the South American Championshipssilver medallist Joao RODRIGUES(POR) also moves up six places to #4. Tom ASHLEY(NZL) returns to the world top 10 from where he skidded out in February's release after claiming the RS:X South American Championshiptitle to add to his impressive string of podium finishes in recent months. A climb of six places gives him a new position of #9.Julien BONTEMPS(FRA) returns to the top 20 at #18 following his victory at Sail Aucklandand now counts results from the maximum seven events. Maxim OBEREMKO(UKR) who led for most of the regatta, came in second but retains his ranking position of #7, whilst bronze medallist and the first person to ever sit at the #1 position in the RS:X Rankings back in February 2006, Jon-Paul TOBIN(NZL) shifts up one place to #21.There are seven new entries to this ranking, the highest being Dulter MANHAES (BRA) who uses his 13 place at the South Americansto enter the rankings at #121. Three of the new entries come from the ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp which was won by Byron KOKKALANIS(GRE). Andreas KARIOLOU (GRE) is the highest of those new entries at #155 after claiming the bronze medal in Athens.Men's Windsurfer ISAF World Sailing Rankings2. Women's Windsurfer - RS:X
ISAF GradeNationEvent
Grade 1NZLSail Auckland
Grade 3 ESPAndalusian Olympic

Week
Alessandra SENSIN (ITA) dominant

in Auckland

© Jeff Crow, Sport the Library
The Women's RS:X fleet are counting the results from two events, the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Aucklandand the ISAF Grade 3 Andalusian Olympic Week and there is no change to the top three positions. Marina ALABAU(ESP) holds firm at the #1 position and despite her victory in Andalusia, her points remain the same as the number she gains are not enough to be included in her top seven results. Bryony SHAW(GBR) stays at #2 just 75 points behind ALABAU, whilst Lise VIDAL(FRA) hangs on to the #3 position. Moving up to #4 and #5 are Olga MASLIVETS(UKR) and Flavia TARTAGLINI(ITA), whilst Marta HLAVATY(POL) slips two places down to #6. HLAVATYis the first of five Polish sailors in the top 20 whilst the rise of one place by Charline PICONbrings the number of French sailors in the top 20 up to three.There are new entries for two sailors, Sigrid RONDELEZ(BEL) and Alisha KAWALLA(AUS). Sail Aucklandwas the first outing at a Ranked RS:X regatta for Belgiums Olympic representative in the Mistral in 2004and she finished in 13th place, which brings her into the rankings at #76. KAWALLA, Australia's 2006 ISAF Youth Worlds representative enters at #75 after posting a 12th place finish in Auckland. The other place changes through the Women's RS:X rankings are fairly small and the rise of ten places by another Youth Worlds competitor is the largest of the fleet. The silver medallist in Weymouth, Maayan DAVIDOVICH(ISR) finished fourth in Auckland, now counts results from five of a possible seven regattas and moves up ten places to #30. The gold medal in Aucklandwent to World Champion Alessandra SENSINI(ITA) and she now moves up five places to #43. SENSINIis only counting results from three regattas but they are all first places and it is surely just a matter of time before she breaks into the world top 10.Women's Windsurfer ISAF World Sailing Rankings3. Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser
ISAF GradeNationEvent
Grade 1 NZLSail Auckland
USALaser Midwinters East
Grade 2NZLLaser New Zealand

Championships
Grade 3ARGSemana de Mar del Plata
ESPAndalusian Olympic

Week
GREAlexander the Great Cup
GREAthens Eurolymp Week
Paul GOODISON still #1

© Tomasz Ignatowicz
Seven events are counting points for this Ranking release, including the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Auckland and ISAF Grade 1 Laser Midwinters East. There are however, no changes to the top five positions and Paul GOODISON(GBR) continues his lengthy reign at the #1 position. Tom SLINGSBY(AUS) stays at #2 and Michael LEIGH(CAN) at #3 and none of the top five have added new points to their overall totals. The only climber in the top ten is Bernard LUTTMER(CAN) who uses a second place finish at the Midwinters East to move up one place to #8. First place ahead of LUTTMERwas world #1 GOODISON, with another British sailor, Nick THOMPSONclaiming the bronze medal and moving up seven places to #23. The gold medal at Sail Auckland was won by Andrew MURDOCH(NZL) after a close fight with silver medallist Luka RADELIC(CRO). MURDOCH's Ranking position of #5 does not change whilst RADELICis the only other climber in the top 20, moving up two places to #16.17 new sailors join the Laser Rankings and the highest is James SANDALL (NZL) at #281 following his 16 place finish at Sail Auckland. Most of the position changes in the top 100 are relatively minor, just one or two places, except that is for Robert GODWIN(GBR) who makes a massive jump of 50 places from #125 up to #75, following an 18 place finish in Auckland and 17 at the New Zealand Nationals which gives him seven results to count for the first time. Another big climber who sneaks inside the top 100 for the first time is Josh JUNIOR(NZL) who won the bronze medal at the New Zealand Nationals and placed seventh at Sail Auckland. Still only counting six event scores, JUNIORmoves up 65 places to #99.Men's One Person Dinghy ISAF World Sailing Rankings4. Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
ISAF GradeNationEvent
Grade 1NZLSail Auckland
USALaser Midwinters East
Grade 2 NZLLaser New Zealand

Championships
Grade 3GREAlexander the Great Cup
GREAthens Eurolymp Week
Jo ALEH enters the top five

© Nelson Mail
Evi VAN ACKER(BEL) holds on to the world #1 spot for the second consecutive Ranking release, although the European Champion’s lead Tania ELIAS CALLES(MEX) is cut to just 20 points. Behind the top two, Anna TUNNICLIFFE(USA) remains in third place after her win at the ISAF Grade 1 Laser Midwinters Eastin Florida, whilst Jo ALEH (NZL) gains two places to #4 after a fourth place at the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Aucklandand a second at the ISAF Grade 2 Laser New Zealand Championships. Winner in Auckland Krystal WEIR(AUS) is unmoved at #7, although runner up Sophie DE TURCKHEIM(FRA) climbs three places to #12.New Zealand National Champion Miranda POWRIE(NZL) moves up from 46 to 35 after getting the better of ALEH at both events on their home waters.Outside of the world top 20, Virginia KRAVARIOTI (GRE) moves up one place to #28 after winning both the ISAF Grade 3 Alexander the Great Cup and ISAF Grade 3 Athens Eurolymp on her home waters.Women's One Person Dinghy ISAF World Sailing Rankings5. Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470
ISAF GradeNationEvent
Grade 1NZLSail Auckland
Grade C2 CHI470 South Americans
Grade 2GREAthens Eurolymp Week
Grade 3CHIAndalusian Olympic

Week
Grade 3ESPAlexander the Great Cup

Mathew BELCHER and Nick BEHRENS

stay at #1

© Dan Nerney/Rolex

Mathew BELCHERand Nick BEHRENS (AUS) hold their top spot in the Men’s 470 Rankings, with the world top 10 unchanged in this release. Gidi KLIGERand Udi GAL (ISR) at #2 are sandwiched by another Australia crew Nathan WILMOTand Malcolm PAGE (AUS). Whilst there are no changes of note at the top of the Rankings, further back there are some interesting moves. Geoff WOOLLEYand Mark OVERINGTON (NZL) do not count the points from their victory at the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Auckland and stay at #30. The Kiwi crew won in Auckland thanks to a brilliant comeback in the Medal Race having been pushed all the way by 16 year olds Carl EVANSand Peter BURLING (NZL). After back-to-back 420 World Championship titles, EVANSand BURLING seemed untroubled by the step up to the 470, and despite narrowly missing out on the title in Auckland, they still finished above the top Ranked Kiwi team of Stephen KEENand Philip KEEN (NZL). The second place sees EVANSand BURLING debut at #214.Following on from the ISAF Grade C2 470 South Americans, won emphatically by Matias BUHLERand Marcos LAMAS (ARG), five Chilean, one Argentinean and one Uruguayan team make their debut on the 470 Rankings. Alberto GONZÁLEZand Diego GONZÁLEZ (CHI) were the best of the rest in Viña de Mar and enter the Rankings at #136.In a Greek-dominated fleet at the ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp, Panagiotis MANTISand Theodoros POLYCHRONIDIS (GRE) came out top of the pile, although they remain unchanged at #23.Men's Two Person Dinghy ISAF World Sailing Rankings6. Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470

Christina BASSADONE & Saskia

CLARK heading for a year at the top

© Skip Whyte

Christina BASSADONEand Saskia CLARK (GBR) are closing in on a year at the top of the Women’s 470 Rankings, with the consistent Brits once more untouched in the world #1 spot. With the world top 20 completely unchanged, double World Champions Marcelien DE KONINGand Lobke BERKHOUT (NED) remain at #2 followed by Ingrid PETITJEANand Nadege DOUROUX (FRA).With the ISAF Sailing World Championshipsand Olympic Qualification coming ever closer, the strength of Women’s 470 sailing across the world is demonstrated with crews from 15 different nations in the world top 20. Europe occupy the top five places, but strong challengers are also emerging from elsewhere. 2004 ISAF Youth World ChampionsElsie RECHICHIand Tessa PARKINSON (AUS) have eased themselves into the senior circuit with an impressive string of results over the past two years, whilst Ai KONDOand Naoko KAMATA (JPN) made remarkable progress last year, ending on a massive high with the silver medal at the Worlds. Currently at #23 in the Rankings, the Japanese crew look certain to break into the world top 20 later in the year.Another name to watch is the talented 19 year old Adi GILBOA(ISR), sailing with the more experienced Vered BOUSKILA (ISR). In their first year together the pair put together some terrific results, including a victory at Hyères.Women's Two Person Dinghy ISAF World Sailing Rankings7. Skiff - 49er

Iker MARTINEZ & Xavier

FERNANDEZ looking to strike gold on

home waters

© Lee Whitehead

The world top 20 are unchanged in the latest release of the 49er Rankings, with Jan-Peter PECKOLTand Hannes PECKOLT (GER) holding onto their #1 spot. Heading into the start of the European season, Pietro SIBELLOand Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA) and Marcus BAURand Hannes BAUMANN (GER) lie just behind the leading pair in the #2 and #3 spots respectively. With no new events counting in this Ranking release it is no surprise there is little movement in the Rankings, although that is all set to change in the next Ranking, which follows the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy. Long time Ranking leaders and reigning World Champions Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR) are well placed to mount a challenge to reclaim the world #1 spot, currently at #5 in the Rankings, one place behind British team mates and European Champions Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR). Also in the top 10, Olympic Champions Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ (ESP) are sure to be a force to be reckoned with on their home waters in Palma. At #10, Morgan LARSONand Pete SPAULDING (USA) are the current form team on their circuit, after taking off both the Rolex Miami OCR and North Americans.Skiff ISAF World Sailing Rankings8. Heavyweight Dinghy - Finn
ISAF GradeNationEvent
Grade 2 FRASemaine Internationale

Cannes
GREAthens Eurolymp Week
Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN

still #1

© Dan Nerney/Rolex
Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN(DEN) stays top of the pile in the Finn Rankings, as the top sailors consolidate their positions in the latest release. Dan SLATER(NZL) and Ed WRIGHT(GBR) are unmoved in the #2 and #3 spots respectively, as are the rest of the world top 20.Despite the lack of movement, there were some early pointers to form before the European season hits top gear, with ISAF Grade 2 events in both France and Greece. Gasper VINCEC(SLO) won the Semaine Internationale Cannes, whilst the Athens Eurolymp title went to home favourite Emilios PAPATHANASIOU(GRE). Further back a third place in Athens sees Alexandros DRAGOUTSIS(GRE) move up eight places to become the second Greek in the world top 50, whilst the young Frenchman Pierre-Alexis PONSOTalso climbs eight places to #72 thanks to a third in Cannes. Looking ahead to the European season and the ISAF Sailing World Championshipsin Cascais, Portugal, HOEGH-CHRISTENSENcurrently appears to have a firm grasp on the Finn fleet, and is looking in a strong position as Palma approaches. Heavyweight Dinghy ISAF World Sailing Rankings9. Multihull - Tornado
Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn

ASHBY stay at #1

© 2006 Tornado Worlds Media
Darren BUNDOCKand Glenn ASHBY (AUS) remain top of the Tornado Rankings, with the World Champs set to take their world #1 status into the European Championships in Palma. Although there are no new events counting in the latest release of the Tornado Rankings, the Australian pair further added to their reputation as the top team on two hulls with a hard-fought win at the F18 Worlds in Australia. Fernando ECHAVARRIand Anton PAZ (ESP) go to the Europeans on their home waters in the world #2 spot, with the Spanish crew working their way out of a lean spell and starting to look more like the team that took World and European honours in 2005. In the world #3 spot, the German crew of Johannes POLGARand Florian SPATZEHOLZ (GER) have proved themselves one of the most consistent Tornado crews over the past two years. Multihull ISAF World Sailing Rankings10. Women's Keelboat - Yngling
Xiaqun SONG - one to watch

© ISAF
It is a case of 'as you were' in the Yngling World Rankings, with the world top 20 completely unchanged in the latest release. Ulrike SCHUEMANN, Ute HOEPFNER and Julia BLECK (GER) will go into the European season in the world #1 spot, closely followed by the Russian teams of Vlada ILIENKO, Nina SHTROMERGER and Ekaterina KOVALENKO and Anna BASALKINA, Ekaterina MAXIMOVA and Vlada UKRAINSTSERA.With little movement in the Rankings and no new events counting in the latest release, March provides an ideal moment to take a look outside the top places and identify some names to watch in the coming months. Mandy MULDER(NED) and her Dutch team excelled in Qingdao last year to win the Olympic Test Event, but missed out on Miami in January. The Dutch have three boats entered for Palma, and it will be interesting to see if MULDER gets the helm again or they continue with their previous policy of rotation. Another name to watch in Palma will be Xiaqun SONG (CHN), who will helm one of two Chinese Yngling crews. Having made the switch from the 470, SONG provided one of the surprise performances at the Olympic Test Event last year, beating off a host of the class’ top names to win the bronze medal. Silja LEHTINEN (FIN) only started her Yngling campaign last year, but has already made quick strides in the class, moving up to #24 in the Rankings, despite having only competed in three events. Other newcomers to the Yngling fleet are Athens gold medallists in the 470 and Europe respectively, Sofia BEKATOROU(GRE) and Siren SUNDBY (NOR). Last, but by no means least is Yngling gold medal winning helm from Athens Shirley ROBERTSON(GBR), currently propping up the Rankings at #54. Expect to see her shoot up the Rankings as the year progresses, with her new crew Annie LUSH and Lucy MACGREGOR already proving their ability with a silver medal finish helmed by Helena LUCAS(GBR) in Qingdao. In their one event together as a team, ROBERTSON took gold ahead of MULDER and British rival and former crew, Sarah AYTON.Women's Keelboat ISAF World Sailing Rankings11. Men's Keelboat - Star
Fredrik LOOF and Anders

EKSTROM are back in the

world top 5

© Dan Nerney/Rolex
World Champion Hamish PEPPER(NZL) hits the top spot in the Star Rankings along with coach and stand-in crew Dave GILES. Since PEPPERtransferred from the Laser and teamed up with Carl WILLIAMS in 2006, the Kiwi Star team has gone from nowhere to World domination.After a strong series of results in Europe last year, PEPPERand WILLIAMS’ scored a fourth place at the Europeans, then a surprise win at the Star Worlds in the USA, won the North Americans shortly after, before PEPPERand GILES placed second in Miami. That string of results sees them displace Robert SCHEIDTand Bruno PRADA (BRA) in the top spot and underline their position as the team to beat in the Star fleet. Although no new events are counting in this release, there are several more changes at the top of the Rankings, with Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZand Dominik ZYCKI (POL) moving into the #3 spot behind Xavier ROHARTand Pascal RAMBEAU (FRA). Also climbing up from #9 to #6 are Diego NEGRIand Luigi VIALE (ITA), the European Champions, and Mark MENDELBLATTand Mark STRUBE (USA), who become the third American team in the world top 10.Men's Keelboat ISAF World Sailing RankingsThe next Rankings release will be on 18 April 2007, following the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy. 
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