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Beijing- Australian 470 crews sail into the lead

by Nicole Browne, AST Media on 12 Aug 2008
2008 Olympic Regatta - 470 Women - Race 2 © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

The Australian Men's and Women's 470 crews have both taken the lead on a day where the big challenge for sailors was choosing the correct side of the competition course from which to make the most of wind shifts.

Perth's Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson have taken a clear lead in the Women's 470 class. Now posting nine points, they have an eight point lead on their closest rivals Spain (17 points), while The Netherlands are third (18 points). Rechichi and Parkinson crossed the line fourth and then led throughout the next race to cross the line 41 seconds ahead of the nearest pursuing boat.

'Our aim is to be consistent - we sailed conservatively, did nothing extreme and got ourselves into a good position,' said Rechichi.

'We had good boat speed and we just, from now on, want to maintain our rhythm and enjoy sailing in these conditions.

'It's still early but it is nice to get an early win.'

Their training partners Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page finished both today's races in third to give them a total of 17 points. The pair showed their class by continually gaining ground from mid-fleet starts to post solid results and claim a one point lead over France in second (18 points) while Spain is third (25 points).

In the Women's RS:X, Australia's Jessica Crisp overcame cramps to bag a third and an eighth. With only six knots of breeze it was a tough, very physical day for competitors who had to pump sails constantly to make headway. Crisp is now in third place overall with 17 points, just two points behind Spain in second place (15 points). China leads the fleet with six points.

There are six races to go until the RS:X and 470 classes' medal races.

The Laser and Laser Radial sailors both had a tough first day of competition, with Tom Slingsby and Sarah Blanck struggling to choose the right side of the start line to work wind shifts to their advantage.

Sarah Blanck improved in both races, working her way up through the fleet each time. Finishes of sixth and 11th put her fifth overall at the end of the day on 17 points. The USA leads with nine points, followed by Belgium (11 points) and France (12 points).

World Laser Number One Tom Slingsby has work to do tomorrow after finishes of 21st and 22nd (in a fleet of 43) put him 23rd overall on 43 points. However, Slingsby regularly fights back after setbacks and the regatta is far from over with eight races to go until the Laser medal race. New Zealand is leading on seven points, Italy is second (nine points) and Argentina is third (13 points).

As a quick snapshot
Women's 470 - 1st Overall
Men's 470 - 1st Overall
Women's RS:X - 3rd Overall
Laser Radial - 5th Overall
Laser - 23rd Overall

Racing Tomorrow - Wednesday 13 August
470 continue racing - races 5 and 6 scheduled
49ers resume racing - races 7, 8 and 9 scheduled
Yngling and Finn resume racing - races 7 and 8 scheduled
Laser and Laser Radial continue racing - races 3 and 4 scheduled
RS:X class has a rest day scheduled

Quotes from Boats
Before I compete I always:....... 'Relax by reading a book or doing a jigsaw puzzle.' - Sarah Blanck, Laser Radial
Zhik Warehouse Sale 660x82T Clewring CruisingColligo Marine 660x82

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