At the 49er Worlds, taking place as a part of the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth, Australia, competitors are beginning to pour it on as points get tighter at the top. Sailors John Pink and Rick Peacock have managed to retain their lead by sailing a consistent series despite tricky conditions.
With a 9am start on Centre course, the Gold fleet sailed two races in shifty southerly breezes. Race 11 was a bit more consistent in velocity with the fleet running the course in just under 30 minutes.
Yann Rocheirieux and Matheius Frei (FRA) rounded the top mark first but were caught by Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) by the bottom gate who then were passed by the Toft Nielsen brothers (DEN) who never relinquished the lead. Rocheirieux/Frei settled for second and Marcin Czajkowski and Jacek Piasecki (POL) slid into third with regatta leaders Pink/Peacock (GBR) crossing in fourth. Outteridge/Jensen fell to 10th by the finish.
The second race of the day began in eight knots of breeze and slowly built but by the downwind leg, both sides of the fleet found big patches of lulls with collapsed kites and frustrated skippers. 'It was a challenge to stay in the shifts' commented Erik Storck of the US, but the fleet somehow managed to get through it with Allan Noerregaard and Peter Lang (DEN) winning by a 48 second margin. Charlie Ekberg and Kalle Torlen (SWE) and Czajkowski/Piasecki (POL) finished second and third.
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With the wind dying, the Race Management team took the opportunity to move the fleet to Owen course where they sailed the 12th race in building winds of 16 knots. The world’s top ranked team of Nico Delle Karth and Nicolaus Resch (AUT) finally won a race commenting, 'It feels really good to finally get a win under our belt...because it was what we practiced for and it was nice to sail in steady winds.'
Outteridge/Jensen managed to sail well enough to move within two points of the leaders and Toft Nielsen brothers nine points out of first. Tomorrow is anyone’s game and it’s game on for the Gold medal.
The Silver fleet held three races today with Jorge Lima and Jose Costa (POR) in the lead. Billy Gooderham and Ian Hogan (CAN) lead the Bronze fleet.
The final races will be held tomorrow on Leighton and Success courses. Fourteen countries will qualify for twenty of the entries for the 2012 Olympics to be held in Weymouth next August. There are twenty-nine nations entered in the 49er fleet in Perth. Full results can be found here
Perth ISAF Sailing World Championships website