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Japanese 470 Girls beat Mens World champions

by Di Pearson on 12 Jan 2006
Nathan Outteridge/Ben Austin (AUS) lie in second place overall in the 49er class. Jeff Crow/ Sport the Library
Excellent results at Sail Melbourne for sailors from all around the Asia Pacific today. In the major upset of Day Four, 470 world champions Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page (AUS) were beaten to the finish line by Japanese girls Yuka Yoshisako/Noriko Ohkuma in Race 8, the last of the day. It is rare for a Women’s team to beat their male counterparts, but the light and tricky conditions today provided just the right ingredients.

‘We’ll never live this down,’ said skipper Wilmot. Up till today, Wilmot/Page were the only world champion Men to be unbeaten by a Women’s crew. ‘Not anymore. We caught them on the run home, but then we stuffed up a gybe – we begged them to let us past them, but they just laughed at us. To make it worse, when they came ashore, they parked their boat right next to us and they keep laughing,’ said a bemused Wilmot.

‘Of course we are happy to beat them,’ said Yoshisako. The girls, a new pairing in the early stages of their Olympic campaign, are having their first trip to Sail Melbourne.

Leaders throughout the 470 competition, Mat Belcher and Nick Behrens crossed the start line early so were scored an OCS. This result puts them on equal points for first place.

Local Olympic hopeful, Krystal Weir (AUS) has extended her Laser Radial lead to four points, with Czechoslovakian Veronika Fenclova second placed. Weir, despite normally struggling in light breeze, won Race 8 – their last for the day.

China’s Shen Xiaoying is third placed overall, but it was Singaporean Manyi Lo who also enjoyed the light stuff, winning the earlier Race 7.

‘We got up to about 8 knots out there, but at one stage it was only around 1 knot,’ said New Zealand Radial sailor, Sara Winther.

Athens Olympian Anthony ‘Nocka’ Nossiter had a return to form with bullets in Races 7 and 8, to lead the Finn class from Melbourne 20 year-old Ricky Ironmonger.

Time out with a shin injury has not done much to dampen the enthusiasm of Tom Slingsby (AUS), who scored a bullet in Race 8 to extend his lead over Matias Del Solar (CHI) to five points, with Britain’s Mark Howard still third.

Darren Bundock with rent a crew Josh Fugill scored a 2-1 result to extend their lead of the series by eight points. Fugill, a former Youth champion, has picked up the ball nicely, replacing Bundock’s injured crew member Glenn Ashby, at short notice.

Olympic Mistral medal collectors, New Zealanders Aaron McIntosh and Bruce Kendall have moved into second place following 1-2 results in their early foray in the Tornado class, finishing 1-2 results as they come to grips with sailing on the Bay.

ISAF ranked No. 4 in the world, Briton’s Leigh McMillan and Will Howden, suffered in the conditions today and have dropped to third overall. ’Really light, really tricky and really shifty,’ said a frustrated Howden.

Nicky Bethwaite/Julie Grimshaw/Petronella De Jong (AUS) remain unperturbed by the competition in the Yngling keelboat and now lead the competition by six points with 2-1 results today. The brand new Australian combination of Nicky Souter/Angela Farrell/Sarah Willmot remains second. The mixed crew Jean-Claude Strong/Nev Wittey/Ruth McCance moved into third place today, following their first win of the series in the earlier Race 7.

The 49er competition is tight, with Victorian sailors William Phillips/Jon Newman leading on count back from the Japanese pair of Kenjiro Todoroki/Kenji Takahashi, with Nathan Outteridge/Ben Austin hot on their heels just two points away, while Peter Russell has reclaimed his lead of the 2.4mR class which features both able-bodied and disabled sailors.

China continues to dominate the RS: X Women’s; Chen Qiubin leads following two third places, from Duan Mingli who won Race 7 and placed fourth in Race 8. Hong Kong’s Wai Man Chan makes up the top three, on equal points with Mingli, but relegated to third on count back.

In the Men’s, the Dutch are showing the way. Casper Bouman (NED) has streaked ahead in the Mens, although he posted his worst result of 18th in Race 7, which he subsequently used as a drop. New Zealand’s JP Tobin is second overall on 20 points with Joeri Van Dijk (NED) third, only two points away. Both Dutchmen contested the Sail Melbourne Formula Worlds in December where Bouman finished 15th and Van Dijk finished 19th.

The Invited Classes held their first races today, with a Thomas Burton the leader in the OK Dinghy class from his father Peter Burton, Hugh and Bronwyn Ridgway lead the Tasar from Paul Ridgway and Andrea Chong.

Sail Melbourne is made possible by the support of event sponsors: Sport & Recreation Victoria, Collex, Parks Victoria; associate sponsors Bayside City Council and Menere's BMW Brighton and support sponsors Ronstan International, Schenker Australia, City of Kingston and the City of Port Philip.

Racing continues tomorrow on Port Phillip.
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