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Tom Burton moves into lead of Laser Worlds

by Australian Sailing Team 8 Jul 01:17 PDT
Burton Tom - 2019 Laser World Championship at Sakaiminato, Japan © Junichi Hirai / Bulkhead Magazine Japan

Australia's Tom Burton, the Rio Olympic Laser gold medallist, has moved into the lead of the Laser Worlds in a timely fashion as the first day of Gold fleet racing got under way in Miho, Japan on Sunday local time.

Burton was holding sixth place heading into the Gold fleet finals, but eighth and second places on the fourth day of competition was a far cry from the rest of the top ten, who each scored their worst results of the regatta to-date. All bar Burton had placings in the high teens, some of them in both races.

Burton, who now leads yesterday's frontrunner, Sam Meech (NZL) by six points, explained: "It was a tough day. We left the beach in around 10 knots or so, but it died quite quickly to around 5 to 8 knots. I had a solid day, getting some nice shifts on the right side of the first beats in both races, which allowed me to be pretty consistent."

All five Australian Sailing Team members made it into the Gold fleet after the Qualifying Series finished on Saturday. Matt Wearn, who went into yesterday's racing in second place, dropped to fifth with 19th and 18th results.

"A very average day. I couldn't quite piece a whole race together and struggled back in the high teens. A shifty, puffy 4-6 knots made it a tough first day of finals. Hopefully I'll have a better day on Monday," a disappointed Wearn said.

Despite disparate results of second and 52nd, Mitch Kennedy made a big move up the board from 18th to 10th overall. Finn Alexander dropped down from 34th to 44th, while Luke Elliott maintained 51st overall, after making the Gold fleet cut by one place.

"This regatta hasn't been that kind to me so far," Elliott said. "I've had my back up against the wall for most of it. I was lucky to beat a boat in the first race, but a good second half of the second race moved me into mid-fleet. Laser racing is a tough game."

This Laser World's is anything but straightforward; dominated to an extent by those trying to qualify their countries and/or themselves for the 2020 Olympic Games. It is an event when anything can, and is happening, as the leaderboard continues to seesaw in mixed conditions with two days of racing remaining.

Laser Australian Sailing Team results (156 boats):

1st Tom Burton - 2,(21),4,4,3,4,8,2 = 27
5th Matt Wearn - 13,7,3,1,2,1,(19),18 = 45
10th Mitch Kennedy - 4,15,7,7,17,3,2,(52) = 55
44th Finn Alexander - 12,(BFD),14,19,4,14,20,41 = 124
51st Luke Elliott - 29,13,(BFD),10,12,16,48,31 = 159

Full results available here.

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