Ian Roman Photography / www.ianroman.com

Bouwmeester surges ahead

Conditions abate at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta plus video with Hannah Mills

Tuesday August 9th 2011, Author: ISAF, Location: United Kingdom

Dutch Laser Radial ace Marit Bouwmeester opened up a 24 point lead after eight races and yet another fantastic day of sailing at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta.

After two big wind days the wind today had veers from the southwest into the NNW and offshore, resulting in lighter but shiftier conditions, the wind ranging from 9-12 knots. Bouwmeester proved she could handle the big conditions two days ago and after a reserve day she showed she could lead the fleet in the lighter winds and recorded her fourth bullet in Race 8 after a second place in Race 7.

The World #1 and ISAF Sailing World Cup Laser Radial title holder has been the standout sailor in the Laser Radial and with seven top three finishes out of eight races she goes into Races 9 and 10 with a strong lead.

World #2 Evi Van Acker (BEL) won Race 7 but hasn’t shown the consistency of Bouwmeester and is second on 35 points. Paige Railey (USA) is in third place on 56 points following a sixth in Race 7 before discarding an OCS in Race 8.

It is a different story in the Laser fleet with just eight points separating first to fifth place after eight races. ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby (AUS) and Andrew Murdoch (NZL) looked as though they would run away from the fleet after six races. But after Slingsby went 17-19 and Murdoch finish 8-12 on the fourth day of Laser sailing Pavlos Kontides (CYP), Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) and Paul Goodison (GBR) remain in contention following better days on the water.

Murdoch leads on 37 points with Slingsby in second on 40 points but Kontides finished 2-3 to move up to third on 41 points. Van Schaardenburg went 13-7 and slips from third to fourth. Beijing 2008 Laser gold medallist Goodison had his best day on the water finishing fourth and second to climb up to fifth making for an interesting finish in the 56-boat Laser fleet.

The day’s race wins went to Andrew Geritzer (AUT) in Race 7 and Javier Hernandez (ESP) in Race 8.

“I think I struggled a little bit to get out of the line for the past couple of days and when you’re back in the pack, you can’t go where you want to and it’s a bit harder,” said Goodison. “I maybe pushed a bit harder at the starts today and got my nose out in front, and it’s much easier when you’re just that little bit ahead.”

Silja Lehtinen (FIN) advanced to the Final of the Women’s Match Racing competition in style as she breezed past Sally Barkow (USA) 3-0 in the first semi final. But in the second Semi Final Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) was made to work against Claire Leroy (FRA).

The Russian went 2-0 up against the World #1 French match racer but Leroy fought back hard to level the tie. It all boiled down to the final race and Leroy had the better of the pre-start forcing Skudina to the right hand side of the course. But Skudina rounded the first mark ahead and gradually extended her lead to win by four boat lengths to advance to the final.

In the Petit Final Leroy faced Barkow to decide the bronze medal. And in the first two races penalties ultimately cost Leroy the race wins as she went 2-0 down. But she was unable to replicate her comeback against Skudina and lost the third flight by four boat lengths to

Skudina and Lehtinen will meet in the Final on Thursday to decide the gold medal.

After ten races in the Men’s RS:X Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) and Nick Dempsey (GBR) have finally unlocked horns after trading blows over eight races. The Dutchman moved into the lead following his fifth bullet in Race 9. He discarded his eighth place in Race 10 to lead on 16 points. Meanwhile Dempsey finished second in Race 9 and tenth in Race 10 to trail the Dutchman on 23 points. Both sailors are guaranteed either gold or silver medal so it should be an interesting Medal Race. Dempsey is27 points ahead of the third-placed Frenchman Julien Bontemps, and seven points adrift of van Rijsselberge, who eked out a seven point lead of his British rival on what Dempsey dubbed the “wacky racing” course on Tuesday.

“Shifty isn’t even the word – it was just insane,” said Dempsey, 30, of the Nothe course area, where race officials were also put through their paces in trying to get racing underway in the erratic conditions. You just can’t read the shifts. The wind’s either coming round the right hand side of the Nothe, or the left hand side, and it’s shifting 40 degrees. You can be 20 yards away from someone, they can be in 15 knots and you can be in six knots. It’s just not fair really in that wind direction. The 49ers were racing on it yesterday in a southwesterly and it looked really nice, but in a northwesterly it was unbelievable. In saying that, it’ll be nice going into the medal race not being able to lose second and actually being able to attack Dorian and try and put some boards between us on Thursday. It will produce some opportunities on Thursday, so all is not lost!”

The battle for bronze in the Men’s RS:X is tight with Julien Bontemps (FRA) and Byron Kokalanis (GRE) on 50 points with Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) hot on their tails on 53 points.

The Women’s RS:X sailors were last off the water in Weymouth. Race 9 took place on the Nothe course and Zofia Klepacka (POL) picked up where she left off from Race 8 on Monday by taking the bullet. Following a course change to Portland Harbour Marina Alabau (ESP) came through for her fifth bullet in Race 10. Klepacka remains in the lead on 19 points and Alabau is second on 25 points. Bryony Shaw (GBR) finished second twice to move into the final podium spot with eight points separating her and Charline Picon (FRA) ahead of the Medal Race.

Shaw will look to protect her bronze medal position in Thursday’s windsurfing finale – she has an eight point advantage over the fourth-placed French sailor Picon.

The RS:X Medal Races are set to take place on Thursday on the Nothe Fort course.

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) continue to lead the Women’s 470, but their lead has been cut from ten to eight points after eight races. Mills and Clark finished second in Race 7 and discarded their ninth place in Race 8 to end the day on 24 points. Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JPN) had a steady day on the water coming third and fifth to close the gap slightly on the leaders.

The day belonged to Brazil’s Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luisa Barbachan. The World #15 Brazilians won Race 7 by 45 seconds over Mills and Clark before coming second to Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) in Race 8. They move up to third place on 38 points.

“It was tricky,” Mills, 23,  admitted. “We made a right hash of both the first beats in both races today and managed to round the windward mark pretty much last in both of them which was not the ideal way to start your race. After that we made some really good decisions, sailed the course really well and managed to catch back up to get two really good results.

“We sort of tried to race the course a bit too much and didn’t race the fleet – basically meaning we let the fleet get totally to one side of us or the other on both of the first beats. The shifts just did not go our way whatsoever, and unfortunately we got a bit left out to dry on either side of the beats so that wasn’t great!”

“It’s really nice to be able to build the confidence like that that you can make comebacks,” Mills said of the pair’s recoveries in both races. “It’s sometimes easier to get the comebacks in when it’s shifty and gusty as places are changing all the time and people are having disasters left right and centre. It’s just about cutting out the big disasters I think.”

Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA) extended their lead in the Men’s 470 after yet another consistent day. They went 5-1 in Races 7 and 8 and with 19 points they have a 17 point advantage over ISAF Sailing World Cup Men’s 470 title winners Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS). Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg and Sebastien Ostling won Race 7 and are fifth overall.

The 49ers, Finns and Stars resume sailing on Wednesday and the 470, Laser and Laser Radials continue. The remaining matches in the 5-8 place sail off in the Women's Match Racing will also take place.



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