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Ainslie Makes Olympic History
After what he has described as the hardest week of his life, Ben Ainslie (GBR) took the overall lead in the Finn class for the first time today to take the gold medal in the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. The leader all week, Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN) trailed Ainslie at every mark to lose his stranglehold on the gold. The bronze finally went to Jonathan Lobert (FRA) after winning the medal race.
The whole sailing world was on the edge of its seat for 30 agonising minutes as the Finn fleet duked it out for the medals and left everyone waiting right until the thrilling ending. None of the medals were decided until the final stages of the thrilling last leg
Hogh-Christensen had the advantage over Ainslie out of the start forcing the Brit to tack off to the right, the normally unfavoured side. The left has been favoured all week, but Ainslie through luck or judgement found a shift back to be ahead of the Dane at the top mark, though both were deep in the fleet. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) led from Jonathan Lobert FRA) at the top mark.
The puffy condition enabled Ainslie to fly down the first downwind to round in second behind Lobert. As the wind went lighter Hogh-Christensen tacked off to the right and Ainslie followed. It was nearly his undoing. The two dropped back to ninth and tenth in the race. As Lobert extended away from the fleet, on the final beat, the left side came in big and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), the only other man who could take gold, made a spectacular recovery to round in third. He was one place from taking gold as the fleet approached the final downwind mark before the short reach to the finish. Unfortunately he pushed too hard, picked up a penalty and after doing his turns was back in fifth and out of the medals.
Ainslie had stuck to Hogh-Christensen. Being so far back in the fleet all he could do was make sure he stayed in front. He stayed there to the finish to claim the gold medal to the deafening roars of the local crowd.
Great Britain has taken the Finn class gold medal for the fourth time running and with ample talented sailors to take up Ainslie's mantle this run isn't over yet.
Hogh-Christensen is the first Dane to take a Finn medal since Henning Wind in 1964, following of course Elvstrom's three Finn golds
France wins the bronze again after Guillaume Florent won it in Qingdao, Lobert also repeating the feat in Weymouth by snatching it in the final race. -- Robert Deaves
Sweden's Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen won the Star Medal Race to upset the favourites and take the gold medal.
Having trailed overnight leaders Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) by 12 points ahead of the Medal Race the Swedes won by four seconds over Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner to overcome the Brits who finished eighth.
The Brits had to finish sixth or better to guarantee gold but in a tense final run Norway's Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen, America's Brian Fatih and Mark Mendelblatt and Brazil's Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada finished less than two seconds ahead of the Brits squeezing them into eighth and down into silver medal position. The Brazilians subsequently fell into bronze medal position.
Final top three:
1. Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen (SWE) - 32pts
Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) won gold with two races to spare in the Men's RS:X after another exceptional performance today.
The Dutchman won Race 9 before pulling out of Race 10 having already sewn up the gold medal.
With an unassailable 22 point lead the Dutchman cannot be caught meaning the race is on for silver. Nick Dempsey (GBR) currently holds second place on 35 points which is 11 ahead of Germany's Toni Wilhelm.
1. Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) - 13pts
Monday is a layday, the medal race for the RS:X Men is Tuesday.
Marina Alabau (ESP) will take a 14 point lead into the Women's RS:X Medal Race whilst three points split places 2-5 making for an exciting race for the medals on Tuesday.
The Spaniard had a sixth in Race 9 and a third in Race 10 to further extend her lead. Israel's Lee Korzits struggled in the light breeze finishing with a ninth and an 11th; nonetheless she managed to hold onto second place, tied on 38 points with Tuuli Petaja.
Monday is a layday, the medal race for the RS:X Women is Tuesday.
Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen took first place in both races sailed Sunday. After 13 races (2 left to sail, then the Medal Race 3), they have a 20 point lead. Races 14 and 15 are scheduled for Monday, the Medal race on Wednesday.
Sunday was a layday for the 470 Men, Women's Match Racing, Laser Men, and Laser Radial Women.
On Monday: Races 7 & 8 for 470 Men, Races 14 & 15 for the 49er, Round Robins for Women's Match Racing, and the Medal Race for Laser Men and Laser Radial Women.
* Andy Rice has a great daily podcast on SailJuice.com, the latest at :
Farr 30 Worlds
Deneen Demourkas becomes the only person in the history of the Farr 30 Class to helm her way to two World Championships. A great accomplishment and we salute her. Also big congratulations to Farr Bar 2 for a huge turnaround on the final race, landing them second overall, and to Jim Richardson aboard Barking Mad in third. Also congrats to every crew who competed; you made it a great championship!
Final top 10 after 11 races:
1. Groovederci, Deneen Demourkas, USA, 43 points
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Melges 24 World Championship
Torbole, Italy: Gullisara claims the 2012 Melges 24 World Championship: one of the most coveted and prestigious titles in the sailing world was decided on the finish line of the final race when Carlo Fracassoli and his team had to wait an agonising four minutes for their nearest rival, Alberto Bolzan's Saetta, to cross the finish line before they could be certain of victory.
Going into the final race the adrenalin levels were through the roof as these two incredibly strong Italian teams went head to head in one of the greatest challenges in international sailing. Gullisara, the reigning European Champion owned by Giuseppe Comerio, fielded excellent sailors, but also great friends. With local expert Carlo Fracassoli at the helm, Chicco Fonda as tactician, Tano Felci on the sheets, Giovanni Ferrari at the halyards and Carlo Zermini on the bow. They are the heroes of the day, which began very early in a light and trick northerly Peler breeze.
Last night, after nine races, it was Gianni Catalogna's Saetta, with helm Alberto Bolzan and tactician Nathan Wilmot, who lay ten points ahead of Gullisara. In the early morning light this incredibly strong fleet ran down to the start line for the first of two races that provided some of the most exciting and emotional scenes we have seen at a Melges 24 Worlds.
For the first time ever the Melges 24 family welcomed Russian sailors to a championship with three very good Russian teams joining the fleet in Torbole. Alexander Ezhkov, sailing RUS2, took victory in the Silver Fleet ahead of Norway's Pedder Nergaard sailing Blow-Henri Lloyd with Denmark's Peter Warrer in third. In the Silver Corinthian Division victory went to Ronald Veraar of the Netherlands sailing Team Kesbeke/Sika with Italy's Ivan Venturi in Enjoy 3 third and Estonia's Tiit Vihul aboard Rock City in third.
The next event on the International Melges 24 calendar is the 2012 North American Championship being hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club from 22-26 August. The 2013 Melges 24 European Championship will be held in Medemblik from 16-24 August 2013 and the 2013 Melges 24 World Championship will held in San Francisco from 30 September to 5 October.
Further information about these events and the 2013 Melges 24 International Regattas will be posted at www.melges24.com
Final Top Ten
1. Carlo Fracassoli, ITA, 32 points
Eric Tabardel on Bleu First Quebecker in Saint-Malo
The first monohull flying the Quebec flag crossed the line in the early hours of the day, at 7:20:08 Eric Tabardel's Bleu draw to an end their transatlantic voyage after 13 days, 14 hours and 8 seconds of racing in very testing conditions. Bleu is sixteenth on the overall scoreboard, before EDF Energies Nouvelles skippered by David Augeix and Benoit Parnaudeau's Transport Coherence. By arriving ahead of Georges Leblanc on Ocean Phenix and Robert Patenaude on Perseverance Eric Tabardel is first Quebecker to get to Saint Malo. A performance that pays back Tabardel and his crew of the huge disappointment of the 2008 edition, when they dismasted in the Atlantic.
"The race was intense and very demanding, we never had the chance to race so close with other Class40 so I'm very happy with our performance. I was lucky too because my crew Damien, Philippe and Alain really did a great job. Obviously one would always want to do better, but we needed better sails and unfortunately we lost our gennaker and solent beside having some issues with the spinnaker. But our goal was to finish with the boat and the crew in good form, so I believe that we accomplished our mission. I'm happy to see that the boat, that was launched in 2007 could keep the pace of the newer generation boats and that her performance was excellent. I didn't know what to expect and the level of the competition was very high." Said Eric Tabardel on the dock at Quai Duguay Trouin in Saint-Malo.
Georges Leblanc and his 12 sailors strong crew is expected later today, they are sailing just off the Cotes d'Armor avec Saint-Malo and the 65 footer will get in fifth in the Open Class division.
It was during the daily radio vac session that Louis Duc skippering Avis Immobilier crossed the finish line after 13 days, 18 hours, 57 minutes and 11 seconds in 18th place overall. The next two Class40 are expected to reach Saint Malo tomorrow. The ETA for Denis Van Weynbergh's Proximedia is set for around 1am while the last boat of the fleet, Perseverance skippered by Quebecker Robert Patenaude will get to Brittany by the early afternoon.
18ft Skiffs German Grand Prix
The Danish team finished the regatta on 16 points, followed by Hyde Sails on 20 and Magic Marine on 25 points. Eleven teams from five countries contested the event in a variety of conditions.
On Day One all teams used their small rigs in a gusting 24 knots wind. A capsize by Magic Marine only 200 metres from the finish of Race One plus gear damage to Kaltenberger Ritter and Steinlechner Bootswerft were costly to the top German teams. Original Chia led Hyde Sails and UK's Gill after the first day's racing.
Day Two became a lay day when there was a lack of wind which kept the fleet ashore. Day Three (final day) presented the fleet with perfect big rig conditions of 10-16 knots and flat water.
Germany's Magic Marien took out three of the four races with overall winner Original Chia taking out the fourth race to wrap up the Grand Prix. -- Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League
Running The Rhumblines
This is a fitting reward for Jim Hayes who besides being recognised as a founding member of the original Hogs Breath Airlie Beach Race Week committee has worked tirelessly to promote both dinghy and ocean racing events in North Queensland.
He is a quite achiever and is naturally modestly honoured to accept this important decision making role as the head of the race management team for what promises to be another important signature sporting event for the Airlie Beach community.
His lengthy experience from sailing in these testing waters and understanding the tactical challenges they provide has contributed to the success of the event over the past 23 years.
Since moving away from the family home in Tasmania more than a quarter of a century ago Jim Hayes lived in a lonely beach shack overlooking Alden Island but has retained a personal passion for sailing in what he describes as a friendly aquatic paradise.
Jim Hayes is no stranger to the important position in the race management team having been the 'local knowledge expert' that has helped to promote the event as Australia's friendly Tropical Shirt Regatta.
The record fleet representing New Zealand and Australian clubs including former Rolex Sydney Hobart Race winner Geoffrey Ross and his Yendys racing team will line up to contest ten individual class championships over six days of intense racing starting with the opening race over the Double Cone-Armit Island course on Friday.
Interest will naturally focus of the battle for the Grand Prix IRC class championship which has Yendys (Sydney spelt backwards) listed as the favourite to answer the challenge from veteran Sunshine Coast skipper Bob Robertson helming Lunchtime Time Legend and the 2o11 class champion The Philosophers Club representing Sydney's Middle Harbour Yacht Club while last year's runner up Brilliant Pearl skippered by Gary McCarthy has the form guide and the lower handicap rating to be a challenger.
Meanwhile Jim Hayes who has earned 'his stripes' has the qualifications and experience to ensure the 2012 Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week will be professionally managed to retain the title as Australia's friendly Tropical Shirt regatta. -- Ian Grant
Vendee Globe Updates
Superstitious? It is a well-known fact that sailors are superstitious. Some won't sail on green boats; others - namely from the southern hemisphere - refuse to take certain fruit on- board and some place a coin under the foot of the mast for good luck and safe passage. Few sailors will cross the equator without making an offering to Neptune, but what about Dominique Wavre...is he superstitious?
"More than anything I respect maritime tra- dition, and so yes, I have some superstitions," he says.
What would you never take onboard?
"A tie. Not for superstitious reasons, but because it would be completely pointless!"
What word will you never use on a boat?
Could you go to sea without christening your boat? "No way! Better to do it twice than not at all!"
On Tuesday, after several days of drydock work, the Maître CoQ monohull has been taken back to the water. Jeremie Beyou's 60-foot yacht has been equipped with its new mast and rated in Port-La-Foret. From this week on, Team Maître CoQ is going to be able to sail again and proceed with the first test-navigations with the new spar, before Jeremie Beyou eventually starts his offshore and solo technical training.
Alessandro Di Benedetto and Team Plastique are getting closer and closer to the start of the Vendee Globe, scheduled for November 10 in Les Sables d'Olonne. The French-Italian skipper left for two weeks of single-handed offshore sailing on his monohull and, on Friday, he fulfilled the last requirements to participate in the solo, non-stop round-the-world race without assistance.
After leaving Olonna on July 15 to start his qualifying route, Alessandro had a foretaste of what he will experience during the actual race. His navigation was marked by the visit of two birds who temporarily took shelter on his yacht.
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The Last Word
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