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by Ian Grant on 20 Sep 2000
By Ian Grant.

Petra Niemann the 22 year old German Europe class sailor realised the value of consistent and conservative tactical racing on Sydney Harbour today to lead her series over a very competitive fleet.

Niemann ranked as the seventh best in the World applied her skill to the ideal 12knot variable South East breeze to finish with a 4-3 score and a two point lead over Sari Multala of Finland 2-7 and Neus Garriga of Spain who recorded a 10-2.

World champion Margriet Matthijsse winner of the Silver Medal in Savannah opened her title defence impressively by winning the first heat but she could only manage to finish 24th in the second race won by the 24th World ranked Sarah Macky of New Zealand.

As normal there was a reason behind these conflicting results which were controlled by the tricky post frontal weather system and the associated influence as the clocked left banked later in the day.

The results produced by the intensely competitive Matthijesse also reflected her concern that there is no margin for error in this standard of racing.

"The strangest things can happen here because of the weather". Matthijsse said before she went racing today.

Matthijsse is mentally focused on the series and understands the demands ." We'll have six days of racing so I go out knowing that if I screw it up today, I still have another five days to make it up."

Well tomorrow (Thursday) will be a catch up day for the 1999 ISAF Female Sailor of the Year as she attempts to realise her burning ambition to become the 2000 Olympic Europe class Gold Medallist.

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