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CLOSE BATTLE FOR 49 ER OLYMPIC MEDALS.

by Ian Grant on 21 Sep 2000
Katrina Butler
World number one ranked German 49er class sailors Marcus Baur and Philip Barth are engaged in an exciting struggle with American veterans Jonathon and Charlie McKee to decide the outright class leader.

Both high performance sailing teams have been the star performers in the race for the Olympic medals in a class which has attracted a very competitive fleet from 17 Nations.

Baur and Barth recent winners of the Grand Prix regatta in Travermunde have expressed the same form on the tactically demanding waters on Sydney Harbour.

They have remained consistent in a testing mix of winds from light and fluky drifters to the ideal 12 knot variable South Eastly which prevailed yesterday.

However after five races the high performance German sailing team with their score of 5-1-4-3-9 relinquished their first day lead to the equally talented McKee sailing team.

Each crew have won a heat in the five races decided so far but the McKee brothers slipped into a one point lead with the 6-3-5-1-6 score when the German crew were troubled with sail damage yesterday.

Third place is held by The 21st World ranked Finnish crew of Thomas Johanson and Jyki Jarvi on 2-7-2-12-2.

There were some technical excuses for Baur and Barth who overcame minor mainsail failure on the course which needed a temporary repair between races to retain their grip on the race for medals.

"There was some danger of the sail slipping out of the mast track, so we capsized the boat, cut a small hole in the sail and lashed it tight".

"Maybe our race results could have been a little better, however we are happy", a relaxed Baur said.

Provisional Leaders after 4 races (No Discard). USA 21pts 1, GER 22pts 2, FIN 25pts 3, ESP 32pts 4, POR 34pts 5, AUS 39pts 6, GBR 42pts 7, JPN 45 pts 8, DEN 47pts 9, SUI 50pts 10

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