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Super Spars 728x90 - The Mast for You

ISAF World Sailing Games at Lake Neusiedl, Austria - Overall

by Judith Duller-Mayrhofer 21 May 2006 10:56 BST 10-20 May 2006

The ten ISAF World Sailing Games titles have been decided on Lake Neusiedl today, with the Medal Races bringing a dramatic finale to the action in Austria. After a great performance today, Australia has claimed the King’s Trophy, led from the front by Tom SLINGSBY’s (AUS) opening victory in the Laser.

The top ten competitors faced off against each other in a race judged on the water and scored at double points. All ten of the Medal Races could potentially have seen the gold medal change hands, whilst the battle for the King's Trophy was also incredibly tight, with both France and Australia tied on 39 points apiece going into the start of racing.

The forecast was for similar, but slightly lighter, conditions to yesterday. A five to six knot south westerly breeze was forecast for the start of racing at 1100 local time with gusts up to nine knots. This built through the day and moved to the south, with eight knots and gusts to 18 for 1400.

Men's RS:X Medal Race

The RS:X men's medal race got underway with 10 knots from the south at 13:33 local time. Series leader, Julien BONTEMPS (FRA) held an eight point lead going into the race ahead of Maxim OBEREMKO (UKR) and Tom ASHLEY (NZL) who were tied for second and third.

With two minutes to go the fleet were lining up at the committe boat end of the start line. As the final countdown to the start was on, BONTEMPS and ASHLEY began their assault, both going for a high speed start at the pin end. OBEREMKO meanwhile played a different card to the rest of the fleet, and lining up at the pin end he opted to start on port and weave his way through the fleet to go for clear air at the right hand side of the beat.

Accelerating hard of the line, OBEREMKO, Nicolas HUGUET (FRA) shot off to the right of the beat and were soon followed by Nimrod MASHIAH (ISR) and Ioannis CHRYSOCHON, one of two Greek sailors in the medal race. As they charged their way up the beat, there were just three sailors opting for the left of the course. Ricardo SANTOS (BRA), who had an outside chance of a medal, went for the safer middle option and this is where the medal hunt began to unfold.

By the time the fleet had reached the first mark there was already some separation between the sailors. First round was Byron KOKKALANIS (GRE) chased hard by OBEREMKO in second, SANTOS in third and BONTEMPS in fourth. This kept BONTEMPS in the gold medal position and OBEREMKO in second as ASHLEY rounded the mark in sixth.

As they set off downwind most of the fleet headed out to the right of the course. The wind continued to shift and with the race committee advising of a course change as the fleet came through the gate, the affects would soon be evident at the next windward mark.

Onto The Gate

Ricardo SANTOS rounded the gate first having made up two places as they came downwind and could now hope for a medal if OBEREMKO or ASHLEY finished in tenth. Second round was KOKKALANIS and Samuel LAUNAY (FRA) had chosen all the right shifts to round in third. OBEREMKO did not fair so well and rounded in fifth place, handing the gold back to BONTEMPS who was in eighth.

The front of the fleet headed inshore for the first section of the final beat but again OBEREMKO worked his way up the right hand side of the course. Sailing an amazing leg he rounded the final mark with a significant lead over second placed Ivan PASTOR LAFUENTE (ESP). KOKKALANIS rounded third with LAUNAY in fourth. Had he looked back, OBEREMKO may have been pleased to see the one sailor who could possibly take the gold medal from him at the back of the fleet, rounding the last mark in tenth place. ASHLEY would also have been pleased to know this because despite being mid fleet for the entire race, he was now far enough ahead of BONTEMPS to win the silver medal. But still nothing was guaranteed and BONTEMPS could have produced some magic to drag himself back up into contention.

The distance between the front and the back of the fleet was by now considerable and OBEREMKO continued to extend his lead to cross the line first and end his series on 27 points. Second was KOKKALANIS and third LAUNAY. ASHLEY finished fifth to add ten points to his overnight score and end with 35 points and now for him, as for OBEREMKO what mattered was where BONTEMPS finished.

Unfortunately for BONTEMPS he could not do enough. Bringing himself up one place on the final leg he finished ninth to end the series tied with ASHLEY and giving him the silver as he finished the medal race in a higher position.

Women’s RS:X Medal Race

The women's RS:X fleet got away at 1412 local time with the wind from the south and had increased to 12 knots.

With two minutes to go the fleet were lining up at the committee boat end of the line in a pack. Series leader Qui Bin CHEN (CHN) and Charline PICON (FRA) both hung back in clear air away from the pack. With just less than a minute to go Lee KORSITZ (ISR) made her way along the line toward the pin end and as the fleet geared up for the start, PICON began her acceleration with 20 seconds to go and hit the line at top speed. CHEN hit the line right by the committee boat with the rest of the fleet spread along the line.

An individual recall was sounded by the Race Committee and two sailors elected to come back and restart thinking it might be them that was over the line. Wai Man CHAN (HKG) came back around the committee boat whilst Olga MASLIVETS (UKR) went round the other end. These two restarted and shot off in different directions up the beat. This was not good news for MASLIVETS. Coming into the day in second overall, MASLIVETS was the only sailor who had a chance of taking the gold from CHEN and re-starting cannot have been in her game plan. Nevertheless, it is better to be safe, an OCS would certainly have dashed all her hopes for a medal. As it turned out, Flavia TARTAGLINI (ITA) should have been more cautious and she was advised at the first mark that she had been over the line early and her race was over.

Working the shifts up the beat, most of the fleet chose the right hand side of the course. This pack included Blanca MANCHON (ESP) lying in third overall, MASLIVETS, PICON and KORSITZ, surely making the same choice as two past Mistral World Champions and multiple Youth Worlds medal holders would be a good one.

At the first mark it looked like MASLIVETS had pulled off a miracle as she rounded first - could she win gold and do the double for the Ukraine? KORSITZ was next round, followed by CHAN who came flying round the outside off her and shot off downwind, Wei Ming LIU (CHN) was next and then PICON. CHEN rounded in ninth place after choosing the wrong side of the first beat and this put the gold medal in the hands of MASLIVETS who had to finish five places higher to clinch it. Taking a hitch in shore and then back out to the windier part of the course the front three extended their lead by the time they reached the gate.

MASLIVETS held onto her lead for the next two legs and with CHEN dropping back to tenth it looked like she had it sewn up. But that would be to not reckon with the talent of Lee KORSITZ. After a serious disappointment in the third and fourth races of the gold fleet which she scored a DNF and a DNC due to equipment failure she fought hard to make the medal race but stood no chance of winning a medal. An outstanding final leg from KORSITZ in which she reigned in and overtook MASLIVETS saw her punch the air as she crossed the finish line first. Perhaps healing some of the hurt from earlier in the week. KORSITZ's victory also pulled her up the overall rankings from eighth to fourth just three points off the medals.

MASLIVETS was not threatened from behind and took second place comfortably ahead of CHAN. She then had to sit back and wait to see where CHEN would finish to find out what colour her medal would be. Collecting four points for her second place she finished the series on 33 which meant she needed CHEN to finish worse than seventh for her to win the gold medal. But CHEN showed her class once again and sailed hard down the final leg to pull herself up the fleet and eventually finish in seventh. This meant that she won the gold by just one point from MASLIVETS. Blanca MANCHON came in sixth but this was enough to win the bronze medal.

Laser Medal Race

The Laser Medal Race began in a very light southerly wind of five knots, with a windward/leeward course set just of the pier at Neusiedl, which saw crowds of spectators gathered to watch the opening Medal Race of the fourth ISAF World Sailing Games.

At the start of racing, Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) held a twelve point lead on his nearest rival and only challenger for the gold medal Thomas LE BRETON (FRA). Meanwhile Diego ROMERO (ARG) was 15 point clear of Paul GOODISON (GBR) in the bronze medal spot.

Andrew MURDOCH (NZL) and Brendan CASEY (AS) immediately threw a spanner in the works of the challengers, with MURDOCH OCS and CASEY returning to the line at the start. Meanwhile GOODISON headed off to the left and ROMERO went right, but unless he suffered from equipment failure or CASEY produced a stunning comeback, ROMERO was now guaranteed bronze. SLINGSBY meanwhile was also dead set on making certain of the gold medal. He kept close tabs on LE BRETON throughout the race, rounding the marks ahead of the Frenchman and eventually finishing sixth to LE BRETON’s seventh to safely take victory. Meanwhile the left paid for GOODISON, who rounded the top mark first and pulled away through the race to take a comfortable win ahead of Felix PRUVOT (FRA). ROMERO crossed the line in eight to take the final podium spot.

Laser Radial Medal Race

The Laser Radial Medal Race brought the ISAF World Sailing Games to a fitting close. World Championship gold and silver medallists, Paige RAILEY (USA) and Sophie DE TURCKHEIM (FRA) lined up just three points apart, with World Champion and World number one RAILEY holding the advantage over the defending World Sailing Games Champion DE TURCKHEIM. It was a familiar situation for the pair, who had gone into the Medal Race at Hyères in an almost identical position, with DE TURCKHEIM needing to beat RAILEY and put at least one competitor between her and the American to take the title.

The race began at 1445, in a twelve to 15 knot breeze from the southwest. In the pre-start RAILEY did not let DE TURCKHEIM out of her sight and the two lined up together towards the centre of the start line - the match race for the title was on. Starting on a starboard tack, it was not long before DE TURCKHEIM gybed right and made the first of a whole series of moves to shake off RAILEY. However, moments later the American was right by her, and this set the trend for the whole of the first upwind. DE TURCKHEIM though seized the initiative when Jo ALEH (NZL) gybed back from the right of the course, passing fractions behind her and forcing RAILEY on her port side to gybe left and giving her some clean air to work in.

The contest was slowing the pair down, but DE TURCKHEIM rounded the top mark around five seconds ahead of RAILEY, with the pair occupying the final two places. It was now though that RAILEY made her move, and showed the speed downwind which has made her the most formidable competitor on the Laser Radial circuit and has given her an incredible ten wins from 14 ISAF Graded events. She closed in on her French rival, continually forcing her to the right of the course and eventually passing her by the time they had reached the gate.

Meanwhile at the head of the fleet Sari MULTALA (FIN) was making a bid for the bronze medal, heading way right from the gate on the second upwind to round the top mark in the lead. However Sarah BLANCK (AUS) was not going to give the bronze medal up easily. If she could finish third it would guarantee her the final podium spot, and despite MULTALA’s best efforts, BLANCK was sailing a solid race, starting well, sailing smoothly on the downwind and sticking to safe lines, she rounded the top mark third and behind Sarah STEYAERT (FRA), with these three holding a big lead over the rest of the fleet.

Meanwhile the battle between RAILEY and DE TURCKHEIM continued, although now the American looked more in control and DE TURCKHEIM’s moves seemed to trouble her less. RAILEY later reveal that during their Medal Race in Hyères she felt she had made a lot of mistakes when tracking the Frenchwomen, and was determined this time to learn from her experience. As the race progressed, RAILEY looked more and more in control, cruising away on the downwind, whilst DE TURCKHEIM struggled to find a way back into contention.

At the front, across the line went MULTALA, but BLANCK followed a comfortable third to wrap up bronze, and shortly after RAILEY crossed in seventh to secure the title, whilst DE TURCKHEIM took silver with a ninth place.

Men’s 470 Medal Race

Racing in the Men’s 470 Medal Race got underway at 1200 UTC (1400 local time). By this time the breeze had picked up to ten knots from the southwest. World Champions Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) had a five point lead over second place Benjamin BONNAUD and Romain BONNAUD (FRA), and right from the start the strategy of the Australians was clear - stop the French.

The Medal Race affectively became two races. The one for gold between the leading pair, and then the battle for bronze in which all eight other crews still were in with a chance. Spain’s Francisco SANCHEZ and Alejandro RAMOS held a narrow margin in third place going into the Medal Race, but with the points tight, whoever finished top from places three to six would gain the advantage, and the remaining four crews were also in with a shout if these four faltered.

An evenly spread start line saw the Aussies and French team line up in the middle, whilst SANCHEZ and RAMOS immediately went right up the windward-leeward course. The second French team of Vincent GAROS and Pierre LEBOUCHER (FRA) meanwhile chose left and it proved the wise decision as they rounded the first mark with a 30 second lead on the rest of the fleet, in what was to prove a race winning move. Behind them things were tight, with a chasing pack of four just ahead of Sven COSTER and Kalle COSTER (NED) and then the leading Aussies. The Spaniards rounded second last and made little headway on the downwind, whilst fifth overall Dmitry BEREZKIN and Alexander ZYBIN (RUS) were now up to second and occupying the bronze medal spot on the water. Meanwhile WILMOT and PAGE had the BONNAUD brothers well under wraps and were now looking like certainties for gold.

The Spanish were forced to gamble on the second upwind and immediately headed out to the left in what was to prove a medal winning move. They caught a great shift and flew past the fleet rounding the top mark third and crucially ahead of the rest of the top six.

On the downwind however the COSTER brothers put the pressure on and were closing in fast towards the finish. Starting the day just two points off the bronze medal, if they could sneak past the Spaniard the final podium spot was theirs. The line approached and the gap narrowed, but SANCHEZ and RAMOS just held on and crossed the line in a flurry of punched fists and to cheers of congratulations from the crowd. WILMOT and PAGE eventually crossed the line eighth, having successful held the BONNAUD brothers in check, to take the gold medal and add the ISAF World Sailing Games title to the World title they retained in San Francisco, USA last year.

Women’s 470 Medal Race

Yesterday Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX (FRA) were the stars of the show on the 470 course, with a 1,2,1 day giving them a commanding ten point lead going into today’s Medal Races. PETITJEAN revealed their aim for today was simple, 'To stay close to the Australians'.

Elise RECHICHI and Tessa PARKINSON (AUS) were the only threat to French gold and the young Aussie pair were never able to escape the clutches of the World number one team. Meanwhile the battle for third place saw home sailors Sylvia VOGL and Carolina FLATSCHER (AUT) holding a five point advantage over Emanuelle ROL and Anne-Sophie THILO (SUI), with Ruslana TARAN and Olena PAKHOLCHYK (UKR) also in with a shout of gold, twelve points off the final medal spot. The Austrian pair were close to the Swiss at the start, with TARAN and PAKHOLCHYK going off to the right off the windward-leeward course.

An impressive start saw Katarzyna TYLINSKA and Marta KASZALOWICZ (POL) round the top mark first, with the Ukrainians fourth, ROL and THILO fifth and VOGL and FLATSCHER sixth. Following this trio were PETITJEAN and DOUROUX, always staying just ahead of the Australians. The three coloured spinnakers representing the three leaders made an impressive sight downwind, with VOGL and FLATSCHER coming between the French and the Aussies by the second mark.

With the Austrians rounding sixth, TARAN and PAKHOLCHYK had to up their game to challenge for bronze and again headed out way right on the second upwind. The move paid off for them and they rounded the top mark second behind Japan’s Yuka YOSHISAKO and Noriko OKUMA. Meanwhile VOGL and FLATSCHER were still concentrating on tracking the Swiss team, but the strategy was costing them places. They past the top mark eighth and suddenly were out of the bronze medal position. With the fleet spread out on the downwind VOGL and FLATSCHER were unable to make up places, TARAN and PAKHOLCHYK meanwhile took second at the finish line to up the pressure. PETITJEAN and DOUROUX crossed in fourth to take the gold medal comfortably, RECHICHI and PARKINSON took sixth and silver, whilst seventh went to the Swiss and with it the bronze medal to TARAN and PAKHOLCHYK.

For number one team in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, PETITJEAN and DOUROUX, victory on Lake Neusiedl is one better than the silver medal they achieved in Marseille four years ago, and is their fourth win of the year so far.

49er Medal Race - Spanish Sail Through

A win in the Final Medal race in convincing style just served to confirm the superior sailing skill of Iker MARTINEZ and Xavier FERNANDEZ (ESP).

Starting in the middle of the fleet, they were packed on either side by Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA), and Jonas WARRER and Martin KIRTETERP (DEN) the third and fourth placed crews to port, with Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN to starboard.

With the possibility of converting their bronze medal to a silver medal if they could secure a good result, Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA) were keen for a fast start. But they were early off the line and called OCS, and not re-crossing the line had to leave the course at the windard mark.

This gave a glimmer of hope to two teams, Jonas WARRER and Martin KIRKETERP (DEN) and the OUTTERIDGE and AUSTIN , who could claim the bronze medal if the could sweep to victory in the Medal Race.

Joining the Italians with an OCS were Marcin CZAJLOWSKI and Krzysztof KIERKOWSKI (POL) and Jorge LIMA and Francisco ANDRADE (POR).

So, down to a seven boat race, after the first rounding of the windward mark, and the Danish pairing of Jonas WARRER and Martin KIRKETERP were off down to the leeward gate first, chased by MARTINEZ and FERNANDEZ (ESP), with Rodion LUKA and Georgiy LEONCHUK (UKR) in third and Emmauel DYEN and Yann ROCHERIEUX (FRA) in fourth.

The Danish held their lead through the gate, and with it the bronze medal in their grasp, with the Spanish close on their tail. The dominating Australian pair from the qualification series OUTTERIDGE and AUSTIN had climbed into third with DYEN and ROCHERIEUX close behind, whilst and LUKA and LEONCHUK had dropped back to fifth.

Bullet Secured

Through the gate and the Spanish headed to the right of the course – a decisive tactical move which effectively secured them the bullet, whilst the chasing pack went left. Alberto PADRON and Francisco Javier DE LA PLAZA (ESP) and Alaxandre MONTEAU and Damien GUILLOU (FRA) the last two boats through the gate, were the only two who chose to follow the Spanish to the right.

With the breeze increasing as the boats headed for the last rounding of the windward mark, the Spanish steamed in fast, with a thirty second advantage over PADRON and DE LA PLAZA (ESP). The Danish who had led through the gate, but gone to the left of the course, rounded the mark third having lost any hope of the bronze medal, with OUTTERIDGE and AUSTIN in fourth.

Down to the finish, which saw OUTTERIDGE and AUSTIN find some pace to pass WARRER and KIRKETERP to finish in third.

Relief from the Italians who were watching from the shore, as the bronze medal was effectively delivered back into their hands.

With the medals won by the invited sailors – the world’s best proved a point here in Austria.

Hobie Tiger Medal Race

Racing to secure their silver medal Mitch BOOTH and Herbert DERCKSEN (NED) led the Hobie Tiger fleet from start to finish, with no option for anyone else to wrestle a win in the Medal Race from their grasp.

A slow start at 1056 UTC (1256 local time) saw the fleet really split as they headed up to the windward mark with the charge led by BOOTH and DERCKSEN over fellow dutch team mates Coen DE KONING and Mischa HEEMSKERK, with Thomas ZAJAC and Thomas CZJAKA (AUT) in third and series leaders Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) in fourth. The Aussies were sailing safe where they could be confident of gold medal victory.

French lose Bronze

Things were not looking good for the French pairing of Xavier REVIL and Christophe ESPAGNON (FRA) who were third overall going into the Medal

Race, and rounding the leeward mark as the second to last boat, their work was truly cut out for them. Their closest challengers DE KONING and HEEMSKERK had secured the points gap to wrestle the bronze medal away.

Some stunning sailing in the next legs saw the French muscle their way through up to seventh overall and then finish in fourth, but it was not enough, and with the leading three boats holding a significant lead, there was no chance to catch up. Home Nation Disappointment

Disappointment for the host nation team of Roman HAGARA and Hans Peter STEINACHER (AUT) who opened the gold fleet series looking assured of a podium place, but a couple of double digit results saw them way down the fleet, from where it was impossible to reach their goal.

Despite knowing the peculiarities of Lake Neusiedl like the back of their hand, as many sailors have said the lake is 'like no place I’ve sailed before!', and even double Olympic gold medallists can be foiled!

Hobie 16 Medal Race

The Hobie 16 fleet got underway in six knots of breeze at 1136 (local time). The medals were far from decided already with just twelve points separating the top four teams.

With one minute to go, the fleet were lining up at the committee boat end except for Kerstin WICHARDT and Anja HAFKE (GER) who were some way off the line and sailing downwind at speed with their spinnaker up. When the gun went they were still heading back to the line. The Belinda ZANESCO and Bridget WATERHOUSE (AUS) also did not have a good start and came back round the end to restart, leaving themselves a lot to do to get back into contention for a medal.

The fleet split in two with five boats heading left and five heading right where there appeared to be more wind. WICHARDT and HAFKE worked hard up the beat, chosing the right of the course and showing superior boat speed. Series leaders Marie DUVIGNAC and Pauline THEVENOT (FRA) realized their mistake and came back across the middle of the course but it was too late.

As the fleet approached the windward mark, shouts of encouragement were heard across the water from the spectator botas who had gathered to watch the action. Despite their appalling start, WICHARDT and HAFKE were first to round, followed by Belinda HAYWARD and Kim WILKINSON-DAVIES (RSA) in second and Margit PRETTENHOFER and Claudia MANDL (AUT) third. DUVIGNAC and THEVENOT rounded in seventh place which put the South Africans in the gold medal position with the French and German teams tied on points for the silver and bronze.

WICHARDT and HAFKE took off downwind on the new course which was being indicated by a race committee boat at the windward mark, gybing off toward the stronger pressure on the left of the course. The German team had extended their lead to more than a minute by the time they reached the mark but the rest of the fleet had come back together. All but one of the ten boats opted for the left hand gate and headed up the right hand side of the beat for their last rounding of the windward mark. In tenth place going into the medal race and with no chance of getting a medal, Sharon FERRIS and Ashley HOLTUM (NZL) broke from the pack and headed off to the left of the beat.

DUVIGNAC and THEVENOT came through the gate in eighth position and had some work to do if they wanted to win the gold medal. After a good mark rounding they placed themselves to windward of the pack and with excellent boat speeed began working their way through the fleet. Meanwhile across the course, FERRIS and HOLTUM were benefitting from breaking from the crowd. As the wind continued to shift to the right they made enormous gains up the leg. Crossing behind the second placed South African's FERRIS and HOLTUM picked up the layline to round the final mark in second place.

By this point WICHARDT and HAFKE were well on their way to the finish and could only wait whilst the colour of their medal was decided by the positions of the teams behind them. As the rest of the fleet approached the windward mark, the flukey conditions were made even tricker as the wind dropped to well below five knots. The tricky conditions scuppered the chances of HAYWARD and WILKINSON-DAVIES as they found themselves under-standing the mark and grinding to a halt as they struggled to tack to get back on course.

Silvia and Lara SICOURI (ITA) rounded third behind the Kiwis, with Pamela NORIEGA and Andrea MIER Y TERAN (MEX) in fourth and DUVIGNAC and THEVENOT in fifth - if they could hold on, the gold medal was theirs. With some more excellent downwind sailing from the French girls they had worked themselves up the fleet to guarantee themselves the gold medal but time was not on their side.

Just five seconds before FERRIS and HOLTUM were about to cross the line, the time limit for the race was reached. All the remaining competitors scored DNF (did not finish) and had to add 22 points to their overnight score. For DUVIGNAC and THEVENOT this spelt disaster, if they had been able to finish they would have won the gold medal. For NELSON and KORZENIEWSKI it was a lucky break. Going into the medal race they were second overall and but at the last mark they were in tenth position and their chances of a medal had vanished.

So, Kerstin WICHARDT and Anja HAFKE (GER) win the gold medal which they will receive tonight at the medal ceremony in Podersdorf.

Asked how they felt about winning they laughed: 'great! - we thought it was all over at the start because we were so late. But we sailed and sailed and sailed and were first to the top mark. After that we had clear wind and it is much easier to stay ahead. The others followed each other but we could see which way was better downwind. It's impossible that we have won this! We counted the points yesterday and knew that we had to be two places in front of the South African team to win the bronze. That was our aim today. We couldn't guess what would happen with the time limit, that's life I guess. It was our lucky day.'

Team Racing Final

The team racing finals got underway at 1115 local time at Neusiedl. First up was the petit final to decide who would win the silver and then it was the final. In a best of five series for each medal decider, some of the world's best team racers were on show.

Team Racing Petit Finals - USA3 vs USA2

Round 1 got underway at 1115 local time in 3-4 knots of wind. It was an even start, with USA2 holding an early advantage, which they maintained downwind, despite some close tactical encounters with appeals for protests heard from both teams. USA2 were penalized for rocking at the bottom of the course, allowing USA3 to get right back into the fight. USA3 held a 1,3 combination up the final beat, which they maintained to the finish despite a close tacking duel approaching the finish line which allowed USA2 to close right up.

Round 2 got underway as soon as the boats returned from the previous finish keeping the tension high. A collision between the two teams at the committee boat end of the line resulted in a penalty for USA2. A penalty for USA3 further up the first beat meant they held a 2,3 combination at the windward mark after a succession of luffing matches between the pairs. The close racing continued downwind, with appeals for protest heard from USA3 which were turned down.

Round 3 saw the teams split up the first beat with USA2 taking the left hand side and arriving at the windward mark first and second with a comfortable lead. They were never seriously challenged and went on to record their first victory in the petit finals series.

Round 4 started with both teams fighting to get the upper hand, a battle that saw USA3 penalised before the start for a collision. USA2 won the start and both teams headed up the left hand side of the course. It was USA2 who capitalised on the early advantage to lead at the top mark, which they extended throughout the duration of the race to tie the match at two wins apiece.

Round 5 was to be a final round deciding race, with both teams still in contention for the bronze medal. A very close pre-start saw USA2 take an early lead with a 1,3 combination. A heated tacking duel up the first beat saw USA3 gain and it was all square again at the top mark. Appeals for protest by USA2 were turned down at the leeward mark, however up the final beat, USA2 took up the left hand side of the course and finished first and second to finish a dramatic comeback to take the bronze medal.

On going into the final deciding race, USA2 said 'the plan was to stay relaxed; it's pretty heated out there'. 'we would rather have been in the finals but we're pleased nevertheless'. Team Racing Finals USA1 vs GBR3

After a short postponement, Round 1 got underway in near perfect conditions with a building breeze from the south. With much encouragement by the spectators, the pairs engaged close to the shore, both fighting for the early advantage. A penalty against GBR3 at the start gave the early initiative to the Americans. Good slowing tactics by the leading GBR boat allowed his team mate to close the gap and the pairs were back together at the top of the course. After some close downwind action it was GBR3 who emerged from a heated battle at the last mark holding a 1,2. A collision half way up the final beat saw USA1 doing penalty turns and GBR3 sailed to a 1,3 win.

There was no delay in getting Round 2 underway, with pre-start shouts of protest from both teams. USA1 won the start in a breeze that was now building to excellent planing conditions for the 420. In the early part it was GBR3 that was in a good position as the pairs split tacks, however a port/starboard incident close to the top mark saw GBR3 taking penalty turns. This was to prove too much of an obstacle for the Brits to overcome and USA1 extended their lead to level the match at one all.

There was a short pause before the start of Round 3, whilst the race committee re-layed the startline. It was another close start with USA1 holding the windward advantage at the committee boat end of the line. The British team took up the left hand side of the course and led into the top mark first and second. A tactical downwind leg was GBR3's downfall, as both boats picked up penalties allowing USA1 to take a comfortable win.

Round 4 was a match GBR3 needed to win to take the series to a deciding final race showdown, and the pre-start certainly didn't disappoint. With plenty of cheering and jeering from both team's supporters on the shore, race four started with USA1 holding an early lead. This was maintained to the top of the course where a collision as one of the GBR boats tried ducking inside at the spreader mark resulted in penalty turns for the Brits. Undetered, GBR fought back to hold the lead at a now very choppy leeward mark. GBR3 took control up the last beat, covering USA1 all the way to the finish.

As with the petit finals earlier in the day, the final of the team racing also went to a final race decider. Tensions between the teams were high as an agressive pre-start developed into a close, tactical last race. A final beat tacking duel between the teams looked like deciding the outcome, but when GBR3 gybed round to break cover, a collision with the umpire boat left the race committee no option but to order a resail, much to the dismay of the Americans.

The final race re-run started evenly with all boats taking to the left hand side of the course. USA1 holding slight advantage at the windward mark, engaged the British team in a tactical battle, resulting in a penalty against GBR3 across the spreader leg, which allowed USA1 to take control at the start of a windy downwind leg. Excellent boat handling and slowing tactics by the leading GBR3 boat at the leeward mark allowed both pairs to close up and GBR3 muscled into a 2,3 combination at the start of the final beat. A fast and furious tacking duel up the final beat saw further penalties to the GBR3 team, which allowed USA1 to take control and cross the line first and second to claim a hard fought gold medal.

GBR3 commented: 'It was a great match. I really wanted to win as I already have a world championship silver and bronze and it would have been great to complete the set. Maybe next time!'.

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