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Dutch Gold In Laser Radial At Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds
A live crowd of thousands and a worldwide TV audience watched the Laser and Laser Radial fleets conclude racing at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships with Dutch dominance afoot.
Marit Bouwmeester (NED) took a ten point lead into the Laser Radial Medal Race and finished third to seal the deal with Josefin Olsson (SWE) taking silver and Evi Van Acker (BEL) picking up bronze.
The Laser Radial fleet were first away on the Medal Race course at 13:15 local time. In a gusting southerly 20 knot wind blowing straight on to the stadium breakwater Evi Van Acker (BEL) won the start at the committee boat and was one of the first to tack off to the starboard side of the course.
Meanwhile Marit Bouwmeester (NED) went for speed off the start and sailed off more to the left before crossing to the right hand side. Van Acker led Mathilde de Kerangat (FRA) and Alison Young (GBR) round the first mark with Bouwmeester 20 seconds behind in fourth. The backwash from the spectator breakwater was causing some awkward waves on the downwind leg but all 4 boats got to the halfway point of the 30 minute race without incident. The second upwind was all about change. Acker led a group to the left whilst Bouwmeester played the middle to right won. Defending champion, Tina Mihelic (CRO), was best placed to take advantage of a right hand shift and she jumped from eighth to first.
Van Acker failed to cover the right hand side of the course and paid a high price dropping to eighth on the next rounding of the windward mark, one place behind Young. Bouwmeester maintained her fourth place which was all she had to win the title. In fact she gained a place on the downwind leg to the finish third to regain the title she won at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Australia.
In amongst a crowd of Dutch press and TV Bouwmeester said, "I am really happy to come away with a win. I had a good start with a good back swell. It was kind of tricky on the first upwind. I wanted to go right but didn't quite make it. I was happy with my second upwind. I tried to defend a little watching the girls on the left but it was tricky. The back swell was awesome.”
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS