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Sailing - 17. March 2008.

Finland leads Laser Radial Womens Worlds


All photos by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ


Sari Multala (FIN) and Evi Van Acker (BEL) have the early lead with a win and a second place apiece at the 2008 Women's Laser Radial World Championships which got underway today, the second day of scheduled racing, on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

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It was a warm sunny day on Auckland's North Shore and a 20 knot south westerly greeted sailors for race one of the regatta which kicked off on time at 11am this morning. Easing slightly for race two the fleet enjoyed excellent sailing conditions all day, after the wind failed to show yesterday.

Van Acker enjoyed being back on the water for some top level competition having spent recent months laying low with a virus. However the Belgian demonstrated today that she's back in top form with a stunning start to the regatta. Despite traditionally being more of a light air specialist Van Acker's recent training paid off and she won the first race in the blue fleet.

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'I think it's the first time I've won a race in strong winds,' she said after racing today. 'I'm usually more of a light wind sailor. But last month I've been training, and I've been getting better, and today was just great. I was so fired up because it's been so long since I've done a real regatta'

'The first race I had a good start, good speed and I was far out in front from the start with an easy lead.'

'In the second race I had a bad start, in the beginning it didn't work out for me, I was on the wrong tack. But anyway I tried to climb up, I was, I think seventh or eighth at the top mark. I made too many mistakes on the downwind; I think I could have won the race,' continued Van Acker.

'But woah, great day, great result - I was crying after the first race. I'm really happy.'

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Sari Multala of Finland had an equally good start to the regatta placing 2nd in race one in the yellow fleet and then following that up with a win in race two.

Both Sarah Blanck of Australia and Paige Railey of the USA also started strongly and have a share of third place both just two points adrift of the leaders. Blanck had a win and a fourth in racing today while Railey was third and second giving them both five points in total and well placed in this world class fleet going into the second day of the five day series.

Behind them is Frances Sarah Stayaert with a sixth and a win on the water today she has 7 points in total and lays fifth overall on the leaderboard.

Jo Aleh is the best placed of the New Zealand contingent and sits in 11th place overall with two 7th's on the water today. The light air specialist suffered with a capsize on the water today still managing a respectable result and is on equal points with Vickers (GBR) in 10th.

Women's Laser Radial World Championship 2008
PROVISIONAL Top twelve overall standings after two races

1st Sari Multala FIN - 3 points (2, 1)
2nd Evi Van Acker BEL - 3 points (1, 2)
3rd Sarah Blanck AUS - 5 points (1, 4)
4th Paige Railey USA - 5 points (3, 2)
5th Sarah Stayaert FRA - 7 points (6, 1)
6th Charlotte Dobson GBR - 8 points (5, 3)
7th Lijia Xu CHN - 8 points (3, 5)
8th Marit Bouwmeester NED - 12 points (4, 8)
9th Nathalie Brugger SUI - 12 points (7, 5)
10th Lizzie Vickers GBR - 14 points (8, 6)
11th Jo Aleh NZL - 14 points (7, 7)
12th Katarzyna Szotzynska POL - 16 points (10, 6)
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