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Sailing - 16. July 2008.

Great Britain leads national standings at halfway stage

Århus, Denmark – 15 July, 2008 – Great Britain is leading a close four-country battle for the Volvo Trophy, awarded to the best-performing nation at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship.

David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race/onEdition
Frances Peters and Claire Lasko, representing Britain in the girls 29er dinghy class, at this years Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship.

The young British sailors can enjoy the lay day in Århus, Denmark today, after a highly successful start to the championship which puts them 17 points clear at the top of the Volvo Trophy standings. New Zealand follow the Brits in second place, whilst the defending champion Australia lie third, just ahead of the host nation Denmark. France, nine-time winners of the Volvo Trophy, complete the top five, but has a lot of ground to make up with a 45-point gap separating them from the British team.

The national battle at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship is as fiercely fought as any of the seven individual titles and more than any other event exemplifies the unique spirit of the championship. The standings are calculated based on a nation’s top four crews after each race is completed across all the fleets, meaning a sailor out of medal contention can still have a massive impact on their team’s performance with a strong finish.

The British success so far has been spearheaded by the two 29er teams who both hold the overall lead, but mixed performances from them in races seven and eight (which the other fleets are yet to complete) could see the standings tighten by the end of tomorrow. Following the lay day, there’s also a new factor added into the equation: pressure. With just three days of racing remaining, the finishing line is drawing closer and any mistakes begin to prove more and more costly.

David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race/onEdition
Maja Knezevic, sailing in the girls Laser class, is the only competitor representing Serbia at this years Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. She is one of 29 sailors at this years event supported by ISAF's Athlete Participation Programme (APP).

Amongst the five leading teams, only Denmark has never won the Volvo Trophy before. Great Britain’s two wins came back in 1995 and 1996 with the team of ‘ferrets’ coached by Jim Saltonstall, many of whom went on to win medals at the Sydney and Athens Olympic Games. New Zealand has also won the trophy twice before (1992 and 1994), whilst Australia have won three times (in 1993 and 2003 as well as last year).

Following the lay day, racing resumes in Århus tomorrow at 12:00 local time. Two races (three for the 29er fleets) are scheduled for each event on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, the final day of the Championship, just one race will be held in each event to decide the 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champions and the winners of the Volvo Trophy.

Volvo Trophy Standings (after six races)

1. Great Britain – 187 points
2. New Zealand – 170 points
3. Australia – 163 points
4. Denmark – 160 points
5. France – 142 points
6. Brazil – 117 points
7. Cyprus – 112 points
8. USA – 100 points
9. Italy – 97 points
10. Greece – 92 points

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