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Sailing - 18. March 2008.

Steyeart (France) takes the lead at Radial Worlds


photos Richard Gladwell



A postponement due to lack of wind delayed the scheduled start of racing off Takapuna Beach for the 116 boat Women's Laser Radial fleet competing for the world title. However a light north easterly sea breeze gradually filled in and the fleet left the beach at around 1o'clock for a 2 o'clock start to racing.

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The day belonged however to Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) and Lijia Xu (CHN) who both brought home a race win with a solid leading margin in their respective fleets in today's race. Despite this neither Tunnicliffe of Xu are featuring in the top ten as the American is carrying an OCS and lies 36th overall while Xu has a DSQ on her scorecard and lies 30th at this stage in the regatta. Both will likely rocket up the leader board once the first discard comes into play.

Steyaert leapt into the lead today after placing 2nd in today's race after starting the day lying 5th overall. She has a total of nine points which means her leading margin is slight with Evi Van Acker (BEL) hot on her heals just one point adrift on ten points. Van Acker, who had a share of the lead overnight, was 7th on the water today.

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Australian Sarah Blanck retains third overall after race three with an 8th placing in today's race and is three points back from Van Acker.

Local girl and current ISAF # 1, Jo Aleh was a big mover in the standings today shooting from 11th overall up to 4th place on the leader board. Fighting her way back from 10th at the first mark Aleh managed to cross the line in 5th which gives her a points total of 18 putting her eight points clear of Nathalie Brugger (SUI) who has 5th place in the current standings.

Sari Multala of Finland will be disappointed after a poor race today saw her drop out of the lead and back to 12th place overall. A 37th in race three was the cause of her slide down the standings, and this race will likely become her discard once in play.

The intention for tomorrow, Tuesday 19th March is for an early start to racing in order to try and catch up for lost races on Saturday and today. Organisers hope to start racing at 10am in order to squeeze in three races.

116 competitors from 40 countries are competing in the World Championship, which is also the final Qualifier for the 2008 Olympic regatta in Qingdao, China.
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