|RIZHAO, CHINA-(8-9-2006) Reigning World Champions Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) take over the lead in the Menís Fleet by scoring two wins in the first two races of today. In the Womenís Fleet, Yuka YOSHISAKO and Noriko OKYMA (JPN) managed to retain their lead over title defenders Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED).
The Race Committee decided to run three races today in order to obtain a secure margin to finalize the Qualifying series of six races. This leaves the qualifying series with only one more race to go before the Championship moves into the finals.
Racing got underway at noon in light conditions with only 6 to 9 knots of wind and no current. Tide tables are major assets in this Championship event as the water started moving half way the first race with a speed of 18 cm/s, increasing in strength during the day reaching speeds up to 43 cm/s
Race two got started in a more favorable 17 knots breeze with the yellow flag hoisted. In the final phase of the race, the wind died as much that the Race Committee decided to limit the sailorís advantages to use body and strength to speed up the boat by taking the flag out.
And there was still one race to go. With two races behind them already during day, and with the sailorís awareness they were reaching the end of the Qualifying series in conditions of light winds and a strong current, sailing reached a high level of complexity.
Very close racing in the Menís Fleet
In the menís Fleet Australiaís Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE have taken the lead with an excellent performance during the first two races crossing the finish line in first position. In the third race they were less fortunate with a sixteenth position, which is now their active discard and loss off margin for another below average result.
Also Nick ROGERS and Joe GLANFIELD from Great Brittain, one of the predicted contenders for the Title at this Championship move up fast by two second places in the first two races today and now take a second place overall.
The current top fifteen can hardly fall out of the limits for the Gold Fleet. It needs at least one more race before any predictions for the outcome of this event can be made carefully.
Chinese 470 Men are not much involved in the shuffle of master positions yet. Best ranked are Deng DAOKUN and Wang WEIDONG as thirty-second.† They still have good chances to reach the Gold Fleet and keep China in the Finals.
Flipping coins on bullets in the Womenís Fleet
In the 470 Womenís Fleet eyes are focused on the Japanese Ladies YOSHISAKO and Noriko OKYMA† who make great efforts. After finishing in a relatively fair seventh position in race three, they improve during the day to finally score a third place in race four and a bullet in race five.
Title defenders Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT from The Netherlands retained their second overall position, now in a Japanese sandwich between the leaders and Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA keeping the honors high of Japanese bullets in race three, the first race of today.
Swedenís Therese THORGERSSON and Vendela ZACHRISSON demand their deserved position back on top of the leaderboard. Measuring strength in the same ground as the Dutch current Champs they cross the finish line as sixth, first and fifth at todayís races which takes them to a fourth overall position.
Also youth talents influence the 470 Womenís top ten. The winners of the 470 Junior Europeans Women held in Tavira last month, Emmanuelle ROL and Anne-Sophie THILO (SUI) currently take a seventh overall position.
Best home performers at the 470 Women are Wang XIAOLI and Huang XUFENG on ninth place overall. Until today they have quite a consistent serie of results and they may be Chinaís best hope for a medal.
A battle for decision making points tomorrow
Tomorrow there will be a strong battle for every single point that might be decision making whether a team will proceed the World Championship with chances for a medal in the Gold Fleet, or proceed the event in the secondary Silver of Bronze Fleets.