British dominate at World Sailing Championships


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The Independent Online

All five of the British Finn class singlehanders were in the top seven for race six of their world championship off Fremantle, but none of them was first as both the win, and the overall lead, still belonged to Pieter-Jan Postma of the Netherlands.

Second was Giles Scott, who retains that position overall, followed by Ben Ainslie in third and Ed Wright fourth with Ainslie still third overall and defending champion Wright moving up a place to fifth.

A shocker of a result as the men’s 470 fleet also split into gold and silver divisions saw Britain’s Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell capsizing not long after the start, which caused a slight injury to Patience, and then, after winning back many places, they lost them again by fouling another boat and having to take penalty turns.

They finished 28th while their overnight joint leaders and principal rivals, Australia’s defending world champions Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, scored a third.

Belcher and Page kept the lead, Patience and Bithell could discard their 28th as their worst result so far, but had to re-instate a fifth. So they slipped to second overall, two points behind the Australians.

Nick Rogers and Chris Grube are 20 points adrift in seventh with Nic Asher and Elliot Willis a further seven points behind in 10th.

On a difficult day, Bryony Shaw slipped from second to fourth in the windsurfers but a return to form could still leave her with medal hopes while in Britain’s problem class, the women’s Laser, Alison Young remains best-placed at 10th with Charlotte Dobson 21st and Andrea Brewster 26th.

An international jury is in Cape Town to hear, again, a complaint, this time lodged by the French team Groupama, that Volvo round the world race rival, Camper of Spain, is using a system of mast adjustment that is outside the rules.

A similar complaint lodged by rival Spaniards from Telefonica and Puma of the United States was originally denied and then reviewed by an arbitration panel, which upheld the jury ruling. Groupama then lodged another complaint just ahead of the race start in Alicante last month, which was deemed technically unsound, but has now submitted a 30-page complaint, which the jury has agreed to examine.

The organisers, Camper, and the other competitors all want a decision ahead of the inshore race, which takes place on Saturday, and the start on Sunday of leg two. This takes the fleet  of six via an Indian Ocean safe haven yet to be revealed to avoid hi-jack by Somali pirates.

The yachts will then be lifted out and shipped to Sharjah, north-east of Dubai, and relaunched. The crews will fly to Sharjah and then race to Abu Dhabi. The main leg will count 80 per cent. of the points with the remaining 20 per cent. for the final sprint. The process, after an inshore race in Abu Dhabi, will be reversed for leg three to Sanya on Hainan Island, China.