[Source: Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championship] The first Gold fleet races at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships started with a moderate sea breeze providing almost perfect sailing conditions off Fremantle on Thursday.
Poland’s Zofia Noceti-Klepacka had more on her mind than just winning her RS-X races on Thursday, crediting her impressive comeback on a new mental outlook.
Noceti-Klepacka, 25, said her turnaround from Monday’s racing – where she had a 10th and an 18th – to winning two of Thursday’s three Gold fleet races to move into third place overall was because of a personal tragedy.
“My friend died, so I was very sad,” she said. “On the first day my head wasn’t in the sailing, but everyone spoke to me and told me to sail for him. I am sailing for him. Sometimes there are things more important than sailing.”
Noceti-Klepacka didn’t just win races six and seven in the Gold Fleet. She smashed the opposition as she headed home by large margins, firstly in light winds and then in a moderate sea breeze.
“My first day was really bad but now I’ve recovered. Now I can fight for a medal. I feel very fast.”
Israel’s Lee Korzits leads the Women’s RS:X competition in the ISAF Worlds on 14 points with Spain’s Marina Alabau second on 20. Noceti-Klepacka has 27 points in third place, two clear of Great Britain’s Bryony Shaw.
France’s Charline Picon is on 30, followed by Huang Ye (CHN) on 35, Italians Laura Linares (45) and Flavia Tartaglini (52) and China’s Li Ling (56).
In the Silver fleet, Greece’s Angeliki Skarlatou won two races after a 16th.
The women’s RS:X competition is scheduled to continue at 1445 local time on Saturday, 10 December on the Leighton course.
Australians Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page are on track to defend their Men’s 470 world championship crown after taking the overall lead from Great Britain duo Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell on Thursday.
Belcher and Page finished third in the Gold fleet while Patience and Bithell (GBR) claimed a disastrous 28th position following a bad start and a capsize.
Croatia pairing and world No. 3 Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic powered through the course to take first place and were followed by Israel’s Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela.
Israel’s Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela finished second of Belcher and Page.
Racing is scheduled to continue from 1200 Perth time Friday on the Centre course.
Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) has retained his narrow lead in the Finn class after taking out the only Gold fleet race on Thursday.
Postma was challenged for most of the race by his two closest competitors on points, Giles Scott (GBR) and Ben Ainslie (GBR), who finished second and third respectively in the Gold fleet’s race 6. Scott and Ainslie therefore retained their second and third places overall.
The six top performers in the Yellow and Blue fleet races mostly were the top sailors in the first Gold race.
Ed Wright (GBR) finished in fourth place, followed closely by Jonathan Lobert (FRA).
There was one exception: Rafael Trujillo (ESP), dropped from fifth to eighth place after a disappointing 19th place on today (Thursday).
The Silver fleet’s race 6 was won by Brendan Wilton (CAN), ahead of Timo Hagoort (NED) and Martin Robitaille (CAN).
Racing is scheduled to continue from 1300 Perth time on Friday on the Leighton course.
Women’s Match Racing
Close matches ensured exciting sailing wrapped up the end of the Stage 1 Round Robin for Group A in the Women’s Match Racing with USA and Russia securing a berth at the London 2012 Olympic Games after finishing top of the group.
Australia and Finland can still make it through to the quarter-finals and secure an Olympic berth with a top four finish in the Stage 2 Round Robin repechage.
Nicky Souter (AUS-1) added to the excitement of the day in her match against Stephanie Hazard (NZL), much to the delight of the Australians in the grandstand.
Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) turned around a disappointing start with wins over Dekleva Paoli (SLO), Lehtinen (FIN), Skudina (RUS), Souter (AUS-1) and Hazard (NZL) following two losses in her morning matches.
The last race of the day was the rescheduled morning match between USA-1 and NZL after it had been abandoned due to a collision with an umpire boat.
NZL had received a penalty against USA-1, and then collided with the umpire boat as they attempted to take it, with crew member Susannah Pyatt receiving a slight bump on the head.
There was also a set-back for Argentina against Germany in flight 17, with skipper Martina Maria Silva falling overboard, forcing her team to turn around to pick her up. Germany won the match.
Women’s Match Racing is scheduled to continue from 1000 local time on Friday on the Harbour course.
World number two, Evi van Acker (BEL), continues to lead the Laser Radial competition by 14 points overall despite finishing a race outside the top four for the first time.
World number one Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and world number five Paige Railey (USA) are her closest competition after Day 6 of racing in the ISAF Worlds off Fremantle.
The Gold fleet started the day in a moderate wind which picked up later to 18 knots of sea breeze.
Paige Railey (USA) had her first win of the series in race six, with her only competition coming from Lijia XU (CHN) and Evi van Acker.
Railey won the race comfortably, while the real fight was between Xu and van Acker for the minor placings.
Continuing her good form, Lijja XU picked up another 2nd place after leading for much of race seven. On the second last leg, Beijing silver medallist, Gintare Scheidt (LTU), sailed ahead of XU to win her first race in Perth 2011.
Marit Bouwmeester suffered her worst result of the championship in race six, finishing 13th.
Laser Radial competition is scheduled to continue on Saturday, 10 December with the Gold fleet set to start at 1200 Perth time on the Centre course, while the Silver fleet is scheduled to begin at 1450 on the Parmelia course.