Day 3 Race 7 of the Qualifying Round – Highlights

In this last day of qualifying, tensions were high as everyone wanted to be in the top ten and move on to the finals. Particularly tempting is the first place, giving a direct ticket to the semi-finals. Main contenders for the pole, Scheidt and Prada started the race but stopped straight away after a problem with the gib sheets, meaning they could sit this race out.

Where most went left off the line, Croatians Gaspic and Sitic chose the right-hand route, allowing them to switch left and pull in front near the mid-leg point. The lead was constantly challenged as it changed between the top 8 Stars up the leg. The Greeks Papathanasiou and Tsotras as well as Americans Scott and Milne stuck to the right hand side and could only watch as all the others pulled away on the left.

Some even took their left route too far and paid the price as they had to reel back into the line at the top mark. The fleet spread out along the first downwind, Loof/Ekstrom and Negri/Lambertenghi  showing exceptional skill as they pulled away to gain a 100m lead on the rest. Torben and Almeida showed their experience, not folding under pressure and coming back to grab the 3rd position, keeping it through the bottom mark.

Things got tighter as the athletes neared the end of the third leg, everyone playing a more conservative strategy and staying towards the middle. Points leaders Mendelblatt and Fatih stayed close to the leaders, maintaining a top 5 position, but dropped to 10th position at the top buoy.

The considerable lead of the top two, Loof/Ekstrom and Negri/Lambertenghi ,was clearly an advantage at the final turn, allowing them to sail their proper course and hammer away an impressive 200m lead.

Let’s not forget the incredible performance by Junior and Pritchard, finishing in the top ten after Josh Junior had his hand stitched up just before the race.

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