Monday, January 14th, 2008, 5:57 am

Racing at the RS:X World Championships in Takapuna, New Zealand continued today with both the men and women sailing two races each.

Conditions were excellent with a NNE breeze increasing through the afternoon with clear and sunny skies. The women’s fleet was first out, racing in the early afternoon in around 10 knots of wind. The men followed starting mid afternoon in a freshening breeze of around 15 knots.

The old guard are out-classing the young guns in the early stages of the Women’s RS:X World Championships with Alessandra Sensini ITA and Barbara Kendall NZL sharing the lead at the end of day two.

Sensini was fifth in the first race of the day following that up with a win in race four of the regatta giving her three wins from four races and eight points in total. Kendall, also on eight points had a fourth and a win in today’s racing.

The two legends of Olympic wind surfing are yet to line up on the same starting line as Sensini has been racing in yellow group and Kendall are in blue group so far.

France has third and fourth on the women’s leader board with Charline Piccon in third place four points adrift of the leading pair. Piccon started the day with a share of the lead and was 4th and 5th in her two races on day two.

Reigning Olympic champion Faustine Merret has a share of fourth places on equal points with Blanca Manchon of Spain. Mingli Duan of China had an excellent day on the water with a first and a third seeing her climb to 6th place overall on the leader board.

Both Tom Ashley from New Zealand and Przemyslaw Miarczynski of Poland had a superb day on the water on day two of the RS:X Men’s World Champs each recording two wins in the two races sailed.

For Ashley this means a three point leading margin in the men’s fleet, winning three of four races on the score card and a total of six points. Lafuente of Spain is second overall in the men’s fleet at the end of day two with nine points.

Miarczynski POL prefers the stronger winds and with his two wins today and leapt from 19th place at the start of the day up to fifth overall.

Myszka of Poland is lying third overall just two points back from Lafuente after placing second in both of today’s races. Le Gal of France is lying fourth with 22 points.

Both the leading British contenders are consolidating their top ten positions. Bryony Shaw remains lightning fast upwind, but is continuing to work on her new marginal winds downwind technique, which at the moment is costing her a few positions. She was also seriously unlucky in the first race today, when – after leading for the entire first lap – she got some weed on her fin and just could not shake it off! Fortunately, when the wind picked up for the second race she was able to relax and enjoy herself, posting a pleasing 3rd place overall, which she will be delighted with seeing as she was not so long ago seen as the light wind specialist in the British team.

Nick Dempsey likewise has kept his cool, the first race of the day wasn’t brilliant by his standards, again suffering on the startline to emerge from the pack in around 15th position, and then working his way back up to 12th. But he too enjoyed the stronger winds to finish the day with a 5th, keeping him well in touch with the leaders.

Racing resumes tomorrow at midday with two more races (5 & 6) scheduled for both the men and women.

Women – Race Three

The women’s yellow group was the first to sail on day two getting underway at around 12:30 in 9 to 13 knots of wind. Reining Olympic champ Faustine Merret of France won race three of the regatta. Poland’s Malgorzata Bialecka was second and Chan Wai Kei of Hong Kong crossed in third.

In the blue group the Chinese team took two of the top three spots with Mingli Duan and Limei Sun shining in the relatively light breeze and taking first and third respectively. Blanca Manchon of Spain recorded a second place adding another good result to her score card. Barbara Kendall crossed the line just three seconds behind Sun to get fourth.

Women – Race Four

Overnight leader Alessandra Sensini came out with a yellow group win in race four of the women crossing half a minute ahead of Lee-El Korsitz of Israel. It was Sensini’s third win from four races. Bryony Shaw of Great Britain had her best race of the regatta with a third place.

It was a nail biting finish for the blue group in race four. Barbara Kendall took her second race win of the regatta overtaking Spain’s Marina Alabau on the final leg of the race. Alabau lead for the entire race until being passed by Kendall who crossed the line just five seconds ahead. Mingli Duan who won the earlier race in the blue group was third, just three seconds behind Alabau.

Men – Race Three

Przemyslaw Miarczynski of Poland took the first race of the day in yellow group beating Casper Bouman of the Netherlands across the line by 10 seconds. Ivan Pastor Lafuente of Spain, who started the day with a share of the lead placed third in race three of the regatta.

Tom Ashley of New Zealand won the first race for the blue group today, with Piotr Myszka of Poland crossing very close behind in second place. Richard Staufacher of Switzerland was third.

Men – Race Four

In the yellow group Przemyslaw Miarczynski of Poland made it two wins from two races on day two of the RS:X Worlds crossing ahead of Ivan Pastor Lafuente of Spain. France’s Nicholas Huguet was third.

Meanwhile in the blue group Ashley NZL, Myszka POL and Staufacher SUI took first, second and third in race four as they did in race three earlier in the afternoon.

Provisional Top Ten Standings

RS:X Men’s World Championships Day Two

1st Tom Ashley NZL – 6 points (3, 1, 1, 1)

2nd Ivan Pastor Lafuente ESP – 9 points (2, 2, 3, 2)

3rd Piotr Myszka POL – 11 points (2, 5, 2, 2)

4th Nicholas Le Gal FRA – 22 points (4, 3, 9, 6)

5th Przemyslaw Miarczynski POL – 23 points (10, 11, 1, 1)

6th Shahar Zubari ISR – 27 points (1, 3, 6, 17)

7th Nick Dempsey GBR – 29 points (5, 7, 12, 5)

8th Nimrod Mashiah ISR – 32 points (4, 7, 10, 11)

9th Joao Rodrigues POR – 34 points (18, 1, 5, 10)

10th Samuel Launay FRA – 36 points (14, 5, 11, 6)

Provisional Top Ten Standings

RS:X Women’s World Championships Day Two

1st = Alessandra Sensini ITA – 8 points (1, 1, 5, 1)

2nd = Barbara Kendall NZL – 9 points (2, 1, 5, 1)

3rd Charline Piccon FRA – 12 points (1, 2, 4, 5)

4th = Faustine Merret FRA – 13 points (3, 5, 1, 4)

4th = Blanca Manchon ESP – 13 points (2, 4, 2, 5)

6th Mingli Duan CHN – 16 points (5, 7, 1, 3)

7th Peina Chen CHN – 23 points (5, 3, 8, 7)

8th Marina Alabau ESP – 29 points (4, 2, 21, 2)

9th= Bryony Shaw GBR – 30 points (8, 8, 11, 3)

9th = Jessica Crisp AUS – 30 points (4, 10, 6, 10)


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