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Events

World Laser Radial Women's Championship 2009

Sat 25th July 2009 - Sun 2nd August 2009

Karatsu, Japan

Photo's courtesy of K. Matsumoto & K. Soehata


Sunday 2nd August

Sari Multala from Finland wins the World Laser Radial Women Championship with a race to spare.

The conditions have been similar throughout the regatta and today was no exception. It has been tough but exhilarating sailing conditions with 15 to 18 knot NNE winds, choppy seas and a swell that increases during the day.

Sari kept a calm head and worked her way from third at the first mark into first place to win race 11 and the championship. She impressed with her skill on reaches and downwind legs to secure five wins and nine top ten placings over the six days of racing. She is indeed a worthy champion.

A good battle for second took place between Sophie de Turckheim of France and Anna Tunnicliffe from USA. It came down to the last race. Sophie bounced back from the disappointment of a BFD in race 10 to sail well today and gain a second and fifth to clinch second place overall. Anna has sailed a very consistent regatta with only one placing outside the top ten until today’s 15th place in race 11. It was another good day for Marit Bouwmeester from Nederlands with a third and a fifth today to improve to fourth position overall.

In the silver fleet Ashley Stoddart from Australia showed her dominance with two bullets today to win overall. As the second youngest competitor she is going to be a sailor to watch for the future. Claire Dennis from USA maintained her second placing from Jennifer Spalding from Canada in third and local sailor Wakakao Tabata from Japan in fourth. Wakako has shown a steady improvement over the regatta .

The sailors have really enjoyed the whole experience of this regatta and have high praise for the support and friendliness they have received from the people of Karatsu. Tomorrow, measurement begins for the Youth and Open Championships with race 1 starting on Wednesday 5 August.


Saturday 1st August 2009

The Laser Radial Women World Championships are set for an enthralling last day to decide the new world champion.

Karatsu in Japan turned on another fabulous sailing day with NNE winds of 12 – 16 knots. There were more oscillations today and good gains were made on the downwind legs. Racing was tense with the sailors pushing the start line to cause a general recall for each fleet in race 10 and a subsequent black flag for the next attempt. Three sailors in the gold fleet and one in the silver fleet will need to be more cautious tomorrow after OCS and BFD today.

With two drops now allowed Sari Multala from Finland maintains her lead in the gold fleet. She recovered from 6th around mark 1 in race 10 to win the race. Despite a boat to boat protest in race 10 which resulted in a disqualification for Lijia Xu of China, her win in race 9 combined with the second drop has her in third place. Anna Tunnicliffe from USA climbs back to second 9 points behind the leader with Sophie de Turckheim of France in fourth after a BFD in race 10. Annalise Murphy from Ireland impressed today with a second and fourth to improve to tenth. It is all on for some exciting racing in the gold fleet tomorrow.

In the silver fleet Ashley Stoddart of Australia maintained her lead with a good win in race 9 and a consistent third in race 10. Claire Dennis of USA, is one point behind now the redress points for damage that occurred in race 7 have been included. Jennifer Spalding of Canada is a further 11 points behind in third place. Joanne Prokop from Canada won race 10 today. Rosie Chapman’s good result of second in race 10 was spoilt by an attempted port start at the pin end that resulted in an OCS.

The Japanese Race Management team under PRO Matsuyama Kazuoka provided great courses again today and maintained the high standard of organisation to ensure starts are on time and course lengths meet the target time. There is a very strong team approach across the whole team and everyone appears to have an absolute desire to achieve excellence.

Karatsu citizens have embraced this contest in so many ways from providing bicycles to friendliness and hospitality all around the city. Every day about 130 volunteers assist with the day to day running of the event. On the water there about 60 volunteers in 24 boats including race management boats, rescue, patrol, spectator and press boats. Last night Hiro Kawano from the Japanese Yachting Federation hosted the midweek party. Sailors were able to experience a tea ceremony, Japanese cuisine and take part in some games. Hiro also took the time today to speak to the coaches and the race management team.

The last two races are scheduled for tomorrow with conditions expected to be similar.


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Friday 31st July 2009

Karatsu, Japan turned on another great day of sailing for the first day of the Gold and Silver fleet racing in the World Laser Radial Women Championship. It was a warm, cloudy day with 12 to 15 knots, consistent NNE winds and a half metre chop. The course moved slightly west today to counter the apparent right hand advantage. With some port end bias, the fleet was more spread down the line today at start time and all starts were clear. However there were still some who banged the right hand corner today, not necessarily with good effect.

In the first race of the gold fleet, race 7, Evi van Acker rounded mark 1 first ahead of Annalise Murphy from Ireland. Sari Multala from Finland came from behind with some good downwind sailing to finish in first place ahead of Anna Tunnicliffe in second, Evi third and Annalise in fourth. Overnight leader Lijia Xu from China did not have a good race but came second in race 8 and now lies in 4th place overall. Marit Bouwmeester from the Nederlands used the conditions well to lead race 8 from start to finish. Provisional results now have Sari Multalia from Finland in first place on 24 points, followed by Anna Tunnicliffe from USA on 25 points and Sophie de Turckheim of France in 3rd on 34 points.

In the silver fleet Ashley Stoddart from Australia had a very convincing win in race 7, leading from start to finish. Wakako Tabata from Japan sailed well to finish second. Ashley's 4th place in race 8 has given her the lead in the silver fleet on a count back from Laura Maers from Belgium. Race 8 was won by Claire Dennis from USA who improved from 5th at the first mark with Fanny Le Sausse from France in second.

The organization for the Laser Radial Worlds has been superb. The tireless event organizer, Takao Otani, with his welcoming smile, has brought the local team together to ensure that there is great racing and that competitors and officials have the opportunity to experience Japanese culture. Last night everyone was invited to Karatsu Castle for a traditional tea ceremony and other activities. Many of the sailors and officials were dressed in a yukata kimono, which they are allowed to keep, and two sailors entered in the fashion display. Karatsu Castle is an impressive structure built on a hill that overlooks the city and the racing area. The view from the top is amazing. Tonight is the midweek party at the venue.








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Thursday 30th July 2009

Karatsu Bay (also being affectionately called Castle Bay as Karatsu Castle is such an impressive landmark over looking the sailing area) in Japan turned on superb sailing conditions for Day 3 of the Laser Radial Women World Championships. Two races were sailed for each fleet in 12 to 15 knots and a constant NNE breeze. There were enough waves and swell for the better sailors to show their skills and stamina. The sailors are commenting that these are challenging and exciting conditions surfing down the waves at great speed. The race management team was pleased to have the first finisher in all races within four minutes of the target time of one hour and to be on schedule with a complete qualifying series.

The sailors were too keen in the first start of the yellow fleet and a general recall was called. It was then a clear start under a black flag. In this race Sari Multala from Finland used the waves to good effect to take the lead on the last reach to finish first. With a second in race 6 Sari has moved into second place. Lijia Xu is showing her skill in these conditions to lead the competition after a fifth in race 5 and a very convincing win in race 6.

Sophie de Turkheim from France was dominant in the blue fleet with two bullets today and is now in 4th place. Anna Tunnicliffe of USA with a third and sixth today drops to third overall but her consistency may well pay off in the end. Charlotte Dobson from Great Britain has sailed very consistently over the last two days to move into 8th position just behind Sarah Steyaert of France and Veronica Fenclova of Czech Republic. Alberte Lindberg of Denmark is also sailing consistently to be in 5th position.

The fleet will now be divided into gold and silver fleets for the last three days of racing. With only 3 points separating the top four we are expecting some very close contests on the water.

Last night the second of the Laser Café Twilight Series was sailed with Brett Breuer taking line honours. Brett is an Australian who coaches the Singapore team. He has won the Apprentice Masters Laser Worlds several times and was able to demonstrate his skills to the spectators lining the racing area.

Tatiana Kulakova from Vladivostok chose to travel to this contest via a two day sea voyage on a passenger ship. She is the only sailor from her region in the women’s fleet. Her yacht club has about 15 laser sailors so the class is widening its representation around the world.


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Wednesday 29th July 2009

It was a tough day on the water today for the sailors. After being kept ashore because of concerns about thunder storms, a clearance was given to head to the water and racing started at 1205 in 11 to 12 knots. Like yesterday a shift to the right caused a postponement for the Blue Fleet and a course change to straighten the outer loop for the yellow fleet. Race 3 for the yellow fleet provided the only OCS of the day. Conditions became very tricky for the sailors in race 3 as the sea built to a two metre swell and a decreasing breeze of only 6 to 7 knots. It was very difficult to catch the enticing waves. Despite some intervention by the race committee to decrease the length of the legs the sailors would have been pleased to see the end of a somewhat longer race.

In contrast race 4 started in the lighter breeze that increased steadily during the race with 20 knot gusts by the end. This gave exciting conditions for the sailors with big gains to be made for those who knew how to catch the waves.

Lijia Xu, bronze medalist from Qingdao is one to watch with a second and first today to lead the competition from Anna Tunnicliffe, gold medallist in the last Olympics, who scored a 3rd and a 5th today. With one drop both are on 9 points. Sari Multala from Finland jumped up the leader with a 1st and 3rd today. She won the Pre Worlds at this venue in May. Two races are scheduled for tomorrow.

Last night the inaugural Laser Café Twilight Race was held in the water close to the boat park. Takao Otani, the Radial Worlds Event Organiser, gave an amazing running commentary for the assembled company that included some local dignitaries. Spectators lined the marina to cheer the sailors on. Veronika Fenclove from the Czech republic took out the race from Watanabe the local hero. Jean Luc Michon, the laser Class Vice President and member of the jury sailed a good race to finish fourth in a fleet of 14 boats. A second race is to be held tonight.













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Tuesday 28th July 2009

Veronika FENCLOVA of the Czech Republic and US Olympic Champion Anna TUNNICLIFFE are tied at the top of the leaderboard after day one of racing at the 2009 Laser Radial Worlds in Karatsu, Japan.

The 2009 ISAF Grade W Women s Laser Radial World Championships started today with two races being sailed. All 87 registered competitors from 30 countries were on the water today, with the competition split into two fleets.

The Czech Republic s Veronika FENCLOVA got her World Championship off to a perfect start with a win in race one. After following that result with a fifth she sits at the top of the overall standings at the end of day one. Tied on six points with FENCLOVA is Beijing Olympic gold medalist and ISAF Sailing World Cup leader Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) who posted 2, 4 scores in her two races. Young Spanish star Susana ROMERO also got off to a flying start with a sixth and a race win putting her third overall.

The anticipated wind was late coming so the fleets were postponed on the water with the first race getting underway 40 minutes after the scheduled starting time. The only starting blemishes were recorded in the first start of the yellow fleet with five sailors being called OCS. The other three starts were all clear. The course was altered for the yellow fleet in the first race to straighten up the first run. Otherwise the wind was relatively consistent from the NNE with a strength of 7-12 knots and as the wind increased there was enough swell for exciting sailing and gains to be made. The beat length was made longer for the second race and all four races were within seven minutes of the target time.

Race two in the blue fleet provided one of the highlights of the day with an exciting dual between ROMERA and Sophie DE TURCKHEIM from France. DE TURCKHEIM showed the value of a very good start to lead the fleet until she was passed on the final reach to mark five by ROMERA who retained the lead through to the finish.

Along with ROMERO, Spanish teammate Lucia REYES also started strongly and is fourth after 4, 3 scores, just ahead of New Zealand skipper Sara WINTHER. DE TURCKHEIM is sixth, with Tina MIHELIC of Croatia, currently second in the World Cup Standings and the 2008 European Champion, seventh overall after a seventh and a race win. Today s other race winner was reigning World Champion Sarah STEYAERT (FRA). Like FENCLOVA she won her opening race of the championship but slipped to 15th in the next, putting her 11th overall.

Other names to look out for are recent winner of Europeans, US skipper Paige RAILEY in eight place, the top placing Japanese Yukiyo SAIKI in 10th and 2007 World Champion Tatiana DROZDOVSKAYA (BLR) in 13th. Evi VAN ACKER of Belgium lies 17th, 2007 and 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship winner Gabrielle KING (AUS) is 19th, Finnish star Sari MULTALA 21st, whilst China s Olympic bronze medalist Lijia XU will be disappointed to lie 34th overall.

The Japanese race management team is to be congratulated on being very well prepared with good systems in place for the smooth running of the races. The large number of volunteers are doing everything they can to make everyone feel welcome and to run an event of a high standard. The Opening Ceremony was held last night and was a very grand event held at the City Hall and gave all participants a taste of Japanese culture and an opportunity to savour the exquisitely presented cuisine.

The forecast for tomorrow is for heavy rain with a further two races scheduled.


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Monday 27th July 2009

On July 27 - 88 boats from 30 countries in Japan now. The practice race started at 14:15 with nearly 40 boats exploring the race area. After 3 days of heavy rain, it was nice to be back on the water, and also the north east wind was blowing 15-18 kt throughout the day. Nearly 40 boats participated in the practice race, but only 6 of them sailed to the finish.

From 18:30 at the Library Plaza, the Opening Ceremony took place, and all competitors, coaches, and other supporting volunteers, guests et al, enjoyed the buffet party after the opening ceremony.

Karatsu is the host city of the championship and its symbol is the Red Dragon. The citizen of Karatsu support the championship and many volunteers are involved in organizing the event. We all look forward to the 1st race tomorrow at 11:30.


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