(Sandringham, Australia) A glorious Melbourne day with clear blue skies and a challenging wind from the south-east greeted sailors on the final day of qualifying at the ILCA Laser Standard Men’s World Championship at Sandringham Yacht Club.
The sailors responded with good behavior on the start line and, in contrast to the previous day’s black flags and general recalls, all three fleets got away cleanly whenever they came under starter’s orders.
Germany’s Philipp Buhl leads at the half-way mark after another superb display of sailing. Buhl finished fourth in the first race of the championship, but Buhl has now recorded four bullets in six races to go into the Gold Fleet with a remarkable 6 points after discarding his worst result.
“It was a great day,” said the smiling German. When asked why he was sailing so well, he replied, “Sometimes it just happens. The shifts played into my hands. You either had the shift or you didn’t, and all day I did.”
“I’m very happy with the way I’m sailing, but now we go into Gold Fleet and it all changes.”
Buhl is closely followed by Frenchman, Jean-Baptiste Bernaz, and and Rio Olympic silver medallist, Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia.
Ranked world number one, Australian Matt Wearn is putting together a solid regatta and is in fourth place, 10 points behind Buhl. He got caught on the wrong side of some shifts today and was 11th in the final race, but can discard that and go into Gold Fleet in good shape.
Unfortunately, the forecast for the first day of Gold Fleet sailing is not encouraging. There is likely to be little wind, but with thunderstorms and rain showers expected to sweep across the course area.
Whatever happens, this fascinating world championship makes for riveting viewing as the top-10 sailors all remain within reach of the medals.
Provisional results after 6 races:
1. Philipp BUHL (GER) 6 pts.
2. Jean Baptiste BERNAZ (FRA) 8 pts.
3. Tonci STIPANOVIC (CRO) 12 pts.
4. Matt WEARN (AUS) 16 pts.
5. Luke ELLIOTT (AUS) 17 pts.
6. Filip JURIŠIC (CRO) 18 pts.
7. Michael BECKETT (GBR) 18 pts.
8. Sam MEECH (NZL) 21 pts.
9. Thomas SAUNDERS (NZL) 21 pts.
10. Rutger VAN SCHAARDENBURG (NED) 21 pts.
Full results at: http://sailingresults.net/sa/results/overall.aspx?ID=80326.1
Jon Emmett interviews France’s Jean-Baptiste Bernaz: See video.
Roger McMillan/Laser 2020 Media
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