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Olympic Sailing: Mistral Worlds
The Mistral sailboard world championships are underway in New Caledonia. For many sailors this is a chance to grab a spot for their country in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Among teams needing to qualify for spots in the Men's fleet are Germany, the USA and Spain. The best results for these teams in the men's fleet is 14th for Spain. After having sailed 4 races and discarded 1 race, Germany's best is a 16th and the USA's Mike Gebhardt lies 24th. Other nations seeking a spot in the Men's Mistral fleet stand as follows: Sweden 20th, Netherlands 23rd and Canada 17th. After four races none of these teams appear to have a particularly strong shot of gaining a slot.
Several nations also need to qualify for a spot in the Women's Mistral fleet. Two countries are off to strong starts in their effort. Great Britain's Christine Johnson lies 3rd. The Netherlands's Marga Stalman lies 6th. Other countries needing a spot are struggling. Greece is 29th, Israel 31st. The USA's Lanee Butler is in 27th place.
After two days of racing it is clear that many teams will have trouble locking in a spot. This may include the USA in the men's fleet.
Even though the USA has a spot already clinched in the women's fleet 27th is not a good placing. With under a year to the Olympics it is clear that the USA still needs vast improvement from their boardsailros.
(C)update: Standings change
Note: We have changed the format of our America's Cup Coverage. We now have two methods of giving you (C)updates. One is called (C)update Daily. It will be updated daily and include: results, a brief summary of the days races, updated standings and a the lineup for the next race. Sailing Daily will continue to provide more in depth reporting and analysis.
Race 7 of round produced several results that resulted in big changes to the standings table. Keep in mind at this point all that is essential is a spot in the Top 6 as 6 boats make the semifinals.
Still, all teams are completive and want to be win as much as possible. Wins at this point can be important psychologically as well as points wise.
Two matches had a significant impact on the standings. These matches also point out the progress of the two teams based in San Francisco.
Prada and America One had their 2nd match of the trials. These teams are considered amongst the top three contenders. Round 1's match went to Prada when America One's spinnaker expired while in the lead. This time a breakdown did not enter the race. Prada gained the advantaged left hand side at the start. They never trailed and posted a 1 minute victory. America One's Paul Cayard kept a stiff upper lip saying, "I was satisfied with our boat speed and handling."
This result is not fatal for America One as they are still in 5th place. However, this loss means they have yet to beat either Prada or Young America. They will need such victories to advance. Cayard continues to say he is happy with America One's speed. This would seem to leave these losses on his sailing teams shoulders.
Compared to such teams as Prada and America True Cayard's team has not trained as much. Perhaps this is why a talented group has suffered consistently poor starts and equipment breakdowns. Even if the just arrived USA 61 provides a boat speed boost, America One will definitely need to raise their level of sailing proficiency.
The other match that saw standings places change was the America True vs. Stars and Stripes contest. The teams had conflicting theories on where to go. This tactical story is covered in today's (C)update Daily.
America True's win put them 3rd in the standings. While America True has not always had speed the equal of others, the crew work and equipment have worked well. America True boss Dawn Riley says, "We've had the team sailing here from July on, and the reason we got the team here early was to see what gear was going to break. There hasn't been anything major, and that's a tribute to [designer] Phil Kaiko and the builders." America True helmsman John Cutler has similar feelings saying: "We had our new boat on the water early. We made sure that we took the time to do a lot of sailing. And as it looks now, that time on the water counts for something."
As a one boat team America True may not achieve the heights of boat speed, but their reliability gives them an advantage which they have leveraged nicely.
For now the one boat teams of America True and Stars and Stripes stand 3rd and 4th. Paul Cayard's team has fallen to 5th, but has another boat we have not seen raced. Prada seems the most polished benefiting from extensive training time. Young America has bounced back from their infamous 'Gondola' incident. The final team in the top 6 is Nippon which has seen breakages and inconsistent sailing hold them back. These six teams can all make a case for being the winner, and Torresen Sailing Site will continue coverage as they state their cases.