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Olympic Sailing: Mistral Worlds
Saturday saw the completion of the Mistral sailboard world championships. The waters of New Caledonia in French Polynesia saw both the men's and women's championships contested and decided. Also at stake were 10 spots in the Men's mistral fleet for the 2000 Olympics and 8 women's spots.
The top sailors in both fleets tended to be from the Southern Hemisphere. The men's world champion is Lars Kleppisch of Australia. 2nd were sailors from Fiji and Argentina both nations of the southern hemisphere. A Grecian sailor took 4th, while a New Zealander was 5th. This gave the southern hemisphere a podium sweep and 4 of the top 5 spots in the men's fleet.
The women's fleet also saw strong performance from southern hemisphere sailors. The women's world champion is Barbara Kendall of New Zealand. The other podium spots went to French sailors. 4th and 5th spots went to Australians.
Combining the premier spots in both fleets southern hemisphere sailors took 4 of the 6 podium spots. This includes both world titles. The southern hemisphere teams also took 7 of the 10 top 5 spots.
After the results were calculated a total of 14 nations had gained spots in the Sydney Olympic fleets. The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, and Japan all gained spots in both fleets. China, Brazil, Ukraine, Germany, Hungary, and Sweden picked up spots in the men's fleet. Canada, Switzerland, Israel and Belgium gained women's spots.
The USA missed qualifying in the men's fleet. The last nation to qualify was Sweden in 33rd, while the USA's Mike Gebhardt was 38th. In the women's fleet the nation that almost made it was Greece with a 32nd, Canada took the last spot in 31st.
With a spot in the men's Mistral fleet, Germany now has qualified sailors in all 10 events. Other nations who boosted their chances of Olympic medals were the UK, Spain and the Netherlands. The United Kingdom now is qualified in 9 of 10 fleets. They still must qualify a women's 470 team. Spain is a also set in 9 of 10 events. They lack a Finn entrant. The Netherlands gained 2 spots at the Mistral worlds and now needs 3 more slots: 470 men, Star and Tornado.
With 298 days until the Sydney games, more athletes now know they'll be at the games. Look for sailors from several down under teams to be strong in the board sailing events. Don't look for the USA's board sailors to be top performers.
(C)update: Sail on Stars and Stripes
In a unique juncture of the America's Cup, the Internet and fundraising Team Dennis Conner is using the Internet to raise funds and provide sailors the world over a chance at riding on an America's Cup boat.
Stars and Stripes is utilizing the internet auction site e-bay to auction off a trip to Auckland as the 17th crew member on Stars and Stripes. Bidding opens at $ 75,000. Bidding on this unique opportunity closes 25 November.
The winning bidder will receive: 2 round trip air tickets, 4 days and 3 nights hotel accommodations, a chance to sail a round 3 race as the 17th man, food, a tour of the compound , breakfast the morning of the race, a ride for your companion on the 120 ft. spectator yacht, an autographed crew jacket and a half model.
You may view this auction by clicking here .
The winning bid will go to sponsor Stars and Stripes America's Cup campaign. This is another America's Cup first for Dennis Conner. This shows that Conner has not lost any creativity in his effort to again win the Cup.