On the concluding day of the Qualifying Series at the Laser Radial Women’s World Championship in Oman, the top sailors have emerged and gold and silver fleets are now established for the Final Series.
Rindom and Doi leading Laser Radial Women’s Worlds in Oman
Twenty-two-years-old Manami Doi JPN finished the day first in Blue Group and added to her consistent score line from the previous races, she is on equal points with Anne-Marie Rindom DEN going into the Finals.
Although what really counts at this championship is the last three days for the Finals Series in Gold Fleet, heading the Qualifying Series is always an enviable position to be in.
The 100-strong fleet experienced the windiest conditions seen so far this week with winds up to 17 knots and accompanying large waves. The wind was also shifting around a lot, which once again put the focus on making the right tactical decisions.
Commenting on her position going into the Finals Series, a smiling Doi said: “I am extremely happy to be leading the fleet overall. It is a lovely surprise.”
“With the wind and big waves it was tough but I felt I sailed well. Today was all about watching the wind and taking all the favorable shifts. I also felt I worked well downwind on the waves simply by moving my body weight and keeping the boat level and fast all the time.”
Rindom (24) in Yellow Group is neck and neck at the top on equal 22 points and although the last three days have been about qualifying for the Final Series and making the top 50, Rindom says she is naturally delighted to be in this position going into the next phase. “It was good to finish the first three days with some stable results, so I am very happy about that.”
World #1 in third
In the first race of the day in Yellow Group, Evi Van Acker BEL demonstrated why she is ranked number one in the world. She started right at the pin-end of the line, sailed an impressive race, and won by 30 seconds over Maxime Jonker NED.
Commenting on why she was so fast in the breeze today, Van Acker said: “What made the difference today was getting ahead and staying there. I gained a lot on the last downwind going quite fast and managed to stay at the top. I am however, really looking forward to having a rest day tomorrow, then to getting back on the water again on Tuesday.”
Current Olympic champion in fourth
Lijia Xu CHN reigning Olympic champion, showed that being off the scene with a back and knee injury for the last two years has made little difference to her performance. In the tricky, windy conditions on the Gulf of Oman today, Xu (28) finished the day with another win in Yellow Group, putting her in 4th place overall going into the Finals. She said: “It was very tricky out there with shifty conditions, not only for the competitors but also for the race management team who worked hard to adjust the course to provide us with fair competition. It was a good test for all the competitors and the most all-round sailors stood out.”
“Winning today was all about playing the shifts and constantly observing where the gusts were coming from. Being in the pressure or not makes a huge difference.”
With the Qualifying Series now complete, the top half of the overall rankings from 1-50 will race in the Gold fleet in the final series, and those placed 51-100 will race in the Silver fleet.
Tomorrow is a rest day and racing will commence again on Tuesday 24 November with a start time for the first two Final Races scheduled for 1200 local time (CET +3).