Sailing: Australian youngster sets pace

PERTH, Australia, Dec 4, 2011 (AFP) – - Local knowledge again helped the host nation set the early pace on the second day of the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Western Australia on Sunday.

The second day of women’s match racing round robin events, with Group B in action, saw skipper Olivia Price, aged just 18, and her Australia 2 team share the head of the table with three wins from five races.

Fellow Australian Nicky Souter headed Group A after Saturday’s racing, with four wins from as many races.

Sunday was a day of gusty easterly winds, with some races rescheduled to Tuesday because of an unexpected wind shift that forced the course to be moved.

But at the end of the day’s racing Price shared top spot with 2010 world champion Lucy Macgregor, of Great Britain, and the Netherlands teams of Mandy Mulder and Renee Groeneveld.

Price upset the fancied Macgregor in their clash, winning by 19 seconds, but it was the Brit’s only loss of the day.

Groeneveld’s Netherlands 2 dropped just one race for the day, against Spain’s Silvia Roca, but it was the latter’s only win in three appearances.

Roca had a tough day, losing to Price by just three seconds after the two boats struggled down the final leg in light winds.

Groeneveld, ranked sixth in the world, won the clash with countrywoman Mulder’s Netherlands 1, ranked 18th, by two boat lengths and was satisfied with her start to the event.

“Not too bad,” was how she assessed the day.

“Some mistakes were made so it wasn’t perfect, but overall I’m pleased.”

The round robin match races continue for the rest of the first week of the championships, which conclude on December 18.

Nine of the 12 spots in the women’s match racing field at next year’s London Olympics are up for grabs in Perth.

sdc/je


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