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ISAF Worlds , Cascais - RS:X windsurfing continues, 6 Olympic berths confirmed in yachting.

New Zealand has now qualified for a place in six classes at the Olympic Games to be sailed in Qingdao next August. Overnight, places were confirmed in the Yngling and Finn classes, at the ISAF Sailing World Championships.

It was Sharon Ferris, Raynor Smeal and Shandy Buckley who have pulled their best result of the season to finish sixth in the Yngling World Championship being sailed as part of the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, Portugal. They were seventh in last night’s medal race, and finished sixth overall, well inside the top ten countries which was the benchmark to earn New Zealand the Olympic berth.

“Unfortunately we didn’t quite get the start that we wanted, and we didn’t quite defend the right hand side where it was favoured, but a very shifty race,” says Ferris. “But overall though, very, very happy with the result, we did what we came here to do.”

“We did win two races here, two race wins at the World Championships - that says a lot, and we just want to improve on our light wind strategy now, so that’s what we’ll be focussing on.”

Ferris represented New Zealand in the Yngling, in the 2004 Olympic Games where she finished in 7th place. She has two new crew with her for this Olympic campaign.

“I’ve got two new girls, Raynor Smeal and Shandy Buckley, both of them are from Northland. They both stunning girls and they’ve sailed really really well this week. Ray’s our rock, she’s really really solid, and Shandy, our nipper, she’s coming on in leaps and bounds since she joined us only six months ago. We’re ‘team Northland’ and very proud of it.”

Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson of Great Britain took out the Yngling world title.

“The British are definitely the team to beat right now, they are a click better than anyone else, but in saying that they’re not unbeatable and we just beat them in quite a few races here. We just need to spend the time in the boat, do the quality training and spend the time in light air venues for China.”

The Finn class also concluded their World Championship last night in Cascais. Dan Slater missed out on the top ten medal race, but finished in 16th place overall. This is enough to earn New Zealand a place in the Finn with 19 places up for grabs at this event.

New Zealand now has confirmed places in the Star, Laser, Laser Radial, Yngling and Finn, with more places in the board-sailing looking likely.

Barbara Kendall added another win in racing overnight and retains her place in second with just the medal race to sail. Kendall has a total of 30 points, eleven back from Zofia Klepacka of Poland in the lead. Marina Alabau is in third place with 42 points.

Tom Ashley is the better placed of the two kiwi men in the board sailing gold fleet though neither has made the top ten cut for the medal race. Ashley is in 15th place, while Jon-Paul Tobin is in 24th. New Zealand needs a representative within the top 25 countries in this class for Olympic qualification. There is just one race left to sail.

The 470 class have two days of competition remaining to wrap up the world Championships. Melinda Henshaw and Olivia Powrie are the only kiwi crew to make gold fleet, and are still in contention to finish within the top 13 countries which would confirm a berth for New Zealand in the Women’s 470 class.

Last night they placed 8th and 16th and remain in 13th place on the leader board.

Full results and news are available on the regatta website through the link below.

ISAF Sailing World Championships 2007
New Zealand Final Results (Yngling & Finn)

Yngling – Women’s three person keelboat (35 boats)
Sharon Ferris, Raynor Smeal & Shandy Buckley – 6th

Finn – Heavyweight dinghy (73 boats)
Dan Slater – 16th

New Zealand’s Current Standings

RS:X Women – Women’s wind-surfer (73 boards)
Barbara Kendall – 2nd

RS:X Men – Men’s wind-surfer (113 boards)
Tom Ashley – 15th
Jon-Paul Tobin – 24th

470 Women – Women’s two person dinghy (64 boats)
Melinda Henshaw & Olivia Powrie – 13th

About The 2007 ISAF Worlds

Over 1,300 sailors from 76 nations are competing at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships, from 28 June-13 July in Cascais, Portugal. 'The Wind Is Calling' is the official motto for the 2007 Worlds. The Championships are the principal qualification regatta for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, with 75% of all national places to be decided.

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