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AFLOAT: No let up as Lucas vies for first World crown
8:58am Friday 13th September 2013 in Sport
LEADER Helena Lucas admits there is absolutely no margin for error as she bids to land her first International 2.4 Metre (mR) World Championship title today.
Lucas, the London 2012 champion, heads into the final day of racing at the Poole Yacht Club with a slender four-point advantage at the top of the leaderboard from six-time World Champion, Stellan Berlin, while her coach and Sydney 2000 Olympic silver medalist, Ian Barker, is just six points behind in bronze medal position.
Eight races of the maximum 12 race series have been sailed so far, with three final races scheduled to take place tomorrow before the World champion is crowned.
Lucas, who picked up two third places from today’s two races, knows she cannot afford to take her foot off the gas for a second if she is going to top the podium.
She said: “Stellan’s been six-time World Champion and will be after his lucky number seven and Ian’s sailing so well, he’s fast and smart.
Stellan’s got so much experience in the boat and Ian’s just such an awesome sailor I’ve got my work cut out. You’ve got to try to sail your own race but try to keep an eye on those guys too.
“In the first race there was a big right hand shift, when I was on the left, but I was going really quick and managed to get myself on to the right and worked it up from there.
"In the second race I got a good start and kept it simple really.”
With the breeze only filling in from 2pm, the 75-strong fleet had to endure over a two-hour postponement on the water waiting for racing to get going. Lucas admits striking the balance between staying focused and not getting too tense is a fine art.
She added: “It was a long day, you can’t stay switched up all the time because otherwise it’s just so exhausting. It’s important to try to switch off but it’s a fine line between switching off too much and then struggling to get yourself back on track.”
Berlin made hard work of the opening race of the day, scoring a 13th, which became his discard. But he hit back strongly in race two claiming line honours for the first time in this regatta to keep himself breathing down Lucas’ neck.
The 2012 Worlds silver medalist said: “The first race was a disaster! The first lap was okay but on the second lap I was a little too eager to pass the four boats that were ahead of me so instead of being patient and waiting for the right moment I went left, and that cost me a lot, as the wind was favouring the right all the time.
"I love when it’s really tight racing. I haven’t really thought about what I have to do to win but I guess it’s focusing and trying to be a little sharper than previous days.”
Berlin is one of four Swedes in the top 10, while Britain and Finland, with three boats apiece, make up the other six spots.
The 1998 World Champion, Rickard Bjurstrom, who also has a Worlds silver and bronze medal to his name, is the highest-placed of 11 Finns in the fleet, sat in sixth but tied on level points with fellow countryman, Jan Forsbom.
Bjurstrom said: “There is a lot of competition in the 2.rmR fleet at home. We have about 30 boats that everybody is trying to make their best.
"We have had some guys who have been very active and want to get more sailors into the class. Different to many other countries we have only one disabled guy and the rest are able-bodied.”
He added: “It’s been a very interesting week because the current does it’s own thing here and it’s not easy to figure out how it works. But it has been very good arrangements and we are very happy. The guys are doing a wonderful job.”
The first warning signal on the final day of racing is scheduled for 11.25am. For more details about the 2013 International 2.4mR Class World Championships visit 24mworlds2013.co.uk or follow @24mRWorlds2013 on Twitter.
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