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Laser European Championship: Ashley Brunning moves into the lead

  • Ryan Palk ahead of Ashley Brunning in race four in Ireland  (Photo by  Michael Blackburn)
Laser European Championship: Ashley Brunning moves into the lead

Australia’s Ashley Brunning has moved into the lead at the 2013 Laser European Championships after two days of racing in Dublin, Ireland.

Brunning started day two in third position with the Sydney based sailor winning Monday’s opening race and finishing second in race two to take the overall lead.

“Today we switched courses and had more tide and rolling waves in the middle of the bay,” said Brunning. “It was a little more like Sydney Harbour in a westerly so I felt more at home!

“I finished the day with a first and a second with fellow Aussie Ryan Palk winning the second race,” he said. “It’s great to see such a strong Australian presence at the event. Many people have spoken to me about it and ask why the team is so successful. It’s simply about working together and getting along, obviously with our coach Michael Blackburn being a driving force in that.

“It’s a great feeling to start strong and be leading overall but it’s always a shock to remember that the Europeans is a marathon and lasts for six days, with another eight races to go in the series,” said Brunning. “So it’s still early days but I’ll keep chipping away and focus on the sailing itself and let the results flow.”

Ryan Palk had a mixed day on the water in Dublin with gear breakage forcing him out of race one but he bounced back well, winning race two to be 13th overall.

“Day two was an interesting one for me,” said Palk. “With about two minutes to go before the start of the day’s first race I noticed my sail slipping lower than usual and my control lines going slack in their take up.

“The start was a general recall and I quickly tried to check the problem and found that my mast was effectively shrinking. With my mast collar rivet sheered my upper mast was disappearing into the bottom section” he said. “I quickly tried to replace it with a spare section on the water but couldn’t get it done in time and had to watch the fleet start without me.

“It took a long time to get the boat back to being race ready and I just managed to make the next start, sailing a good race to have a win,” said Palk. “It was certainly a tough situation to be in but I’m happy with how I sailed in race four and saved my regatta. There are still eight more races to go with plenty more action still to come and I’m looking forward to the racing.”

Jared West is currently 20th overall following a fifth and a 13th with Matthew Wearn just behind him in 23rd after a seventh and an 11th.

The points are very close after the opening four races with Wearn in 23rd just 16 points off the lead.

In the Laser Radial Men’s World Championship Australia’s defending champion, Tristan Brown, is still in second position after four races.

Fellow Australian Bradley Utting is currently in 41st with Nicholas Howe in 72nd.

Racing continues in Dublin on Tuesday with full results available here.

By Craig Heydon, Yachting Australia


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