Good day for Fitzpatrick

Wed, Aug 8, 2001, 01:00

With just today's two final races remaining, the title-holder, Brazilian Robert Scheidt, is certain to emerge from the Royal Cork Yacht Club this evening with his fifth Laser World Championship title.

With six firsts out of nine races, the multiple Olympic medallist has a substantial 31-point lead and is unlikely to have to compete in the final race.

His principal rival over the past week, Portugal's Gustavo Lima, lies in second place after two fourths. Swede Karl Suneson lags seven points behind in third position after his worst day when he produced a 27th and 21st places. His team-mate Daniel Birgmark has maintained his distance and is five points behind.

With a fresh breeze and bright sun providing a welcome contrast to the opening half of the event, Ireland's Rory Fitzpatrick had a good day in the Silver fleet and is clearly set on finishing as high as possible after he narrowly missed Gold selection by three places on Monday. A 10th and a seventh place were his best results so far and he moves to within five point of the lead.

Meanwhile, Irish boats continue to hold the top two places at the Mirror World Championships at Howth which end tomorrow after four more races.

Lough Derg's Peter Bayly and William Atkinson have regained their earlier overall lead and now have a seven-point advantage over Nick Meadow and Sam Trott of Carrickfergus.

However, the top 10 leaders all could still produce turnaround results as pressure is growing from overseas boats, especially Australians Torvar Mirsky and Justin Jacob who hold third overall in their glass-fibre boat.

Light conditions continue to hamper the 136-boat fleet plus the stronger flood tide that continues to cause major raft-ups of boats attempting to round marks.

In other dinghy news, Simon Mitton has scored the highest placing in recent years for an Irish boat at the Optimist European Championship when he ended racing yesterday at Gran Canaria in 35th overall out of a fleet of 180 boats. Elsewhere, his brother Spencer racing with Richard Franck was reported to have won the opening race of the 420 Junior Europeans.