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Grand Prix Sopot, PolandFriday, 6 Jun, 2008
Day 3 of the Sopot Grand Prix and as it stands Allison is leading the Formula women's fleet after eight races by 9 points to Marta Hlavaty POL, followed by fellow polish contender Anna Galecka. Allison is using the Formula Windsurfing One Design equipment in every race which at times the racing has been "too close for comfort".
Race one was a fight the whole way with Marta who was leading the whole race until the final reach, when Allison pipped to her to finish after taking Marta's wind 40m before the line. Race 2 was equally as close with the positions changing almost every leg. Allison having better height on the second upwind managed to tack on the inside to the top mark and gain the lead. "I struggled a little today with starts, crashing in 3 out of 4 of them on the line and having to start from behind, I'm hoping tomorrow will be cleaner racing for me". Winning the final two races of day one put Allison in a comfortable 8 point lead.
Day two the fleet was postponed for lack of wind until early afternoon. A light breeze was formed and everyone was called to race. Unfortunately because the wind was light near the beach some sailors missed the start due to the sign out procedure and they were too late leaving the beach. However the racing again was on between the top girls. While starting with the mens fleet was hard work in light wind the girls got off the line. Today it was Marta who made the biggest difference in points catching Allison by 6 points. Two races were just completed this day with the girls on average moving up against the men. Allison now in 28th position in the men, leading to Marta two points behind and Anna still in touch for the lead.
Today, day three, the wind built slowly until early afternoon when a nice seabreeze of 8-10knots filled the course area. The racers that were caught out yesteday were the first on the water, with the rest racing to the line to start on time. With the forecast looking light for the final day, everyone knew they had to put everything into these races in case they were the last for the regatta. Race seven and Marta chose well, port tacking with a few guys and hitting the right corner, while the rest of the fleet suffered on the left side. Marta finished first girl while Allison, Natalia and Anna shuffed positions a few times to finish in that order respectively. Now that Marta had jumped into the lead, all the pressure was on Allison to pull back the points lost in race seven.
The race comittee had shortened the course after the extreemly long upwinds yesterday, which made the starts today even more crucial. Race 8 began with a split fleet, half to the left and half to the right. Marta and Allison crossed in the middle of the line going oposite directions, one of them was going to win big or loose big! After barely planing off the start both Allison and Marta both tacked, but Allison got nice clear run of wind above the long gone leaders who had port tacked at the pin. With clear air Allison lead the rest of the race finishing a credible 23rd in the mens fleet with Marta coming in 33rd which became her drop and put her back into 2nd overall in the women's results. With one more day of racing to go, anything can happen!
Day 4 and no racing, therefore Allison has taken out the Sopot Grand Prix for the first time! Steve Allen, fellow Australian has also taken out the mens division. More information shortly.
This morning Allison held a presentation for the Formula Windsurfing One Design equipment for the athletes, coaches and parents present. The talk was well received and many questions from athletes were asked. Wojtek, previous Formula World Champion, got up and showed his support for the equipment saying "It is a great step foward for Olympic windsurfing, we should support it".