Belfast Telegraph

Sailing: Reiss and Whitehead lead chase in Ballyholme

By Ali Gordon

Americans Taylor Reiss and Matthew Whitehead claimed the top spot yesterday at the F18 World Championships in Ballyholme.

Battling against strong opposition and tough winds on the east of Belfast Lough, the world class sailor is revelling in his victory.

"Today was really good for us. We like to win so it was good, we really enjoyed it," said Reiss.

"It was very windy and the water was very wavy, very choppy waves. It was pretty difficult but we finished up well," he added.

Taking a narrow first place lead ahead of Dutchmen Gunnar Larsen and Ferdinand van West, Reiss knows that he will have a hard job maintaining yesterday's lead.

"Obviously Gunnar and his crew are right behind us and there's a French team that are right behind them too so they are ones to watch too but the whole fleet is very strong. So really anyone in the top 10 is our competition," Reiss said.

Hailing from the sunny shores of Florida, Reiss admitted that he did not expect to be doing well in the competition.

"We came here trying not to think about it [winning] and just thinking of it as a bit of fun so we weren't expecting to do this well which is good as there isn't any pressure," he said.

Unfortunately, contenders Glenn Ashby and Brett Goodall hit a floating object, a suspected plank of wood, at full speed and damaged their port hull.

Despite fixing their boat, with only six races left in the competition it will take a superhuman effort to get back to a respectable level.

Belfast Telegraph

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