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Sunfish champion retains title


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 18, 2000

SARASOTA -- Eduardo Cordero of Venezuela saved his best for last at the Sunfish Class World Championships, leading the two closing day races from start to finish and defending the title he captured in Puerto Rico last year.

"Consistency is the name of the game in these conditions," the 28-year-old sailor said Friday. "The conditions here were a test of skill, and it was the most difficult championship I've won."

Cordero, a five-time champion in the 14-foot Sunfish dinghy, finished in the top eight in the 104-boat international field in seven of eight races.

His only slip came in the fourth race Wednesday, when shifty conditions on Sarasota Bay left him on the wrong side of the course.

"I had made a good comeback to finish 28th in that first race Wednesday," he said. "I had been maybe 80th early in the race."

Oskar Johansson of Canada, gold-medal winner in Sunfish at the 1999 Pan Am Games, led the five-day series since the second day but slipped to second with finishes of 20th and 13th on Friday.

Jeff Linton of Tampa finished third overall after winning a tiebreaker over former world champion Malcolm Smith of Bermuda, who dropped to fourth. Linton has five top-five finishes in Sunfish world championships to match his five North America championships in the class.

He had two 11th-place finishes on the final day.

Dick Tillman, 63, of Merritt Island was the top master division racer, finishing sixth.

Rod Koch of St. Petersburg was 5-9 to move up to 12th overall.

"I couldn't do anything right," Koch said about dropping from sixth to 13th before the final day.

Jo Anne Weberlein of Houston was the top woman sailor. She dropped one spot on the final day to finish seventh overall.

Charlie Clifton of Sarasota finished 25th overall and third in the masters division. Joe Blouin Jr. of Tampa, despite being disqualified in two races for premature starts, finished 31st overall, fourth in the masters division.

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