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Monday, August 16, 2004
Hall slips in Finn class

Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- A strong Meltemi wind that led to the cancellation of rowing claimed the 49er event in sailing Monday after sailors weren't able to get their boats in the water.

Elsewhere, a member of Denmark's sailing team was charged with manslaughter after police said he struck and killed a British pedestrian while speeding in his car on the way to see his country's handball team play.

The sailor, Niklas Holm, was charged with manslaughter and speeding.

The wind didn't help Kevin Hall of Bowie, Md., who finished 16th and 14th in the two Finn races to drop to 14th overall.

He was buried in 19th at the first mark of the first race because he was unable to gain from a wind shift.

Great Britain's Ben Ainslie continued his remarkable rebound from a protest loss, finishing fourth and first to jump up eight spots to first overall in the Finn.

Monday's wind averaged 21 knots, gusting higher at times, and the swell was down from Sunday, when at least 30 boats capsized on the wild Saronic Gulf.

While the conditions had the Finns flying across the waves, the anticipated first three races of the 49er class were postponed because of the stiff breeze that kept the flags at the Agios Kosmas Sailing Center whipping toward the gulf.

Organizers didn't decide whether the 49er races will be sailed Tuesday, a reserve day, or Wednesday. Races were also postponed in the Europe, men's and women's 470 and Laser classes

The 49ers, two-man winged skiffs that are light and fragile, can flip in 12 knots. Under the class rules, races won't start if gusts exceed 25 knots for 30 seconds, or if gusts exceed 30 knots for any duration.

The Australian-designed skiffs have little natural stability, which would seemingly make them more at home in the X Games than the Olympics. The crews sail standing up or hiked out in trapezes to keep the boat upright when it's powered up. They were a big hit when they made their Olympic debut in Sydney in 2000, when brothers Jonathan and Charlie McKee of Seattle took the bronze medal.

The U.S. crew this time is Tim Wadlow of Boston and Pete Spaulding of Miami. They were college rivals, with Wadlow sailing for Boston University and Spaulding for Boston College, before teaming up to clinch the U.S. berth in the Olympics.