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Guatamala's Juan Maegli early leader in Laser Fleet

Guatamala's Juan Maegli stole the early initiative in the men's Laser Fleet as the ISAF Sailing World Championships began on Friday.

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A record 76 nations were represented in the Laser discipline across three groups and it was Maegli who stood at the top of the standings after the first two races in Santander.

The day's sailing was threatened by a thick early morning fog that covered the Spanish harbour, but the conditions soon improved and Maegli claimed third spot in his first laser race.

Maegli was the victor second time around, too, and he leads the way with four points while Australian Tom Burton sits second with eight after placing fifth and third.

"I had two good starts and went right both times. I had good speed and concentrated on trying to be consistent," he told ISAF's official website.

Brazil's Robert Scheidt, the defending champion, improved from 13th to second to close the day in ninth position overall.

"I did not get far enough right for the shift," he commented. "I struggled to catch up and could only get back to 13th. I was happy to finish second in the next race."

In the women's Laser Radial Fleet the 120-strong field was split into two groups of 60.

Veronika Fenclova of the Czech Republic heads the field after finishes of third and first in the two races and has four points, with China's Min Gu two points adrift after posting a fourth and second.

Fenclova's result is even more impressive after taking a year away from the sport and she reflected on a solid start.

"In the first race I had a good start and led at the first mark but I could not hold my position downwind and dropped to third even though we did change places several times before the finish," she said.

"In the second race she led from start to finish. I had a good lead which protected me on the downwind."

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