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11 January 2004, 09:41 am
Belinda Kerl Takes Junior Title
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Sail Melbourne - Australian Optimist Championship

West Australians, particularly girls, are having a field day at the Sail Melbourne International Regatta.
Earlier today, West Australian's won the 420 Ladies World Championship, then late this afternoon, Belinda KERL (WA) was announced the Australian Championship winner in the junior Optimist class and like the winning 420 girls, Kerl won six of the 12 races contested.

She finished on equal points with the winner of the Open Australian Championship, Nicolas POREE (FRA), but lost first place to him on count back.

Last year's winner, Leon POUTSMA (WA) finished second overall in the Australian title and third in the Open section, whilst yet another West Australian boy, Nicholas MCPHARLIN, finished third in the Australians and fifth in the Open's.

Sarah TOOTILL (NZL), was the next international competitor, finishing fourth in the Open section of the competition.

The Championship, which was hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club, consisted of 12 races over three days with two race drops for the 29 competitors - quite a heavy load, but a good learning curve for the youngsters, many of whom are looking at a long term sailing career.
They did have a break though, spending one afternoon at the movies in Melbourne - a nice way to break up the series.

The final races today were sailed in fairly consistent 10-12 knot winds, with International competitors coming from France, New Zealand and Great Britain, whilst Victoria, Western Australia, NSW and South Australia were represented nationally.

Full information and results can be found on the event website at the address below.
Di Pearson (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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