Ranked ninth in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Nick ROGERS/Joe GLANFIELD (GBR) have stolen the lead in the Combined 470 class after three races on Port Phillip Bay today at the Sail Melbourne Regatta.
Sailing on a two-lap outer trapezoid course in building 15-25 knot sea breezes, the pair finished the only race of the day in second place to take the lead.
Race Officials at Sandringham Yacht Club tried to get a second race in for the 470 fleet today, but having trouble with a moving start buoy in the increasing winds and seas, they were forced to abandon racing for the rest of the day.
With some confusion in regard to sail numbers yesterday, Gustavo MARTINEZ/Dimas VALDIVIESO (ESP) moved up the leaderboard and finishing Race 3 in second place today, the World ranked 8 duo have equal points to the leaders but are relegated to second place overall on count back.
Gildas philippe/Nicolas Le Berre (FRA) continue their successful regatta, an eighth today putting them in third place, just one point behind the Spanish pair.
Nathan WILMOT/Malcolm PAGE (AUS) had their worst result today, a 13 place, leaving them in fourth overall.
In the Womens fleet, Natalia VIA-DUFRESNE/Sandra AZON (ESP) have taken the lead with a seventh place today, from Christina BASSADONE/Katherine HOPSON (GBR), who came home 11. In close racing, the two pairs are on equal points of 37, the latter filling second place in a count back.
Vlada ILIENKO/Natalia GAPANOVICH (RUS) came back with a vengeance today, the World ranked 2 pair scoring 10th to go into third place overall.
Ingrid PETITJEAN/Nadege DOUROUX (FRA) finished 12th, Jenny Armstrong/Belinda Stowell (AUS) 23rd, did not have a good day, their results relegating them to fourth and fifth overall respectively.
Chris NICHOLSON/Gary BOYD (AUS) cannot be beaten in the 49er- so it seems.
Three more races were held on Port Phillip Bay today for the Olympic class, Nicholson/Boyd from Belmont on the Central Coast of NSW winning all three for an overall score of five, showing all before them just why they will represent Australia at the Athens Olympic Games later this year.
Although this regatta is the final selection series for the Australian crew to represent, the duo cannot be beaten on points.
Kenji NAKAMURA/Masato TEKAKI (JPN) currently hold down second place with nine races to go in the 15 race series. The pair represented Japan at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and look set to do so again in Athens.
Ilya ERMAKOV/Maxim LOGOUTENKO (RUS) sit nicely in third place, just one point behind the Japanese. This is the first time since the class became an Olympic one that a Russian team has featured in a top five position.
Young brothers, Ben and Marcus TARDREW made a costly mistake today, neglecting to fill in their sign-on sheet, a daily prerequisite of the regatta, dropping them down the leaderboard to fourth overall after their stunning start yesterday.
Gold medal winner in the 470 class from Sydney 2000, Mark TURNBULL, with his crew Nick PARTRIDGE, suffered damage to their boat today, cutting short their efforts in Race 4 today dropping them to fifth place overall.
In the 33-strong truly international Laser fleet, many have a point to prove and a number are looking at Olympic selection, which will make for a stoush or two at this regatta.
In particular are the two top ranked Great Britain and Australian sailors - all four went at it hard today in their first race out of Sandringham Yacht Club today in fresh 18-22 knot winds today on Port Phillip Bay.
Round one went to a revitalised Paul GOODISON (GBR) who recently took a breather from the class. Ranked third in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Goody came out fighting today to win race one from his British adversary, Ed WRIGHT, whose ranking has dropped to 11 - he finished second.
In the Aussie camp, Round one went to World ranked 12, Brendan CASEY - he finished third, Michael BLACKBURN, ranked No. 1 in the World and all but guaranteed the Australian Olympic spot came home fourth.
Come Race 2, the winds gusting to 25 on choppy seas, Casey led the race from Wright, then came Goodison followed by Blackburn - but readers will have to wait till tomorrow to know the result, because the finish line wouldn't sit still and all four top players are asking for redress.
Meanwhile, the Europe, Finn and Tornado classes were waiting for the 470 start before they could start their day - officials having to abandon all racing with the increasing winds and seaway - Tornado's capsizing all over the Bay before heading ashore.
Full results from all classes are available on the event website at the address below.