Sydney Harbour turned on the perfect sailing conditions today for the ISAF Nations Cup 2011 Regional Final Oceania, hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
The cold front that hit Sydney yesterday continued with competitors gathered around the heaters on the CYCA deck for breakfast wearing multiple layers and carrying wet weather gear. A cold south westerly was building in Rushcutters Bay with it forecasted to reach up to 20 knots and swing to west later in the morning.
Teams from Japan, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Australia hit the water for a pre-competition Match Race Clinic. This gave competitors practice time on the Elliott 6.0m, a chance to have a look at their competition but most importantly to polish their match racing skills. At the end of each match, the AP would be displayed and competitors would have the opportunity to question the umpires on their decisions, ask and receive advice.
Racing commenced on time at 10:15h local time with the first match between Olivia Price (AUS) and Maiko Sato (JPN). Due to late entry by Sato, Price was able to hold Sato above to stop her from entering. After two minutes, Sato received a penalty for not entering and Price continued to hold her opposition above the line for the full four minutes of the prestart and ran back under spinnaker, dropping the kite as she returned to the line to start. A post match discussion with the umpires was gratefully accepted by Sato and Price opened her scorecard for the day.
The next penalty came in the race between Evan Walker (AUS) and Tugdual Piriou (NCL) when Piriou received a prestart penalty in a port starboard with Walker. While Piriou trailed Walker around the course, he had good boat speed and never lost touch but was unable to engage Walker and took his penalty as Walker crossed the line ahead.
All teams completed eight races before the cold wind got the better of everyone on the water and it was then time to go ashore and debrief the racing for the day and enjoying an Aussie sausage sizzle. All teams welcomed the clinic day and gained knowledge and experience they will carry into their racing over the next two days.
Racing commences tomorrow, Friday 13 May at 10:15 local time with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting west to westerly winds of 10 to 20 knots increasing to 20 to 25 knots during the afternoon. Racing will again be conducted in the vicinity of Rushcutters Bay with the race committee intending to complete a triple round robin and finals over the next two days. The event will conclude on Saturday 14 May 2011 when the finals will be conducted.
For a list of competing teams log on to http://www.cyca.com.au/editorial.asp?key=5272
The ISAF Nations Cup is a global competition to find the world's top match racing nations in both open and women's events and to develop match racing infrastructure around the world. The Nations Cup encompasses a series of eight Regional Finals from March to July 2011, from which the top team will qualify for the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final, which will take place in Sheboygan, USA from 13-18 September 2011.
Nations Cup Microsite.