Racing reached the half way point at Sail Auckland 2011 today with some tight battles unfolding ensuring an exciting conclusion to the regatta over the weekend.
The westerly offshore breeze challenged the fleets once again with patchy pressure at times. The breeze was in the 15-18 knot range and dropped slightly through the afternoon.
Three races were sailing in the men's RS:X today and Tom Ashley
(NZL) has a narrow lead over Dorian Van Rijsselberge
With a 2-4-2 card, Ashley, on seven points is just one ahead of van Rijsselberge with Antonio Cozzolino
(NZL) and Jon-Paul Tobin
(NZL) sharing third place with ten points each.
For Kate Ellingham
(NZL), Sail Auckland marks a return to competition after an enforced injury break. "I had had a really long break after the Worlds because of my back, and I've finally got that under control now, so it hasn't been bothering me since November which is good, it's really exciting."
Ellingham won today's two opening races in the RS:X 8.5 windsurfing and then placed second and has opened up a small lead on rival Natalia Kosinska
(POL) two points adrift in second place. Justina Sellers
"The first two I won, which was good,"
said Ellingham. "The final one I was winning most of the way around and then on the last upwind I tried to place when the wind died and people came from behind to catch up.
"So that was disappointing, but I guess that's what happens when it's offshore and shifty.
"The whole plan of this regatta was to get good starts, so far out of five races I've had four good starts and one when I kind of got the pin a bit muddled up with the finish line, so I was over, but I went back and it was fine, I still won."
Andrew Murdoch (NZL) and Michael Bullot
(NZL) continue to battle for top spot in the 30-boat Laser fleet.
With a 3-2-1 today Murdoch has edged out in front on ten points and is just two clear of Bullot who finished with a 2-4-1 in the three races sailed today. Australia's Tom Burton is six points back in third.
There has been no change at the top of the Radial fleet with Michael Cate
(NZL) holding out Sara Winther
(NZL) for the lead. Cate is on 13 points with Winther on 17 points.
and Chris Grube
(GBR) extended their lead in the 470 class today with two wins and a second place finish. They have an eight point leading margin.
Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders (NZL) improved their standing with a 1-3-2 and moved up into second place ahead of Mark Overington and Ben Goodwin (NZL).
Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (NZL) are the best of the women placed fifth overall.
Dan Slater still tops the leader board in the Finn with a second and two wins. He is two points ahead of Rafa Trujillo Villar (ESP), with Matt Coutts (NZL) in third.
See www.sailauckland.org.nz for full results.