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3 February 2011, 12:08 pm
Tom Ashley Takes Early Lead In The RS:X On The Opening Day of Sail Auckland
RS:X Sailing
RS:X Action At Sail Auckland 2011

Sail Auckland 2011
Auckland, New Zealand

Sail Auckland 2011 got underway today with nine fleets racing on three courses scattered up the Hauraki Gulf, north of Takapuna Beach in a westerly offshore breeze which was light and shifty at times but provided good racing across all classes.
RS:X

In what will no doubt be an interesting battle over the next three days, New Zealand's Tom Ashley and Jon-Paul Tobin today started battling it out with internationals Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) and Lee Byunggun (KOR).

On day one it was Ashley that mastered the conditions best off Takapuna Beach, his home waters, and tops the leader-board on three points with 2-1 on the water today. The Korean sailor holds second place five points adrift, with van Rijsselberge one point further back.

In the women's fleet Kate Ellingham (NZL) and Natalia Kosinska (POL) claiming one bullet apiece to share the lead at the end of the first day. Justina Sellers (NZL) holds third place.

Laser

Michael Bullot (NZL) and Andrew Murdoch (NZL) made the best start to Sail Auckland 2011 on the Laser course with a win apiece and solid results in their other two races.

Bullot tops the board on nine points with Murdoch, recently crowned Laser National champion, one point back on ten. Australia's Tom Burton holds third place with countryman Ryan Palk in fourth.

Murdoch said, "[It was] tricky as usual in the Takapuna offshore. I felt I had a pretty good day considering the conditions, I had a 1-3-6, so a fairly good way to kick it off. I'm pretty happy."

Finn

Dan Slater of the NZL Sailing Team enjoyed some good competition from Spaniard Rafael Trujillo and Matt Coutts (NZL) on the Finn course.

Slater and Trujillo share the lead sitting equal on five points Slater opening with two bullets but then struggling to come back from a poor start in race three allowing Trujillo and Coutts to sail away from him.

Among the other fleets

GBR's Nick Rogers and Chris Grube were simply too good on the 470 course opening up a decent lead on the chasing pack after three races sailed on day one. The visiting pair are six points clear of Mark Overington and Ben Goodwin (NZL) in second with women's pair Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (NZL) in third place.

Michael Cate (NZL) leads Sara Winther (NZL) in the Laser Radial which at 40 boats boasts the largest fleet in the event and includes youth, women and masters sailors.

Marcus Hansen and Aaron Hume-Merry (NZL) lead the three boat 49er division; Sam Mackay and Oscar Rovick (NZL) have the top spot in the 29er and Matthew Spary and Tyler Russell (NZL) lead in the 420 fleet.

Racing resumes tomorrow off Takapuna with a scheduled start to racing of 11:00 local time. The regatta continues through the weekend with the medal winners to be determined on Sunday. Conditions are expected to be similar on the water tomorrow.

See www.sailauckland.org.nz for full results.

Jodie Bakewell-White (As Amended by ISAF)
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