Glassy conditions on Lake Taupo, lasted for most of the day.
Tension and nerves only increased as sailors sat out on the water waiting for the breeze to fill in. Classes finally got away at 4pm on the Mistral, Laser, Laser Radial and 420 course, with the P Class, Starling and 29er course not far behind as the wind filled in across the bay.
The standard of sailors at this year's event is extremely high, but with the shifty difficult conditions anything can happen. "The breeze was consistently 5-7knots but swinging through 40 degrees, which kept things extremely testing for competitors", commented one of New Zealand's top Race Management personnel, John Parrish.
The Laser class is usually a hotly contested event, and today was no exception with the leaders around each mark changing rapidly. Finland's Rasmus Diesen was first, Chris Kitchen in second and Wellington's Alex Lovelock in third.
The Laser Radial class, is the selection boat for the women to be selected for the NZ Youth Team and with two of our top sailors, Auckland's Kate O'Brien and Miranda Powrie sailing, they also compete against the boys in this class to take out the title. It was a close battle with Luke Judge finishing first overall, with Powrie in second and O'Brien only two boat lengths behind in third. O'Brien represented NZ at the Youth Worlds last year in Sydney, and will certainly be wanting to be part of the NZ Team again.
The boardsailors pumped around the course in extremely physical conditions today, which was really a test of the fittest. It was a tough battle at the beginning of the race between top youth sailors Thomas Ashley and James Eason, however Thomas Ashley was disqualified from the race for being a premature starter. Winning the race in the end by a substantial margin, this shows that he has the talent and fitness to stay at the front of the fleet.
The 420 sailors, who, like the Laser, Laser Radial, and Mistral classes are working towards qualification into the NZ Youth Sailing Team spent much of this morning tuning their boats in preparation for today's race. With positions changing faster than you could keep up with, in the shifty changeable conditions it was difficult to keep track of things. Aucklanders Geoff Woolley and Scott Wilkinson won the race, after coming back from an extremely disappointing start. Second were Queenstown sailors Craig Campbell and Luke Hamilton, both used to sailing on Lake Wakatipu, and having recently competed against some of the Worlds best sailors including John Bertrand and Dennis Conner in the Etchell Nationals. This must have been great preparation for them in their build up to this event.
On the P Class course today, Auckland's Olivia Powrie took out the race, holding a comfortable lead from Hamilton's Amy Insoll. With the first boy, Christchurch's Riley Dean in third, and another Auckland girl, Jane Macky (sister of Sydney Olympic representative, Sarah Macky), it was the girls dominating the fleet through and through.
The Starlings was won by Mark Overington, who finished second in the 2001 Nationals, with Chris Macky in second and Wellington's Sam Melville in third. Karla Douglas was the first girl in 8th.
The 29er fleet battled it out with Aucklanders Scott Kennedy and Brad Thom (current National Champions) finishing first, Japan's Koji Kamaya and Anthony Fry in second, and Rachel O'Brien and Kelly Riechelmann in third.
Three Races are scheduled for Monday, starting at 10am.