A good steady breeze on Auckland Harbour provided good racing conditions for day three of the annual Sail Auckland Regatta, but the accompanying heavy rain, low cloud and muggy conditions made for a rather unpleasant day on the water.
The Mistrals lost no time in getting their races underway with Jon Paul Tobin (Bay of Plenty) making up for lost racing time yesterday, clocking up two wins and a 9th. Tobin is now 7th overall and keen for a full day's racing tomorrow which will allow him to drop the second of his costly penalty scores and in the hunt for a regatta win. In the meantime the men's and women's boardsailing fleets are dominated by the Hong Kong and Japanese visitors, with Atlanta gold medallist and Sydney Olympian Lai Shan Lee leading the women, and Japan's Sydney rep Kenjo Motokazu the men.
Grant Beck & Barbara Kendall will have a struggle to dislodge Hobie Cat fleet leaders Garth & Katie Stewart, but with the Stewarts now carrying a penalty score are today's last race, anything is possible. Beck & Kendall and currently 4th overall (23pts) with three races to sail tomorrow. Andrew Springford & Dave McGlashen made a late run today winning two races, and moving up to 3rd (21pts).
Sydney Olympian Sarah Macky wasted no time in asserting her dominance over the Europe fleet, clocking up her 6th win today of the 9 races sailed so far in the Europe National Championships. Fellow Sydney Olympian Lenka Smedova has followed Macky around the course all weekend, with Auckland's Abby Mason consistently 3rd. Macky is a single point ahead of the fleet going tomorrow's final three races. Both Olympians have been able to drop one of two hefty penalty scores, and will be able to drop the second after tomorrow's racing.
Canterbury siblings Stephen & Philip Keen are 2 points ahead of Auckland's Andrew Brown & Jamie Hunt in the men's 470 National Championships. A 4th in today's last race allowed the Keens to make the break, albeit only 2 points, leaving the Aucklanders with their work cut out for tomorrow's final three races. NZ's Sydney 2000 470 Olympian Melinda Henshaw has teamed up with former Olympian Sharon Ferris in the women's 470 National Champs, opening up a comfortable 6 point breathing space between former Europe sailor Shelley Hesson & Linda Dickson.
Daniel Slater & Nathan Handley showed themselves to be a class ahead of the rest of the 49er fleet, outsailing Italian visitor Francesco Bruni. Despite having to double-back on themselves after sailing an incorrect course Slater & Handley still managed a 2nd, and finished today's racing at the top of the fleet. Both Olympic crews will return to their respective America's Cup duties tomorrow, making for a quiet day on the 49er course for the remainder of the racing.
With worlds selection and the YNZ ranking purse at stake in the Laser contest, it will be a fight down to the wire tomorrow between fleet leader Robbie McMillan, Alistair Gair and Northland's youth medal winning Andrew Murdoch. Last week's winner of the Laser National Championships Matthew Blakey is another 2 points behind in 4th but with only 6 points between the top 4 sailors, the contest is still wide open. Only two sailors will make the cut for the Worlds.
Kohi local youngsters Geoff Woolley & Scott Wilkinson managed to shut the door on their 29er rivals Mark Kennedy & Brad Thom, winning the contest by the closest of margins having chased each other around the track for all the 6 races in the series. With this regatta also incorporating the Pacific Rim 29er Championships, Woolley & Wilkinson take both a title and a trophy home with them this weekend.