The City of Sails lived up to its name today as over 200 sailors turned out on Auckland Harbour today for Day 2 of the annual Sail Auckland Regatta. The addition of 29ers, Flying Fifteens, Tornado catamarans and a large fleet of youngsters in Optimist...
Eight knots of breeze steadily built up to 12 - 15 knots by mid afternoon making for perfect sailing conditions and allowing some of the bigger and heavier sailors to make up for lost time.
In the 470 class, the lead has swung between Cantabrian siblings Stephen & Philip Keen and newly paired Auckland duo Andrew Brown & Jamie Hunt. Both crews chased each other round the course in today's three races to be neck & neck at the halfway mark. In the women's contest, Sydney Olympian Melinda Henshaw has enlisted the assistance of Sharon Ferris and is trading blows with Shelley Hesson & Linda Dickson. Henshaw is fractionally ahead.
Today is the first time Daniel Slater & Nathan Handley's 49er has been in the water since Sydney 2000, both having been snapped up by Team New Zealand. Italy's 49er Olympic rep Francesco Bruni (in Auckland with the Prada syndicate) has taken to the water this weekend as well, but he simply can't catch Slater & Handley round the racetrack. Local youngster (& experienced 29er sailor) Mark Kennedy has paired up in the 49er with Norwegian sailor Allan Norregard. They are leading the fleet having sailed all of yesterday's three races unlike Slater & Bruni who started today with no points on the board.
Barbara Kendall & Grant Beck have traded their sailboards for a Hobie Cat catamaran, racing off Takapuna Beach today. Consistent sailing, including a 2nd & 3rd moved Beck & Kendall moved up to 2nd overall at one stage today, and breathing down the neck of fleet leaders Garth & Katie Stewart. However a 6th at the end of the day moved them back to 4th overall.
Recent P Class Tauranga Cup winner Scott Kennedy (Auckland) has traded up, taking the helm of the larger and significantly faster 29er skiff crewed Brad Thom (Auckland). For the first two races, Kennedy just could not catch Geoff Woolley (Kohimarama) & Scott Wilkinson (North Shore), finally overtaking him in the 3rd race to be 2nd overall.
Sydney Olympian Sarah Macky and visiting Czech Olympic representative Lenka Smidova suffered from a mix-up at the start of today's racing on the Europe course. Both are now carrying expensive penalty scores, masking the fact that they shadowed each other round the track in today's four races ahead of the rest of the fleet with an even distribution of 1st and 2nds between them. Abby Mason, who benefitted from the starting muddle and took the race, then had to follow the two Olympians for the rest of the day.
Jon Paul Tobin broke a boom during today's first race of the Mistral boards, putting him out of the next two races. The Bay of Plenty speedster was back for the last race, winning with ease. The rest of the New Zealanders could not keep up with the classy Hong Kong and Japanese boardsailors, including Atlanta gold medallist & Sydney Olympian Lai Shan Lee (HKG) and Japan's Sydney rep Kenjo Motokazu who have claimed top spots in both the women's and men's fleets respectively.