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18 January 2007, 09:41 am
Spectacular Start
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Australian Youth Olympic Festival 2007
Sydney, Australia

Youth sailors kicked off the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) last night with the traditional Opening Ceremony being held in Sydney. Belinda KERL from Western Australia and Erin MCNEILL from Canada were honoured with the flag bearing role at the event.
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Today the sailing competition got underway on Sydney Harbour in perfect conditions with a 15-20 knot north easterly breeze.

After 40 races, Great Britain is in equal first place with Western Australia (WA) and hot on their heels is New Zealand and New South Wales in equal second. The USA, Tasmania and Victoria are all sharing third place.

Kate MACGREGOR (GBR) commented about the win, 'We all cliqued and won lots, so that was useful. The wind was up and down but it seemed to suit us well. We were hoping to do well so we're really pleased and we'll try to do as well tomorrow as we did today.'

Chelsea HALL (AUS) from WA was equally as excited about their first place, 'Today was really great competition and I was happy with the course lay out. We managed to get heaps of races in as well'.

She continued, 'I usually compete in the 420 and 29er class so racing in a Pacer is a change for me. It's not as fast as some other classes but enables us to do some really good manoeuvres'.

Ideal Conditions

Sam CRICHTON, Sailing Competition Director for the AYOF commented, 'The conditions today on Sydney Harbour were ideal for the sailors. Team racing is very different to the usual fleet racing you see on Sydney Harbour. It is very strategic and you have to cover your opposition well in each race'.

South Australian partners, Luke HOOKINGS and Grace STOKES were among the many sailors which capsized on the Harbour today.

David HIGGINS, SA Team Manager explained, 'They were on the run, it didn't have anything to do with the wind. They got racing again right away. Capsizing can happen to anyone at anytime'.

Sam Crichton (As Amended By ISAF). Image, ISAF Youth World Champions Belinda KERL and Chelsea HALL are racing on Sydney Harbour:© onEdition
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