The 300-strong Laser fleet completed two testing races off Blairgowrie to kick off the 2008 Laser ISAF Grade 1 Australian Championships, with World Champion Tom SLINGSBY taking an early lead.
With over 19 countries represented, the Boat park resembled a meeting of the United Nations. In recognition, teams raised their national flags at Saturday night's welcome function as the sun set over Port Phillip.
However, once racing got underway on Saturday, it was all action with a 20-25 knot southerly filling in at 15:00 and two back to back races. A tiring day for all.
The fortitude of the 47-strong, all-Aussie 4.7 fleet was admirable. In the end it was a Tasmanian clean sweep with Rohan LANGFORD 1,2 and Jack MCCULLUM 1,4 dominating. Jarrad LINCOLN of Victoria scored 3,6 to be well in the hunt.
The 120 strong Radial fleet competed in two divisions with Klade HAUSCHILDT
of Queensland, Sarah BLANCK
of Victoria and Marit BOUWMEESTER
of the Netherlands all scoring 1,2 to lead a very tight pack.
In the Standard fleet, again the 130 boat fleet was split. Tom SLINGSBY
(AUS) from the NSW Central Coast showed his class with two bullets to lead from Roelof BOUWMEESTER
(NED) and Deniss KARPAK
(EST) both on 4 points. Interesting to note BOUWMEESTER and his sister are both currently holding down second place in their respective fleets.
Results from the Laser Standard fleet will decide which Australians will compete at the Laser Worlds off Terrigal in February.
The regatta continues today with two more heats in the eight-race qualifying series which will be followed with a four-race finals series concluding on 4 January.
Results - www.yachting.org.au/site/yachting/event/13897/default.html
Sail Melbourne - www.sailmelbourne.com.au