David CLARK and his team from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia won the opening race of the Audi Etchells Queensland Championship in Brisbane.
David CLARK, Andrew SMITH and Mike HUGHES sailing Fifteen took the bullet in race 1 on Moreton Bay, giving them a positive leap into the lead up regatta for the Australian Championship in January.
35 Etchells took to the start line for day one of the Queensland Championship with all crews dealing with light oscillating breeze and strong tide.
"The conditions were tough! I have never sailed on Moreton Bay before but it would seem the rumours are true. It's a hard place to sail, challenging, tough, and you have to think! We had to change modes all the time to keep up with the velocity changes in the breeze, and managed to pull off a win which we are really happy about,"
said CLARK. "This puts us in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the regatta now".
Originally from New Zealand, CLARK raced with the Kiwi team in the 1987 America's Cup and then with the Australians in 1992 after gaining dual citizenship. Bowman HUGHES, and CLARK campaigned for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games in the Soling and although missing out on a team position, have continued racing together in Etchells. Middle man SMITH and CLARK have been racing Etchells together "for years". "We make a great team, we have an awesome time racing together whether we win or lose,"
Race 2 saw the breeze decrease in strength considerably making conditions tough for the fleet. The high humidity caused havoc amongst the crews with most requiring more water to get them through the hot and sticky conditions.
Brisbane Fleet members, Racer XY, sailed by Jason MUIR, Matt CHEW, Paul WYATT and Adrian FINGLAS used their local knowledge to cross the line in first position for the second race.
"It was really shifty out there and if you weren't at the port end of the line at the start you were basically out the back door due to the massive shift at the start,"
Overall the conditions were challenging and talk amongst the crews is mainly about tide and what may happen with the conditions over the next few days. Locals remind the visiting sailors that anything can happen and probably will!
Racing continues tomorrow with races 3 and 4 from midday.
Audi Etchells Queensland Championship - www.etchellsregattas0708.com