The 2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup is off to a great start with close racing throughout the fleets on day one of Sail Melbourne at Sandringham Yacht Club.
A steady 10-12 knot breeze from the south-west, meant that generally the boat that crossed in the dominant position held on to win the heat.
In the 49er class each of the leading three crews had a poor start in one of the three races. At the end of the day Peter Burling
and Blair Tuke
(NZL) hold a one point lead over two Australian crews, Sam
and Will Phillips and Nathan Outteridge
and Iain Jensen
In the first race, the Kiwis nailed the start, while Outteridge and Jensen thought they were over the start line early and re-crossed in sixth position. The Kiwis extended their lead at every mark and finished more than 200m in front of the Australians, who used clear air in the middle of the course to fight their way back.
In the second race it was the Phillips brothers who hit the start line perfectly, pinning Outteridge and Jensen below them for most of the first beat. Meanwhile the Kiwis had been trapped by another Australian crew to cross last, and could manage only a fourth, their worst position of the day.
In the third heat, Outteridge and Jensen had a poor start and played catch-up all race. When asked why he had gone to the right of the course when the inshore left-hand side looked favoured, Outteridge said, "'Everyone else had gone left, so we had to go right. You can't pass them by following them."
In the Men's 470 class world champions Mathew Belcher
and Malcolm Page
(AUS) sit in third position after a sixth in the first race and a win in the second. "We got caught up at the start in the first race and there was no way back,"
said Belcher. "In the second race we got a nice start and then sailed a bit conservative."
Americans Stuart Mcnay
and Graham Biehl
lead the regatta with a first and second place. Australians Sam Kivell
and Will Ryan
are in second place on five points.
In the Women's 470 Elise Rechichi
and Belinda Stowell
(AUS) are currently first overall after two race wins. The two Olympic Gold medallists are sailing in their first ever regatta together having only recently teamed up to campaign for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Japanese pair of Ai Kondo
and Wakako Tabata
are in second place on six points, one point ahead of two American crews, Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan and Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Farrar.
The Laser fleet has been into two groups, with Tom Slingsby
leading the yellow fleet, and overall, after a first and second placing. In the second race, he was involved in a dogfight with Canadian Lee Parkhill
on the last run.
"I'd surge then he'd surge but when I needed a wave at the end it didn't come,"
Slingsby said philosophically.
British sailor, Nick Thompson was the leader of the blue fleet and sits just one point behind Slingsby, after a first and a third place. "I didn't feel particularly fired up when I went out there, but I'm happy," said Thompson, for whom these were his first races since the European championships.
In the women's Laser Radial, Lijia Xu of China finished with a win and a second placing, to lead Tuula Tenkanen of Finland by two points. Former world number one Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands is four points further back.
In the men's RS:X Dutchman Dorian Van Rijsselberge is tied with Kiwi Jon-Paul Tobin on four points, with Zachary Plavsic of Canada a point further back. Tobin scored two second placings, while van Rijsselberge and Plavsic won one race each.
In the women's event, Flavia Tartaglini of Italy won the first race but she was OCS in the second, handing the overall lead to Jessica Crisp of Australia, who leads by four points from Bryony Shaw of Great Britain and Justina Sellers of New Zealand.
In the Finn fleet Oleksiy Borysov of Ukraine leads on three points. Australians Oliver Tweddle (4) and Rob McMillan (5) are second and third.
Today's winds were more than five knots stronger than forecast, and it is to be hoped that the same prevails tomorrow, when another light day is currently predicted.
For full results click here.
For more information on the ISAF Sailing World Cup click here.