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8 January 2006, 09:15 am
What a Day
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Juniper Australian Youth Championship 2006
Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia

What an unpredictable day on the waters off Mooloolaba for races 3, 4 and 5 of the Juniper 2006 Australian Youth Championship. Despite the widely varying winds and weather, some classes completed all three races and others completed two.
Strong wind and storm warnings kept sailors on shore an extra half hour but they were greeted with a 12 knot offshore breeze, which meant the huge swell of previous days had subsided substantially. Combined with fast moving clouds, this kept everyone on their toes and there were plenty of opportunities to make or break a race.

By race two the breeze was down to 8 knots and still ideal conditions, however race 3 was another kettle of fish. The Laser Radials, 29ers and Hobies started in the dying sou'wester, which shifted to the south east, and they finished in 10 knots just before the black squall arrived. The Lasers, 420s and Boards weren't quite so lucky and started after the new SE wind arrived. When the black clouds arrived soon after they brought 20 knot winds and lots of rain, reducing visibility drastically.

2005 Australian Youth Champions in the 420, Steven THOMAS and Tim RECHICHI from WA, came out of the white out ahead saying 'The rain came and you couldn't see a thing, I think we jagged a bit and we came out in front.' They won the race but it was later abandoned, along with the final race for the Sailboards and Lasers.

THOMAS and RECHICHI currently trail leaders Samuel KIVELL and Max TAYLOR (VIC), who were last week crowned open age National Champions, by a mere 3 points.

Sarah TAN and Tze Ting LIM from Singapore maintain their lead in the Girls 420, over Western Australians Belinda KERL and Chelsea HALL.

Singaporean Zhen Hao QUEK from the Laser fleet says he missed a few of the shifts and didn't have such top results but he found the day very worthwhile regardless. 'It's my first time sailing here and it's been good sailing and a very good experience.' He is in Australia for a few weeks, having competed at the Laser Nationals last week in Brisbane. This week he is part of a 15 strong Singaporean team.

Fellow countryman Colin CHENG is a clear leader in the Laser Radial, despite less consistent results today, and is 11 points ahead of Ben GUNTHER (VIC). New Zealander Cushla HUME-MERRY, who won the girls' Gold at the recent 2005 Laser Radial Youth World Championship is first girl, while first Australian girl is Gabrielle KING (NSW).

In other classes, NSW team Jason WATERHOUSE and Jeremy ROBERTS continue to lead the Hobies winning some close battles with Barney JOHNSON and Sean O'ROURKE (QLD) and Tobias GIBSON and Madalaine VARKEVISSER (VIC).

Mathew VANDERVOORT and Ethan CORNFORD (NSW) are dominating the 29ers, adding another two convincing wins to their tally, while Hannah NATTRASS and Michelle MULLER are first girls after giving the boys a real run today.

James LEVY (NSW) holds a one point lead in the Sailboards and Alisha KAWALLA (NSW) is first girl.

Three more races are scheduled for tomorrow, with two set for the final day on Tuesday.

Jo DIKKENBERG (As Amended By ISAF), Image: Laser Radial Start © Peter Duncan
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