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11 January 2006, 09:30 am
Locals Day Out
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Sail Melbourne 2006
Melbourne, Australia

Finally the stronger conditions that Port Phillip, Australia is renowned for kicked in at the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Melbourne today and the local sailors revelled, breaking the stranglehold the international competitors have held since day one in most classes. Only in the RS:X did the international entries manage to hold back the Aussie onslaught, as the windsurfers contest the first ISAF Grade 1 regatta in the new Olympic equipment.
No ALT tag specifiedAlthough the day started overcast constant drizzling rain and light airs, the rain soon went. Classes experienced shifty conditions in eight to ten and twelve to 15 knot wind range. This was a day for the locals to shine and the light air specialists suffered, as did the many of the internationals that had been at the top of the leaderboard, as they found all the holes and found it hard read the shifts.

'It was extremely frustrating,' said Laura BALDWIN (GBR), who until this afternoon had held down third place in the Laser Radial. 'I found every hole and found it very difficult to read the shifts.'

Aussie Success Across The Board In 470s

470 World Champions Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) agreed. 'The shifts were massive - 20 to 30 degrees.' But for the Aussies, who are used to these conditions, it was pay-dirt time as the pair from NSW notched up their first win of the series in the last race of the day. 'It was pure arse,' laughed PAGE. The pair though, revels in the heavier winds.

However, it is the second Aussie pair, Mat BELCHER and Nick BEHRENS who are in the spotlight right now. They lead the 470 class by three points from their Aussie counterparts. 'We've been training really hard with our new coach Evgeniy. We've done a lot of regattas this year and you have to remember we've only sailed together for two years now.

'We are now into getting our technique right and strategy and fine tuning and know we are on the right track now and that psychology plays a big part in winning. We are very happy with our performance right now,' BELCHER said.

Elise RECHICHI and Tessa Parkinson (AUS) scored a further bullet and a second place to lead the women's 470 by three points. Japanese crews hold the next three places, then comes the next Aussie crew.

WEIR Fights Back In The Radial

Victorian 20 year old Krystal WEIR (AUS) also scored her first win today to take the lead of the series. 'Finally' she said, also enjoying the fresher conditions that had an adverse effect on the Chinese sailors XU Lijia and SHEN Huanqi who had led the class coming into today's racing. WEIR only has a one point advantage though over her two nearest rivals and a number of others breathing down her neck.

Another local who is a happy camper today is Finn sailor Ricky IRONMONGER (AUS), who won both races today from dual Olympian Anthony NOSSITER (AUS). 'It was close, but there was breathing space - it wasn't a case of pipped at the line,' he said. IRONMONGER led the earlier race from start to finish, but only caught NOSSITER on the final run home in the later race. 'I got on a nice wave and surfed it,' the talented 20 year old class newcomer said.

Japan Lose 49er Lead

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Casper BOUMAN has been
unstoppable in the RS:X
© Jeff CROW, Sport the Library
at Sail Melbourne

A protest in the 49er fleet sees a new leader, following an incident that resulted in a broken spinnaker pole for Aussie crew Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN.

'It was shifty with big pressure lines. Some were predictable, some weren't. We are doing OK, but we could be doing better. We seem to be making a mistake in each race,' said OUTTERIDGE, even though he scored two second places from three races.

The Japanese crew of Kenjiro TODOROKI and Kenji TAKAHASHI were disqualified in race eight and therefore lose the lead to local Victorian crew, William PHILLIPS and Jon NEWMAN (AUS). Although quite new to the class, crew PHILLIPS is sailing an excellent regatta and the pair scored their second win of the series in the last race of the day, to take a four point overall lead.

Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) also scored a win in the last Laser race of the day and now leads by two points Matias DEL SOLAR from Chile and Brit, Mark HOWARD.

BUNDOCK Still Unstoppable Despite Losing ASHBY

Despite losing his crew Glenn ASHBY, who suffered three broken bones in his right foot yesterday, Darren BUNDOCK (AUS), with fill in crew Josh FUGILL still managed a second and win today to lead the number four team in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings Leigh MCMILLAN and Will HOWDEN (GBR).

The two Australian Nicky's continue as the top two in the Yngling keelboat class, with Olympian Nicky BETHWAITE and crew Julie GRIMSHAW and Petronella DE JONG scoring two more bullets today to lead the series from Nicky SOUTER, Angela FARRELL and Sarah WILLMOT, who came up with two further second places.

Aussie Stranglehold Broken In RS:X

In the RS:X Casper BOUMAN (NED) scored another two bullets to give himself a perfect series score of five points after six races and a resulting twelve point lead over second place Joeri VAN DIJK (NED). After a second place in the day's final race, VAN DIJK lies tied in second with New Zealander JP TOBIN (NZL).

In the women's fleet, two more races saw Yasuko KOSUGE (JPN) climb into first place thanks to a bullet in race six. China's CHEN Qiubin falls one place to second whilst DUAN Mingli (CHN) climbs up to third. It was a disappointing day for Formula Windsurfing World Champion Allison SHREEVE (AUS), who drops from third to eighth overall.

The Invited Classes, Tasar, Laser 4.7, OK Dinghy and 420 classes commence their racing programme tomorrow and finish on Saturday, along with the Olympic Classes.

Sail Melbourne is made possible by the support of event sponsors: Sport & Recreation Victoria, Collex, Parks Victoria; associate sponsors Bayside City Council and Menere's BMW Brighton and support sponsors Ronstan International, Schenker Australia, City of Kingston and the City of Port Philip.

For all the news on Sail Melbourne CLICK HERE.

Di PEARSON (As Amended by ISAF). Image, Mat BELCHER and Nick BEHRENS continue to make hay in the 470:© Jeff CROW, Sport the Library at Sail Melbourne
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