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10 January 2005, 09:34 am
Clean Sweep For Olympians on Day One
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Sail Melbourne 2005
Melbourne, Australia

Two time Olympians, Darren BUNDOCK (AUS) and Nicky BETHWAITE (AUS) had a clean sweep in the Tornado and Yngling classes respectively on Day 1 in the ISAF Grade 1 Olympic & Invited Classes regatta at Sail Melbourne sailed on Port Phillip Bay today.
Bundock, who won a silver medal at Sydney 2000, and who hales from the NSW central coast, sailing with new crew, Aaron WORRALL from Victoria, won all three Tornado races without blinking, with young Victorian Olympic hopefuls Robbie LOVIG/Glen DOUGLAS (AUS) second overall and Marcus TOWELL/Kenneth HIBBERT (AUS) one point behind them.

In the Yngling, Sydney's Nicky BETHWAITE and Karyn GOJNICH with new crew Helen IMPEY, won their three races cleanly and are already four points clear of their nearest rivals, husband and wife team Chris and Jan HARPER and Simone DEAN (AUS) , with Peter LOWNDES/Emma QUARTLY/James HARRISON third overall in this all-Australian fleet. 'It was beautiful sailing, very Athens like, good courses and crew-wise it's all coming together nicely,' Bethwaite said.

Josh BEAVER (AUS) also had a good day, winning all three races in the Finn class, 'it was champagne sailing, great conditions,' the young West Australian said on coming ashore. His main rival, Athens Olympian, Anthony NOSSITER (AUS) is not at this event - he is in France training for the upcoming America's Cup. After three races, Beaver leads Jake GUNTHER (AUS) and William WILD (AUS) in the five boat fleet.

In the Laser Radial class, current world champion, Krystal WEIR (AUS) scored 2-1-3 to lead that class from two New Zealanders Jo ALEH and Jane MACKY, sister of Sarah who represented at the Athens Games in the Europe. Weir commented, 'I finished the first race second - I went round a mark the wrong way. I won't do that again, I'll get the mistakes out of the way early.'

Of the conditions and racing, the 19 year old Victorian commented, 'the wind was shifting quite a lot -I thought it would get stronger - but it didn't. It was nice out there though. The Kiwi girls are pretty quick - I'm looking forward to a Kiwi versus Australia showdown'.

Races organisers at Sandringham Yacht Club decided to hold three races in all but the Mistral sailboard today, rather than the planned two, as the weather bureau predicts high winds and seas for tomorrow. We will have to wait and see.

In the Laser, which is arguably the toughest class here this year, Athens Olympian, Roope SUOMALAINEN (FIN), did enough to lead the class from Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) and Michael BULLOT (NZL) third. Victoria's hope, Ricky IRONGMONGER is fifth overall. 'It was really light - it felt strange for Melbourne. The courses were a bit short, especially the beat, it makes tough, a bit of a lottery,' he said.

Peter RUSSELL (AUS) has taken an early lead in the 2.4mR, placing 2-2-1, but he only leads by one point from Michael LEYDON (AUS) and then comes Michael MCLEAN (AUS) a further five points in arrears, followed by his wife Cathy.

In the Mens 470 class, Matt BELCHER/Nick BEHRENS won all three races to take an already sizeable lead (six points) from Roy Tay JUNHAO/Pei Ming CHUNG (SIN) and Tom CHISHOLM/ Jon NEWMAN (AUS). Belcher, from Queensland and Behrens from Victoria paired up over a year ago and are the ones to watch for selection for Beijing. Belcher formerly sailed with his brother Dan, but since pairing with Behrens has sailed up a notch.

In the Womens 470 fleet, Lauren JEFFRIES/Rike ZIEGELMAYER (AUS) lead by one point in this close contest. Ziegelmayer's father is the builder of the 470. Living TOH/Lee Ching TOK (SIN) are second overall, with a further point to the 420 world champions, Elise RECHICHI/Tessa PARKINSON, who were expected to lead this class.

There are only three entries in the Laser 4.7 and Mark LINCOLN (AUS) leads from Mark EDMONDS and Matthew BROWN.

New Zealanders got an early start on the number one and two places in the 49er class; Scott and Mark KENNEDY have a one point advantage over Jake BARTROM/Craig PRENTICE, with Joseph TURNER/Charles DORRON (AUS) in third. Bartrom, a very talented sailor, formerly sailed a Laser Radial, but predictions are he will have no problem adapting to the 49er.

Noticeably missing is Nathan OUTTERIDGE who had an unfortunate road accident on his way to Sail Melbourne. He will have an operation on his spine tomorrow, after which time more will be known as to how long recuperation may take.

There is a big international contingent in the Mens Mistral fleet and today Hong Kong sailors have claimed the top three places. Ho Chi HO (HK) won both races to lead, five points clear of Cheng Kwok FAI and Chan King YIN. The first Aussie is Michael LANCEY in fourth place.

In the Women's Mistral, it is Hong Kong again, this time Chan Wai MAN from Gourand SOLENN (FRA) and Chan Wai KEI. There are no Australian women in the fleet.

Trying to make sailing more media friendly, racing on some courses was conducted close to shore to allow spectators to enjoy the action. Also allowed for the first time, is the hitting of rounding marks, which most competitors are enjoying, giving them one less thing to worry about.

It was a beautiful day on Port Phillip, lots of sun and enough wind for everyone to get a fair go. However, that is not what is predicted for tomorrow. Hot harsh winds are what they say.

Out enjoying the ideal weather today too, nine gentlemen from Beijing, here to learn more about running an Olympic class event.

Full results are available at the website via the link below.

Di Pearson, Image: © Mike Cleveland, Melbourne
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