The Sail Downunder Series began today in earnest for a large number of leading Australian and overseas yachtsmen as Waterloo Bay dished up a trying set of conditions for Sail Brisbane's first day.
A strong northerly wind of over 20 knots combined with an ebbing tide created a short sharp chop and a thrill a minute on both courses in operation today. With more than 100 competitors from 7 nations and most states of Australia represented, Sail Brisbane is an ISAF grade 3 event and the first of three regatta's for Olympic and Invited classes and allows Australian sailors to challenge the best from around the world on home waters. Sail Brisbane is hosted by the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron at Manly in Brisbane's bayside suburbs and promises Queensland warmth both in temperature and hospitality.
In the Olympic 49er class John Harris, Chris Nicholson and Ben Tardrew each won a race, with Nicholson's two seconds placing him in the overall lead after three heats. Local hope Jason Beebe scored two thirds to be in fourth place overall.
The 470 class is combined with both men and women sailing together, with Queensland brothers Matthew and Dan Belcher scoring two bullets and a third to lead the French team of Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux by 6 points after day one. A second French team of Gildas Philippe and Nicolas La berre is one point further back and just ahead of 2000 Sydney Olympic Gold medallists Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell.
A feeder class for the 470 is the 420's and here Lauren Jeffries showed her class with two wins and a second to open a handy lead from Tom Barker and Andrew Patrick. Recently granted ISAF international status, the Laser 4.7's have joint leadership between Michael Johns and Paul Brinkley after their races today, whilst in the Laser Radial Simon Hurling, Cassie Buckley and Cameron Ewers have all performed well.
Racing continues tomorrow with another three heats for all classes and with more strong winds forecast exciting downwind rides are predicted, especially in the skiff classes.
For full results from each class, please visit the event website below.