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7 December 2008, 06:40 pm
Olympians To The Fore On Day Two Of OAMPS Sydney International Regatta
Spanish Laser Olympian Javier HERNANDEZ at the SIRs today
Spanish Laser Olympian Javier HERNANDEZ at the SIRs today

Sydney International Regatta 2008
Sydney, Australia

Gentle and shifty south-easterly airs greeted the classes that started just after 10:00 on day two of the ISAF Grade 1 OAMPS Sydney International Regatta, but shifty winds increased throughout the day, some classes getting the best of fresh 16-18 knot winds, a day on which there was breeze to suit everybody.
Very few classes completed all the races on their schedules yesterday due to the unstable conditions. However, today's southeasterly winds allowed officials to catch up most racing.

The Olympic 49er skiff class got off the start shortly after 10:00. As the fleet rounded the windward mark for the first time, the breeze shifted allowing the back markers to make the best of the change to take the lead from those who had been at the front of the fleet.

Following up from their two bullets yesterday, Olympic aspirants Paul CAMPBELL-JAMES and Mark ASQUITH (GBR) built on those results with 2,1,2 results, using a second place as their drop to lead the series by four points following two races from Olympian Nathan OUTTERIDGE and his crew Euan MCNICOL (AUS), who are on equal points with third placed David O'CONNOR and Iain JENSEN (AUS).

"We had a bit of training in Melbourne before we came to SIRs," said CAMPBELL-JAMES on coming ashore. "We're happy with the way we're going so far. The weather was very changeable today. We were lucky to capitalise on the shift at the first mark in our first race today, which was light and shifty," he said.

"The Committee shifted the course and by the third race, after sailing in up to 6 knots of a shifty south-easterly, we got 16 to 18 knots. We're comfortable in all conditions. We're light but tall, so we can sail in a range of winds," said skipper CAMPBELL-JAMES, who with his crew ASQUITH is looking to represent Great Britain at the London Games in 2012.

O'CONNOR was happy with his and JENSEN's day out too: "We got a great right shift in the first race which moved us up into the lead to win the race," he said, while conceding: "We're still working on strategic and tactical errors, but we felt quick today - so far, so good."

The cream rose to the top in Laser fleet today. Beijing Olympians Michael LEIGH (CAN) and Javier HERNANDEZ (ESP) making the best of the testing conditions that varied between 6-18 knots during their three races to head the leaderboard in first and second places respectively, with a third international, Blair MCLAY (NZL) third.

LEIGH was much happier with today's performance: "I wouldn't say I was back in top form yet, but I'm happy with how my day went," he said.

"The wind kept clocking left all day, the strength was up and down, it was all over the place. I got away with a few bad decisions - my day could have been a lot worse," admitted LEIGH who will head to Sail Melbourne after SIRs for the first round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup.

There was a bit of confusion in the Moth fleet as most did not finish the earlier race 3 in the time limit. Waiting on the course, many of the Moth sailors thought their day was over, so came ashore - only five remained to complete race 4, which may or may not finish in a protest situation.

"It was a bit confusing," confessed Mat DAY (AUS), one of those who missed race 4. However, the slightly built sailor enjoyed the lighter conditions of race 3 to rack up third place. He is eighth overall.

Scott BABBAGE (AUS), who placed fifth at the 2008 Worlds, leads the Moth series by one point from Sydney 2000 49er bronze medallist Charlie MCKEE (USA), while fellow American Hans HENKEN is third, 10 points off the lead.

The Laser 4.7 class is right on target with two further races completed. Stephen COLLINGS (AUS) is the new leader in this all-Australian fleet after posting 2,6 result and with five races away now, used the sixth as his race drop. Ella EVANS (AUS) is the best performed girl. She is third placed one point behind Thomas VINCENT (AUS).

In the all-Australian 420 dinghy class, the top three places remain unchanged from yesterday following a further three races be sailed and a race drop coming into play. In a close series at the top end and following a race drop, Byron WHITE and Jay GRIFFIN (AUS) have a two point buffer from Sean OTT and Adam LAHEY (AUS) and a further two points to third placed Karl BROMFIELD and Marcus CONWAY (AUS).

Both the Yngling and 470 classes are back on track too; each class sailing three races. While Hamish JARRETT (AUS) and his crew continue their lead of the Yngling keelboat, three-time Australian Olympian Karyn GOJNICH and her crew of husband John and daughter Zoe have moved up from fourth into second place, winning races 4 and 5.

The strong Laser Radial women's fleet finally got three solid races in today after failing to get any racing in on day one. Along with the Men's Radial fleet, they were the last ashore this afternoon from 17:00 local time onwards.

In an all-international affair, Sara WINTHER (NZL) leads that series with 2,3,1 results, from Alison YOUNG (GBR) one point away in second and Josefin OLSSON (SWE) third. Next best placed is 2007 and 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion Gabrielle KING (AUS), who is looking down the barrel of her first Olympic campaign.

Krystal WEIR (AUS) who is back in the class after representing Australia in the Yngling keelboat class at the Beijing Games, did not have a good start to her Olympic campaign, after being scored OCS in the opening race. However, she made good in races 2 and 3 with sixth and fifth places for 10th overall.

Klade HAUSCHILDT (AUS) moved up from third into first place today in the Laser Radial men's following two wins. Scott SYDNEY (SIN) is four points behind in second place and Christopher JONES (AUS) is in third place, pushing yesterday's top two, Jackson MACFARLANE and Tim COLTMAN from New Zealand off the podium.

Organized by Yachting NSW, the ISAF Grade 1 Olympic & Invited Classes event is being hosted by Woollahra Sailing Club, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club.Racing at the SIR continues tomorrow starting from 10:00, weather permitting.

Results - click here
Di Pearson (As Amended By ISAF)
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