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14 January 2008, 02:07 pm
Sail Melbourne Underway
The Finns in action in Melbourne
The Finns in action in Melbourne

Sail Melbourne 2008
Melbourne, Australia

The Olympic Classes are back in action in Australia with the start of racing at the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Melbourne today.
World ranked #1 Tornado sailors Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) started their Asia Pacific Regatta at Sail Melbourne with mixed results in tough sailing conditions out of host venue Sandringham Yacht Club today.

In southwesterly winds averaging 12 knots, the Aussie pair blitzed the fleet in the first race of qualifying, only to drop back to 11th in race 2.

"It was really difficult out there today. The wind was shifting 30 degrees. We did well in the first race, but lost five or six boats up the last work and finished nowhere," said skipper BUNDOCK. The 2006 World Champion crew is in fourth place overall on day one.

After a solid fifth in race 1, backed up by a win in race 2, Olympic medallist Mitch BOOTH and his crew Pim NIEUWENHUIS (NED) will head into tomorrow's racing one point clear at the top of the qualifying table. The two have qualified for Beijing and are keen for a good result here.

Fresh from their second place at the Tornado Asia Pacific Championship last week, Olympic triallists Andrey KIRILYUK and Valery USHKOV (RUS) had a good day. They trail the Dutch in second place after a fourth and third respectively, while the reigning World Champions, Fernando ECHAVARRI and Anton PAZ (ESP) are one point further back.

"Really difficult. There was a lot of turbulence in the water. Lots of big shifts," PAZ said on coming ashore this afternoon.

"We have some work to do preparing for the upcoming World's. We want to spend all our day our there," ECHAVARRI admitted.

Rohan LANGWORTHY and Jack PUNCH are the only other Australians in the top 20, in 15th place overall.

Men's 470

Reigning 470 World titleholders Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) have got a bit of work to do following day one of qualifying races at the Asia Pacific Regatta at host venue Sandringham Yacht Club today.

The Aussie pair is laying seventh overall following two consistent fifth placings, but they trail the top of the table combination of Sime FANTELA and Igor MARENIC (CRO).

PAGE said they managed to take advantage of the good conditions in race 1 to help keep them in contention.

"Good, even wind, shifty. It helped us come back from 30th to fifth in the first race," PAGE said.

Francisco SANCHEZ and Alejandro RAMOS (ESP) are currently second following a fourth and third, while Kiwi's Carl EVANS and Peter BURLING (NZL) are third.

EVANS and BURLING finished race 1 in seventh position, but came back with a first place in race 2.

Women's 470

Meanwhile in the Women's 470 fleet, Erin MAXWELL and Isabelle KINSOLVING (USA) enjoyed a consistent day to head into tomorrow's racing an impressive eight points ahead of their nearest rivals.

Finishing second and third respectively in the opening two races, the US pair missed out on a berth to Beijing, so are relaxed and out to make the most of their racing without any pressure.

"It was pretty fun out there…quite tactical racing," MAXWELL said, "We didn't qualify for the Olympics so we're just here for the experience," she added.

There are three crews all tied for second place on 13 points - Emmanuelle ROL and Anne-Sophie THILO (SUI), Xiaoli WANG and Xufeng HUANG (CHI) and Yuka YOSHISAKO and Noriko OKUMA (JPN).

Finn

World #3 ranked Finn sailor Ed WRIGHT (GBR) is locked at the top of the table with Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN) following the first two qualifying races of the Asia Pacific Regatta today.

Four-time Finn Gold Cup winner and Olympic gold and silver medallist Ben AINSLIE (GBR) is unusually poised in third place following two third places on day one.

AINSLIE, recently selected to the British team for Beijing, has an incredible record in the Finn and is by far the man to beat at this regatta, heading into what could potentially be his fifth Gold Cup victory next week.

Australia's Beijing rep, Anthony NOSSITER, is in outright fifth following a fifth and seventh on day one.

Laser

Reigning Laser World Champion Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) endured the highs and lows of championship racing at today's opening qualifying event for the Asia Pacific Championship.

SLINGSBY won his first race of the day, however was turned around on the line of his second race following a false start, relegating the hot favourite to 43rd overall.

Undeterred by his results, having the ability to drop one bad result after five races, SLINGSBY remained buoyant about the series.

"The good guys are all competing…all the major players are here. It's going to be great racing," the 22 year old said today.

Leading the Laser qualifying after day one is Milan VUJASINOVIC (CRO), ahead of Britain's top player Paul GOODISON and Abe TORCHINSKY (CAN) in equal second place. This is an important event ahead of the Laser Worlds to be held at Terrigal in February.

A number of sailors contending for the title are here preparing for the Laser Master's Worlds, also to be held at Terrigal. Mark TONNER JOYCE was the best placed of the Apprentice Master, currently 47th overall, whilst Jan SCHOLTEN (AUS), Master, is 50th in this hot fleet.

Laser Radial

Set to represent at her second Olympic Games when she heads to Beijing, Laser Radial sailor Sarah BLANCK (AUS) started her Asia Pacific Regatta in fabulous form today.

BLANCK, who hails from Melbourne, is in equal first position following a second and first place at her home club Royal Brighton Yacht Squadron. She will go head to head with Sari MULTALA (FIN) when sailing continues tomorrow, with both sailors five points clear of New Zealand star Jo ALEH.

The next best placed Australian is 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion Gabrielle KING, sailing in the youth event and overall in 18th position.

2.4 Metre

Australians Peter RUSSELL and Peter THOMPSON are joint leaders after day one of the 2.4mR Paralympic class racing at the Asia Pacific Regatta at Sandringham Yacht Club today.

Locked in a tight tussle, both competitors traded the first two places in the first two races of the event.

THOMPSON, a two-time veteran of the Paralympic Games, is now retired from international competition but remains competitive at a domestic level.

"It's really nice to come out here to sail and not have to worry about the results," THOMPSON said today.

Beijing Paralympic hopeful Aaron HILL, 23, struggled with boat problems but managed to get it together by race 2.

"I broke a gooseneck early and spent a bit of time fixing it in between races. I was towed out to the second start and made it with 10 seconds to spare," HILL said today.

Hill is placed third overall, four points adrift of the leaders, and two points ahead of another two Australians, Michael LEYDON and Matthew BUGG in equal fourth position.

SKUD18

Local son and father able-bodied combination Morgan and David STALEY (AUS) opened their SKUD Asia Pacific Regatta campaign perfectly today.

Sailing at host venue Sandringham Yacht Club, Morgan and his Dad, the former Sail Melbourne event manager, opened their account with two wins, to skip three points clear of Amy BARNBROOK and Denis CRITCHLEY (AUS), who campaigned for the Paralympic Games but just missed out. In third place, just one point further behind is Duncan and Peter MACGREGOR (AUS).

Special thanks go to sponsors: State Government of Victoria; Parks Victoria; Mercedes Benz; Helly Hansen; Bayside City Council; Mornington Peninsula Shire Council; City of Kingston; Schenker Australia; Yachting Australia; Ronstan International; Ribsport; Silver Marine.

Sail Melbourne - www.sailmelbourne.com.au
Results - click here
Di Pearson (As Amended By ISAF)
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