At their absolute best, Chris Nicholson/Gary Boyd (NSW) have excelled themselves at Sail Melbourne, winning the 49er skiff class without looking back.
The duo from Belmont, some time back sailed an 18ft skiff together, and their successful partnership in the 49er does not surprise.
Boyd said today, "we seem to be putting our feet in the right places, and we're very happy that we had a win here, we still have a lot of work to do, but we beat the world 6th ranked at this regatta, so that's good for us."
Nicholson/Boyd won from Pietro/Gianfranco Sibello (ITA) in comfort. The latter pair finished with a 4-1 today to take 2nd overall.
This result gives Nicholson/Boyd the upper hand for the Olympics, Sail Melbourne being a selection event for Australians in this event. Only light 5-knot breezes greet competitors on the two-lap windward return courses today.
Coming home thirrd overall, are the stars of the future, Ben and Marcus Tardrew (Vic), who finished their day with a 2-2 result. Only 22 and 24 years old respectively, the brothers have come up from the 29er class and have quickly become very fast in the 49er. Watch out for them.
Stuart Shimeld (ACT) has sailed an excellent series to take out the 1.4M Dinghy class.
In the one race drop series, Shimeld has well and truly outclassed his competitors, winning five of the eight races sailed, his worst result today, an eighth placing. His nearest rival was James Thompson (Vic), who scored a 6-4 result to finish 2nd overall for the series.
Coming home in third overall was Andrew May (NZL), the only international competitor in the fleet. He finished the day with 5-1, after sailing in light 5-knot breezes on the Bay. Sandringham YC, host for the entire Olympic & Invited Classes Regatta, has done a marvellous job, both on and off the water, keeping officials and competitors happy. With an army of smiling and helpful volunteers, things couldn't have been better.
Sailing neck-and-neck with Ben Gunther in the all Australian fleet of the Optimist this week, Leon Poutsma put an end to it today, finishing with a 2-1 result to be named winner at Sail Melbourne.
The ten youngsters in the fleet have had a ball all week sailing amongst the superstar world champions and Olympians at Sandringham YC.
Gunther had to be happy with a 2-4 result today, 4th his worst result for the regatta, to take 2nd prize. Today's races were sailed in extremely light breezes only reaching 5 knots.
Melody Kelly from Western Australia sailed her worst races today also, with a 4-8 result, but still came home first. She was one of four girls sailing in the Optimist this week.
Lenka Smidova (CZE) stayed in a top four position throughout the 12-race Europe series to win by five points today.
The World-ranked 5 Smidova sailed consistently well to outclass her rivals, her nearest competitor being the World-ranked No. 2, Carolijn Brouwer (NED) who finished five places behind her overall. Smidova recorded a 1-4 result in the two race-drop series, Brouwer' a 5-1.
Current World champion, Sarah Blanck (Vic) came home third, placing 6-2, five points behind Brouwer. As an Australian selection event, this helps Blanck's chances of representing at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and also gives her ranking points.
The top five placegetters were close on points, Sarah Macky (NZL) finishing only one point behind Blanck, and young Jo Dikkenberg (NSW) 3.4 points behind her. Today's races were sailed in extremely light conditions, only 5-6 knots on Port Phillip Bay.
Mithu Nahak/Thimiti Srikanth Chatu, have come home first in the eight-race 420 Youth Class to win from their three competitors today. The pair, from the Indian Army sailing team in Mumbai (Bombay), sailed well to beat their Australian counterparts, Kale Woolley/Daniel Farthing, who finished in second place.
The Indian sailors are the younger emerging high performance competitors and have trained in Australia with Lex Bertrand and Chris Kelly, along with their Indian coach, Gautam Dutta, to achieve their fine result.
Coming home third overall was James Dyer/Danielle Pascoe (Vic), with Bhavana Chiranjay/Lucky Bisht in fourth.
James Tudball/Matt Williams (AUS) have won the 29er skiff class without a backward glance, winning all but the last race of the series today.
Two races were sailed today to complete the series, second place getters overall, Lucian Francis/Wulf Wilkens scoring a win in the final race.
Coming home third overall were Andrew Churcher and Rhys Bancroft (Vic), Bancroft fresh from his National Championship win and Worlds 3rd placing in the B14 skiff at McCrae Yacht Club.
The 29ers had a ten race series with one drop and today's final races were sailed in light 5-knot winds on Olympic Trapezoid courses.
Finn sailing supremo, Sebastien Godefroid (BEL) has once again outsailed his competitors at Sail Melbourne, winning by a seven-point margin to be declared winner in the Mens Olympic class single-handed dinghy.
This is the second year in succession Godefroid has won at Sail Melbourne, winning six of the 12 races with two race drops. He beat Anthony Nossiter (NSW) the Olympian from the Sydney 2000 Games, who has had one of his best regattas, winning today's Race 11, finishing 3rd in the final race 12.
Pascal Rambeau (FRA) finished 3rd overall with a 7-5 result today from Paul McKenzie (Vic) and young Josh Beaver (WA). Breezes on the Finn course today were an extremely light 5 knots at 180-140 degrees.
Anthony Nossiter wins this battle for Olympic selection, this being an Australian selection event. It also scores him valuable points on the world rankings, Sail Melbourne being the only Grade 1 ISAF ranking regatta in Australia.
Nathan Wilmot/Malcolm Page (NSW) had outclassed the 470 fleet to comfortably win the Combined 470 class at the Sail Melbourne Regatta on Port Phillip Bay.
The 470 had two final races today in light 5-knot breezes to complete their 12-race series in which Philippe Gildas/Nicholas Leberre (FRA) finished 2nd overall from brothers Mathew and Daniel Belcher (Qld) who have sailed an excellent regatta. Nicolas Charbonnier/Tanguy Cariou (FRA) also sailed well to finish fourth, missing a couple of opportunities to be in the top three.
In the Womens fleet, Gold medallists from Sydney 2000, Jenny Armstrong/Belinda Stowell (NSW) came home a close 1st (7th overall) from Ingrid Peititjean/Nadege Douroux (FRA) and Shelley Hesson/Linda Dickson (NZL).
Today's two races were sailed in light 5-6 knot shifty breezes.
Colin Beashel and David Giles (NSW) did not race today - they packed their boat up ready for the next regatta, already having the Star title at Sail Melbourne in their hands.
Beashel and Giles, who have represented at Olympics on numerous occasions, including Sydney 2000 in the Star class, finished the regatta on Port Phillip Bay with 11 points. Their nearest competition came in the form of Ian 'Barney' Walker and Nick Williams (Vic), who try as they might, could not keep pace with the pair.
As Walker said earlier, it would take a lot of practice, technique and patience to overcome the experience of Beashel and Giles. Coming home 3rd were Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey (NSW), not too far off Walker/Williams' score.
With Murray busy with business and other sailing commitments, the duo have not spent enough valuable time on the water to outsail the others.
Current World champions, and ranked No. 1 in the World pair, Darren Bundock and John Forbes have repeated their performance of last year's Sail Melbourne Regatta by winning every race in the Tornado class.
Sailing their final two races in light airs, the pair were at their best, leaving their rivals in awe of their ability. Their training partners, Iordanis Paschalides/Christos Garefis (GRE) said they had really enjoyed Sail Melbourne, and the opportunity of yet again racing against Bundock and Forbes, finishing their day with two 2nd placings.
The Kiwi's also enjoyed their regatta, the first time the two have sailed together at Sail Melbourne, and happy with their 3rd place.
In some of the most exciting racing in the Sail Melbourne Regatta on Port Phillip Bay, the two Yngling keelboat Olympic hopefuls went at it again today, both wanting to win this Regatta, an Australian Olympic selection event.
Melanie Dennison/Fiona Herbert/Caroline Aders (Vic) went into today's two races one point in front of Nicky Bethwaite/Kate McHugh/Kristin Kosmala (NSW). With the breezes light - only 5 knots or so, Dennison won the Race 11 by 40 seconds, but Bethwaite came back in Race 12, winning it from the sailing sensations, Pat and Joyce Warn, now 72 years old, with their 18 year old crew, Tneal Kawalla, leaving Dennison in 3rd place.
This left team Dennison and team Bethwaite in a tied situation with 15 points each - to break the tie, officials count back to see who has the most 1st places during the 12-race series, and that was Dennison, one more 1st placing than Bethwaite - it could not have been closer.
In third place, Team Warn, showing the rest how to sail in light air - they are the specialists.
The oldest competitor on the Olympic trail in the Mistral Womens event, Barbara Kendall (NZL), at 35, made a comeback today to win the event from Natasha Sturges (GBR) and Jessica Crisp (NSW).
Kendall, the current World champion, who led the regatta earlier on against some of the best competition in the world, was lying in 2nd place, two points behind Sturges, going into today's two races.
Upstaging the rest, she finished with a 2-1 result today, Sturges finishing 5-3, and next best placed, Jessica Crisp (AUS), who finished 3-6 today for a 3rd place overall.
This was undoubtedly one of the toughest and closest competitions at the Regatta, a number of top ranked sailors in attendance, as well as a number of Australian girls trying their hand for Olympic selection.
Allison Shreeve (NSW) had one of the best regattas in adult competition of her career, finishing in 4th place of the 10 race series in the light airs on Port Phillip Bay today.
New Zealand has some of the best sail boarders in the World, and that was evident in both the Womens and Mens final results today.
Jon Paul Tobin (NZL) has come out the other end victorious after a 2-2 result today to grab the series from his compatriot Tom Ashley (NZL).
Tobin is ranked 14 in the World, Ashley 15, and the pair battled throughout the regatta with Aussies, Lars Kleppich (NSW), a former two-time Olympian, and Michael Lancey (NSW), who has performed better at this regatta than any other he has attended.
Racing was very tight in the racing, the lead changing many times throughout the series.
Sailing out of host club, Sandringham YC, on Port Phillip Bay today in light airs, today's final two races had different winners - Michael Lancey winning Race 9 and Dominic Tidey (GBR) winning Race 10.
Michael Blackburn (NSW), winner of Bronze at the Sydney 2000 Games is well on track for his next Olympic campaign, winning the Laser class at Sail Melbourne today.
Currently unranked in the World standings, due to sailing a 49er for some time, Blackburn has not lost his skill or poise on the Laser, this being his first major regatta for two and a half years. Ed Wright, World ranked 5, finished in 2nd place some eight points behind Blackburn, in the largest fleet - 48 boats in all, with some of the worlds best Laser sailors.
Roope Suomalainen (FIN), ranked 9th on world standings, finished 3rd overall, with the world No. 7, Diego Negri in 4th. Brendan Casey (Qld), also aiming for Olympic Games representation, but disappointed with an OCS in his series, he was happy with his result here.
"Yes, I am happy with the way I'm sailing, this has been a great regatta, the competition in the Laser has been really strong here, I'm getting in lots of practice and learning lots, I just need to go and continue training,",
he said today.
From Day 1, wonder kid, Jake Bartrom showed his prowess in the Laser Radial class, the class he won this regatta in last year. With four wins and other top placings, the rest of the filed had no chance - this is definitely somebody to watch in future years - maybe at America Cup.
Richard Howard (AUS) gave it all he had, finishing one place better than last year - 2nd to Howard in this year's event. Adam Beattie (AUS) finished in 3rd place, just short of Howard's points, with a 4th place in today's 9th race sailed in extremely light airs.