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5 January 2003, 04:33 pm
Warm Up Event Starts Today
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Sail Melbourne - Australian 49er Championship
Melbourne

Today was the opening day of the Sail Melbourne Australian 49er Championship being sailed out of Royal Geelong Yacht Club in Victoria.
Three races on windward/leeward courses were sailed today, with three different winners in each race, making the series an exciting one. The Championship will finish on January 9, when the competitors will leave Geelong and head to Sandringham Yacht Club for the Sail Melbourne Invited & Olympic Classes Regatta.

In Race 1, brothers Pietro & Gianfranco Sibello (ITA) came out ahead of Aaron Linton/Aaron Cole (AUS) with Mark Kennedy/Chris Burgess (NZL) third.

In Race 2, it was Chris Nicholson/Gary Boyd (AUS) first from Kenji Nakamura/Masato Takaki (JPN) with Mark Turnbull/Nick Partridge third.

In the third race, it was Kenji Nakamura/Masato Takaki (JPN) first, from young Victorian brothers Ben and Marcus Tardrew (AUS) third.

Breezes out on Corio Bay in Geelong were light throughout the day in the 5-7 knot range.

Chris Nicholson/Gary Boyd were in fine form and lead the series with 10 points from Kenji Nakamura/Masato Takaki on 11 points and Pietro & Gianfranco Sibello with 12 points.

Nicholson, a former three-time World champion in the class, represented Australia at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, and has recently returned to 49er sailor with new crew, Gary Boyd, who was ranked No. 2 in Australia for some time, sailing with his brother John.

The Sibello brothers are the only top ten ranked 49er sailors at the Australian Championship, with a world ranking of 6. Coming from Italy, they are not eligible to win the title.

Full results and more at the official website below
Di Pearson/ISAF News Editor
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