Defending champion Andrea Bonezzi of Italy got off to a flying start to hold the overall lead at the end of day one of the 40th Contender World Championship.
Perfect weather for day one of the 40th Contender World Championships, being sailed out Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron The standard Olympic Triangle course, was set on Waterloo Bay in an easterly direction heading out towards the gap between King and Pine Islands.
With the thunder of helicopters overhead, the beats went up amongst the 60 boat fleet as race one began in bright sunny conditions with 13 knots of breeze.
The newly crowned Australian Champion Matt Mulder (AUS) was over the start line early, along with two other boats but he alone went back.
At the top mark for the first time, reigning World Champion Andrea Bonezzi (ITA) approached the mark from starboard lay line and rounded six boat lengths ahead of British sailor Simon Mussell (GBR). Brisbane local Geoff Fisher (AUS) was third. At the wing mark Mussell was flying and had closed up to within a boat length of Bonezzi.
At the bottom mark Mussell rounded ahead on Bonezzi, with Jono Neate (AUS) up into third. Just five boats lengths separated the top four boats. Unfortunately for Neate shortly afterwards his trapeze line broke and he fell back through the fleet.
At the top mark for the second time, Mussell was first to the layline. Bonezzi tacked inside of Mussell but was short of the line. While the two boats were sailing side by side, Bonezzi had to pinch and he fell in behind Mussell as they rounded. Fisher was third.
Mussell and Bonezzi came in from the left on the beat up to the finish line. Mussell tacked a fraction early and under laid the finishing pin, but it mattered little as Bonezzi had better speed and with slightly cracked sheets was faster to the finish.
Waiting for the next race Bonezzi was succint. "I got a good start and I had good speed. Simon gave me a good fight. It's a beautiful day."
Matt Mulder grimaced. "I was over at the start and went back, but clawed my way back into the fleet."
Chris Sutherland (AUS) and Brett Holly (AUS) were OCS. Stephen Toms (AUS) retired with broken gear.
For the start of race two, the fleet again had sunshine, with 10-11 knots of breeze. As they approached the top mark the wind lifted to 14 knots.
Bonezzi (ITA) was a narrow leader around the mark, ahead of Christoph Homeier (GER) with Brett Holly (AUS) third.
It was a tight duel at the wingmark between the first two, Homeier with better downwind speed just ahead of Bonezzi as they approached the bottom mark.
Bonezzi was leading at the top mark for the second time, with Homeier and Mulder each two boat lengths apart.
Bonezzi chose the middle of course, Homeier the right and Mulder the left.
As the tide was beginning to run out of Lota Creek, the boats were staying to the left as the breeze dropped down to 8-10 knots.
Downwind Homeier just squeaked in ahead of Bonezzi, with Mulder just a few boat lengths back.
Homeier appears to have the advantage downwind and Bonezzi the advantage upwind. It's was an intriguing battle with Bonezzi clearly out to claim his eighth World title.
Homeier let out a giant yahoo as he crossed the finish line one boat length ahead of Bonezzi. He had pinned Bonezzi to leeward past the layline but the game had to stop as Mulder came in fast from the left to finish a close third.
An elated Homeier said "Going down the last run we were going wave for wave. I just got one wave better. Then coming up the final beat to the finish I managed to hold Andrea out."
Dockside the defending champion Bonezzi was smiling, which is not hard when you are leading after the first day.
"The competition was tough out there today. I started reasonably conservatively in both races, no risks. I was just happy to be first to the top mark in both races and I'm happy to leading the regatta after the first day."
"Christoph is very fast down wind in medium and light conditions as he proved today. He was the same in the last French Championships. Simon [Mussell] was faster than me on the reaches and so I have some work to do there.
"All in all a nice day on the water and tomorrow I will be faster. I am sure Matt [Mulder] and Jono [Neate] will be attacking tomorrow."
Results - click here