Aussies still lead at Weymouth

The strong performances have continued for the Australian Sailing Team on day two of the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth, England, with three crews leading their fleets.

On a day where wind gusts of upwards of 25 knots played havoc with racing, Laser sailor Tom Slingsby, 470 men's crew Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page and 49er pair Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen are all in first position in their respective fleets.

Slingsby continues to leave the rest of the Laser fleet in his wake, winning both of Tuesday's races to open up a six point lead after four races.

“So far all has been going well, the conditions have been really good for me,” said Slingsby. “I've had my favourite conditions the whole time but I'm well aware that the regatta is far from done yet.”

“Today was really windy with a lot of big bullet gusts, I'd say some of the gusts were up to 30 knots. Once again there were big shifts out there, I was just lucky that I was on the right side of them today,” he said.

In the 470 men's fleet Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page picked up where they left off from the first day, winning the opening race before coming home second to be in first overall by four points.

“It was pretty similar to yesterday out there, the shifts weren't as exaggerated but the pressure mean was higher,” said Page. “Due to our results so far there was no reason to be extreme so we played the averages.”

“Though we're not focusing on results here, the goal is to continue working as a team and learning as much as possible about Weymouth.”

“Going into this regatta we've had more time together as a team and we're seeing the difference immediately, we only had five days training before the worlds and we payed the price, the two weeks since then has made a major difference,” he said.

The heavy wind saw a number of postponements with the 49er, Sonar, 2.4m and Skud fleets all remaining on shore all day, leaving Outteridge and Jensen with a seven point lead in the 49er class.

In the 2.4m fleet Rachael Cox is in 13th, ahead of Duncan MacGregor who will be hoping to finally get some racing in on Wednesday after repairs to his boat were completed. Colin Harrison, Barry Astwood and Russell Boaden are eighth in the Sonar class.

2008 Beijing Olympic Games Gold medallists Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson had a better day in the 470 women's fleet, working there way up to 21st with an eighth and 16th.

Jessica Crisp is also on the move in the RS:X women's class, with a tenth and sixth moving her up to sixth overall.

Australian Sailing Development Squad Finn sailor James Patterson continued his learning curve in his first overseas regatta and is in 33rd overall.

The two ASDS Women's Match Racing crews skippered by Katie Spithill and Lucinda Whitty remain in the hunt for a place in the quarterfinals and are gaining valuable experience aboard the new Elliott 6's.

Laser sailor James Burman moved up to 35th overall while fellow Australian Sean Bly is in 84th.

Racing continues on Wednesday with the medal races to be held on Saturday 19 September.

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– Craig heydon

M.O.S.S Australia
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