Belcher and Page start well at Sail Melbourne

Day one of racing at the 2009 Sail Melbourne regatta is complete with a strong breeze and big waves providing perfect racing conditions for the opening round of the 2009/2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup.

2008 Beijing Olympic Games Gold medalist Malcolm Page and skipper Mathew Belcher led the 470 men's fleet from start to finish, recording two wins to open the regatta.

“For the first day of a regatta it was a pretty good one for us,” said Page. “We were in front throughout both races and we didn't get crossed all day which is always a good sign.”

“We made a few basic errors with our crew work but we can't complain too much after winning two from two,” said Page.

The pair won the 470 men's class at Sail Melbourne in 2008, their first regatta together, and will be looking to continue their good run on Port Phillip Bay this week.

“The conditions were nice today, wind in the high teens and big waves, typical Melbourne stuff,” said Belcher. “It was certainly nice when you get it right, making sailing downwind easy.”

American's Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl are second with Singaporeans Roy Tay and Terence Koh third. In the 470 women's fleet New Zealanders Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie lead with two wins ahead of Australians Stacey Hall and Chelsea Omay with Dawn Liu and Siobhan Tam third.

Local sailors Will and Sam Phillips are leading the way in the 49er fleet after the opening three races. The Phillips brothers won the day's first race, following up with two seconds to finish the day with a two point lead over New Zealanders Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

Reigning World and Australian 49er Champions, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen sit in third position, four points of the lead after a second, first and sixth.

Racing was fierce throughout the small but competitive fleet, demonstrated with the top three crews each having a race victory.

In the Finn class South Australian James Paterson and Great Britain sailor Henry Bagnall shared the honours, with a race win and second placing each, ahead of Warwick Hill in third.

Canadian sailor Michael Leigh is first in the Laser class, just one point clear of German Malte Kamrath with New South Welshman James Burman six points back in third position. The Laser fleet has a definite international feel with the top ten featuring sailors from seven nations.

In the Laser Radial women's fleet Paige Railey is first, with a win and a second placing, ahead of German Franziska Goltz and Dutch sailor Marit Bouwmeester. Laura Baldwin is the best placed Australian in fifth place, ahead of Alex South in ninth.

Seng Leong Koh is first in the Laser Radial men's class, with New Zealander Josh Porebski second and Mark Whittington and Elliott Noye tied for third.

Three time Olympian Jessica Crisp started her regatta in the best possible fashion, winning the opening two RS:X women's races to lead the fleet, ahead of Jannicke Stalstrom and Angeliki Skarlatou. Columbian Nicolas Lozano also had two places in the RS:X men's class, with Singaporean Leonard Ong second and Queenslander Joel Tyack third.

Peter Thompson leads the way in the 2.4m fleet, winning the opening two races, ahead of 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games Gold medalists, Canadian Paul Tingley, who finished behind Thompson in each race.

Father and son team Peter and Duncan Macgregor had a perfect day aboard their Skud 18, winning both races to sit on top of the ladder ahead of Krista Bailey and Michael Lewenhagen, with New Zealanders Tim Dempsey and Paulien Eitjes in third.

Victorians James Sly and Andrew Gillies are tied for the lead with Byron White and Thomas Koerner in the 29er class with Adam Lahey and Troy Rushton third.

In the Laser 4.7 fleet Queenslander Josh Franklin is first, ahead of local sailor Lloyd Collings with Ella Evans third.

George Davies and Timothy Hannah are first in the 420 class, ending the day with a first and a second, with Angus Galloway and Andrew Gough second and William Llewelyn and Lewis Duncan third.

Racing continues on Tuesday, beginning at 12pm, with the ISAF Sailing World Cup Dinner to be held at Sandringham Yacht Club tomorrow evening.


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