Racing got away a little late in all classes today at the Sail Sydney regatta on Sydney Harbour, but it was worth the wait as competitors raced in ideal north-easterly winds and all but the lightest of crews appreciating typical Sydney summer conditions.
Away just before 11.00am, the Laser fleet contested two races. Yesterday's top two overall, Mike Leigh (CAN) and last year's third placegetter, Daniel Mihelic (CRO) have switched places, with Mihelic now in the No. 1 spot and Tom Slingsby (AUS) having a much better day to claim third place overall with a pair of fourth places.
“I could have done better,” Slingsby conceded. “At least I was better than yesterday – I was making gains all day.”
New Zealand sailors are making big inroads in the Laser; Sam Meech has moved up to fourth place, Andy Maloney has dropped from third to sixth overall, and Youth sailor, Josh Junior, who won a match racing championship on Sydney Harbour last week, is seventh. Andrew Murdoch, who finished fifth at the Beijing Games, is in ninth overall with five races away.
“I had an alright sort of day – I took a year off after the Games, so I've not been sailing as well this week,” commented Murdoch, who went on to say, “there's a lot of depth in the New Zealand team right now, this next Olympic cycle will be interesting.”
Andy Maloney agreed: “We've got good support from Yachting New Zealand, so there's a few of us here and we're pretty close in performance. My big thing here is to practice my starts. It helps having a few Olympians in the fleet – good to practice against.”
The 19 year-old who was born in California, but moved to NZ “seven or eight years ago,” would not be drawn on who is the best of the younger Kiwis, although he did concede that Josh Junior is worth keeping an eye on. “He's maybe got a bit of an edge.”
The 49ers were also first up this morning and world championship crew, Nathan Outteridge/Iain Jensen have taken the lead after winning all three races today. “It was closer than the results show; we had really close racing,” Outteridge said.
“It's good to have such good competition from the other Aussies; Euan (McNicol and Tim Austin, NSW), the three Perth teams and Will and Sam (Phillips) from Victoria.”
Outteridge, who represented Australia at the Beijing Games, had a heart-stopping moment when a capsized 29er put their mast through Outteridge's sail when they recovered, tearing a one and half centimetre piece in the sail. Even with the tear, he managed to win the next two races.
Yesterday's leaders, Peter Burling/Blair Tuke (NZL) are now second placed, keeping their chances alive at the top of the board with 2-4-3 results.
The young Victorian Phillips brothers are currently third overall with McNicol/Austin fourth. McNicol commenting after racing: “it was a bit of a pure speed track out there today.”
In the RS:X sailboards, 2008 Olympian Yasuko Kosuge (JPN) is giving the rest of the fleet something to think about. “I haven't done much since the Olympics; I've just started training again in the last month,” the tiny 52 kilo sailor said this afternoon.
Kosuge has not strayed outside a top three finish so far and despite her small frame, revelled in the 12-15 knot nor-easter earlier in the day. “I like the conditions so far. Up to 15 is good for me. I like the shifts and gusts here – I don't like straight speed sailing – this is nice and tactical, how I like it,” Kosuge confessed.
“I am very happy to do so well here before I go to Sail Melbourne next week,” said Kosuge who is hoping to rack up some ISAF Sailing World Cup points in Melbourne.
Triple Olympian Jessica Crisp's 2-1-4 finishes today move her up into second overall. The Australian sailboarder is rejuvenating courtesy of new coach Sean O'Brien, an ex pro-formula one sailor. “Sean's helping me with my high-wind stuff and I'm better already after only a couple of sessions,” Crisp enthused.
“I enjoyed the typical Harbour stuff today – you know – the typical sea breeze with ferries everywhere,” she laughed.
Annalise Murphy (IRE) has taken the lead in the Women's Laser Radial and is third overall in the Open. Australian Youth sailor, Alex South is second in the Women's sailing on her home turf, while Victorian mother, Megan De Lange, is third in the Women's.
The 31 year-old gave birth to her first child, daughter Taylor, just six months ago, and is thrilled at how her fitness is building and that she is competitive against international competition and the top Youth sailors from around the country.
“I'm keeping fairly consistent – I can't complain about my results – I'm just getting fit again after having a baby. Yesterday I was absolutely stoked with my results, I got a second overall in the second race,” said De Lange who is coached by Australian Olympian Sarah Blanck.
“Sarah's been fantastic; she's been in my shoes, so she knows exactly what I'm going through. My mum and partner have been very supportive too.”
Sail Sydney is hosted by Woollahra Sailing Club with assistance from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club.
Racing continues from 10.00am on Monday morning.
– Di Pearson, Sail Sydney Media