Internationals put pressure on the locals as southerly buster hits Optimist Nationals

The 220-plus fleet of Optimists hit the water yesterday with light and pleasant conditions for the first day of championship racing, however in the back of their mind was the chance of a strong southerly change that could come up the bay and cause havoc.

All fleets managed to get one race in, while the international competitors put pressure on the Australians taking out both wins in the two open fleets.

Zou Schemmel from France took the win in the orange fleet with Rocco Wright from Ireland taking the win in the pink fleet.

Murray Duthie from WA took the first win in the intermediate fleet as 76 boats battled out in testing conditions, but once sailors were ashore there were plenty of smiles amongst the boat park.

Green fleet coach Sarah Short was on course helping the novice sailors and said the green fleet racing had a strong focus on fun.

The green fleet managed to get some pristine sailing just outside the marina of the club with conditions perfect for some of the sailors first regattas.

“Green fleet racing is all about having fun and we (as coaches) are here to help out with that,” she said. “For a lot of the kids this is their first major regatta and we just want to make sure they are having fun and getting involved in racing.

Host club the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria has managed the event spectacularly, launching all 223 boats within an hour. And when boats have returned to shore, Royals has orchestrated the recovery and retrieval like clockwork, a testament to the volunteers on the ground and the club management.

With a forecasted 10 to 15-knot southerly breeze today, conditions are looking superb for racing, which will see the Race Committee make up for only one race yesterday and get back on schedule.

Sailors can expect a wide array of conditions as the southerly breeze increases throughout the day.

To see results from the event, head to >>>

 – Liam Edleston

Selden Asymetric Rib Technology
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