The race for class victories in the 2009 Sail Down Under Series is heating up with just one regatta left to run and all the fleets still in the balance.
For the first time trophies will be awarded to first, second and third places, overall, from the combined results of the three Sail Down Under Series regattas, Sail Brisbane, Sail Sydney and next week's Sail Melbourne. Competitors are awarded points from first to tenth positions, with first place receiving ten points, second receiving nine through to one point for tenth place. The competitor with the highest point score after the three regattas will be the class winner.
The first two rounds have featured great racing throughout the fleets and as the crews head south for the final hit out, and the first round of the 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup, more action is certain to follow.
Prizes will be awarded in the 470 men and women's classes, Laser, Laser Radial, RS:X men and women, 49er and Finn classes, with results from all three regattas combining to decide the inaugural Sail Down Under champions.
Australian Sailing Development Squad crew Sam Kivell and Will Ryan have a six point lead in the 470 men's class, following their first place at Sail Brisbane and second this week at Sail Sydney. Second place is currently a tie between Alexander and Patrick Conway and Matthew and Robert Conway.
In the 470 women's class Aurora Paterson and Michal Hughes lead the way on 15 points, five clear of ASDS crew Stacey Hall and Chelsea Omay who have a 100 per cent record in the series to date, with one win from one start at Sail Sydney. New Zealanders Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie are one point behind the West Australians in third place.
There is a three-way tie for the lead in the Laser class with Australian Sailing Team member and dual Laser World Champion Tom Slingsby, ASDS sailor Ashley Brunning and Chilean Matias Del Solar Go all on ten points. Brunning and Slingsby tasted victory in Brisbane and Sydney respectively while their Chilean counterpart has been rewarded for his consistency so far.
Irish sailor Annalise Murphy and 2004 Athens Olympic Games representative for Great Britain, Laura Baldwin, are tied for first in the Laser Radial class, both on 19 points, with Megan de Lange in third. With Murphy and Baldwin both headed for Melbourne, and neck and neck throughout the series so far, the Laser Radial class will go right down to the wire.
Reigning 49er World Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen currently lead the 49er class, and after the 49er fleet was absent at Sail Brisbane it's going to be a tight finish with Outteridge and Jensen closely followed by Kiwis Peter Burling and Blair Tuke and Australian crew Euan McNicol and Tim Austin.
2008 Beijing Olympic Games representative Jessica Crisp is tied for first in the RS:X class with 2009 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Sailing Team member Joanna Sterling, after the pair had a regatta victory each, with Japanese competitor Yasuko Kosuge just a point behind in third.
Luke Baille leads the fleet in the RS:X men's class after victory at Sail Brisbane and a second place at Sail Sydney, fellow Queenslander Joel Tyack is second and Leonard Ong from Singapore is third.
Brendan Casey has had two wins from two starts in the Finn class to sit on a perfect 20 points, six clear of the UK's Henry Bagnall with three time Olympian Anthony Nossiter in third.