Top crews move further ahead at Sail Melbourne

What a difference a day makes. After the strong breeze and heavy seas of day one, today was a completely different picture at Sail Melbourne with light winds and very little swell dictating play.

For the 49er fleet the light conditions were a welcome change, with the majority of the fleet in final preparations for the 2010 49er World Championship in the Bahamas in two weeks where light, shifty conditions are expected.

Current 49er World Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen jumped two spots from day one and lead the regatta after six races. The Australian Sailing Team pair finished with two seconds and a first to take a slender one point lead over New Zealanders Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, while day one leaders Will and Sam Phillips are now third.

“It was very light out there today and pretty shifty, but the shifts lasted a little while so it was pretty predictable,” said Jensen. “We haven't had much light weather sailing recently so it was good to get out there and see how we stack up against the rest of the fleet.”

For Kiwis Burling and Tuke the light conditions are ideal for a final tune up before the World Championships.

“Today was a bit more like the Bahamas, lighter, with fairly flat water which was good,” said Burling. “It was really close in all the races today, around the top mark there was never anything in it, you had to fight for every spot.”

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page continue their perfect run in the 470 men's class, winning today's two races to go with yesterday's two, opening up a seven point lead over Americans Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl with Shane Hughes and Felix Paterson third.

In the 470 women's fleet Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie also lead with a 100 per cent record, with Stacey Omay and Chelsea Hall second and Dawn Liu and Siobhan Tam third.

American Clayton Johnson had a perfect day on the water, recording two wins to take the overall lead. Overnight leader Michael Leigh is now second after a third and a tenth with German Malte Kamrath third.

“It was great out there for me today,” said Johnson. “The left was certainly favoured but the committee kept skewering the beats so it was tricky to way up the risks and rewards and make a decision.”

“There's still lots of racing to go so I'll try and keep getting good starts, get in with the lead guys and pick up some good scores,” he said.

In the Laser Radial women's class American Paige Railey leads the fleet, two points clear of Dutch sailor Marit Bouwmeester with German Franziska Goltz third. Railey had her work cut out for her after being given a three point penalty for not having the correct markings on her sail.

“It was a rookie error from me today,” said Railey. “I didn't put the rhombus sticker on my sail and had to drop three points which was pretty frustrating. But out on the water it was another good day with a first and a second, the left was favoured all day.”

“The wind is supposed to really pick up tomorrow which will make it pretty tough, we'll see how my 62kg handles it,” she said.

Singaporean Seng Leong Koh is first in the Laser Radial men's, with Elliott Noye second and Tristan Brown third.

Jessica Crisp continues to lead the RS:X women's class, picking up a first and second, with second placed Jannicke Stalstrom having a first and a fourth while Greek athlete Angeliki Skarlatou third.

In the RS:X men's Leonard Ong leads from Columbian Nicolas Lozana second and West Australian Tim Gourlay is third, winning both of today's races.

Australian Sailing Development Squad athlete James Paterson won both of the day's Finn races, and now has a seven point lead over Warwick Hill with Henry Bagnall third.

2008 Beijing Paralympic Games Gold medalist, Canadian Paul Tingley, has taken the lead in the 2.4m class, his first and fifth placings giving him a three point lead over Peter Russell and Michael Leydon. Day one leader, Peter Thompson, wasn't able to repeat his two previous race wins and finished the day in fourth after finishing seventh and sixth today.

Queenslanders Duncan and Peter Macgregor continue to lead the Skud 18 fleet, recording a win and a second to open up a healthy six point margin over Krista Bailey and Michael Lewenhagen, with New Zealanders Tim Dempsey and Paulien Eitjes third.

Local sailors Lloyd and Stephen Collings are first and second respectively in the Laser 4.7 class after four races, with Timothy Narborough third.

George Davies and Timothy Hannah are first in the 420 class, ahead of Angus Golloway and Andrew Gough in second and William Llewelyn and Lewis Duncan third.

Byron White and Thomas Koerner have taken the lead in the 29er class, with their first and second place finishes today enough to put them four points ahead of overnight leaders James Sly and Andrew Gillies with Queenslanders Adam Lahey and Troy Rushton a further five points back in third.

– Craig Heydon, YA Media


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