by Craig Heydon
Defending champions Australian's Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have extended their lead at the top of the table on day one of finals racing at the 2012 49er World Championship in Zadar, Croatia.
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) - 49 World Championship 2012
Outteridge and Jensen went into Thursday’s three races four points ahead of second place but again their consistency in the light conditions paid off, allowing them to extent their lead to 22 points by the end of the day.
'We had a great day on the water, we posted three top 10 results to move further ahead overall,' said Outteridge.
The pair began the day with a second, before an eighth and a six to be 22 points ahead of New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
Thursday’s races were the first time that the top 25 crews had faced off against each other with the competition splitting into gold, silver and bronze fleets.
'We just sailed the same as we always do,' said Outteridge. 'Keep it simple, get a clear start and aim to be in the top 10 at the first mark, then work our way forward from there.
'We have moved out to a nice lead but we still have plenty of racing to go and there are more light winds forecast so it's no easier than it was at the start of the week,' he said. 'We’ll need to be on top of our game again tomorrow to ensure we maintain our lead.'
The Australians are no strangers to leading a 49er World Championship with Outteridge aiming for his fourth world title and Jensen his third.
'Consistency is the key without a doubt,' said Outteridge. 'It's very easy to get a high score especially in finals racing so if we are able to keep inside the 10 in each race we’ll be in good shape come the end of the event.'
Fellow Australians Luke Parkinson and Jaspar Warren are currently 20th overall in the silver fleet after 12 races.
Parkinson and Warren had a mixed day on the water, kicking off with their best result of the regatta so far, a fourth, before being one of six boats to be black flagged for jumping the start in race two and then finishing 25th in race three.
Full results can be found at http://www.49erworlds.org/index.php/overall-results/.