A stunning day greeted the competitors for the first day of Sail Sydney. With a 12 to 18 knot North Easterly and some short chop on the courses, the sailors all had a rewarding introduction to the regatta.
The new 49er FX class racing on Sydney Harbour
Over 460 boats are now entered showing that sailing is continuing in its popularity after the Australian Sailing Team’s success at the Olympics. Sail Sydney enables competitors from youths to masters to compete alongside Olympians and some of the younger participants’ T-Shirts were adorned with autographs.
Today saw the 49ers, the new 49er FX class, Skuds, 470s, 420s, Lasers, and Finns on the water, with the 29ers and Laser 4.7s joining them tomorrow before the rest of the classes start to race over the weekend.
The 49er FX class for women, new for the 2016 Olympics, featured nine teams in all with four countries represented. London silver medallist Olivia Price skippered her new boat and relished in the conditions, but it was the New Zealand team of Alex Maloney and Molly Meech who came out on top with three wins.
Haylee Outteridge, sister of Nathan, skippered her 49er FX into second place with crew member Alison Dale. 'It was excellent conditions today. A lot of fun and we really learnt a lot.' Outteridge commented. Ella Giudice and Caitlin Elks (Aust) rounded off the top three.
After three races the 49er class sees Luke Parkinson and Rhys Mara (AUST) in the lead with David Gilmour and Nicholas Brownie (AUST) in second, and Peter Kendall (AUST) and crew in third.
The Laser men’s class had over 30 boats on the water today resulting in an ANZ top three of Ashley Bunning, Sam Meech and Tom Burton. Burton, who has just announced that he is to be a team member in Australia’s Youth America’s Cup campaign, had a mixed result and was not able to overcome the consistency of Ashley Brunning’s second place in all three races.
The 470 classes seem to want to make it a family affair with Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan taking the lead with three firsts in the men’s, and Sascha Ryan and Rike Belcher taking the lead in the women's. Sascha of course is Will’s sister whilst Rike, who sailed for Germany at London, is Mat’s wife.
'It was great to be competing on Sydney Harbour. We train here all the time and we are enjoying actually competing here on different parts of the harbour. We are running a 470 camp here over the regatta so it is good to be involved with all the other 470 sailors.' said Mat Belcher
The Skud class is being led by Desiree Lim (SIN) who took out three out of three today. Second place David Staley (AUST) followed the lead with three seconds, with Alan Merry (AUST) making it easy for the scorers with three thirds.
Over fifty Laser Radials were on the harbour for the first day. Ashley Stoddart (AUST) holds first place after three races followed by Anita Smith (AUST) and Caitlin Davies (AUST) in the women's, with Thomas Vincent (AUST), Christopher Anderson (AUST) and Jon Emmett (AUST) the top three in the youth class.
Racing continues on Friday with over twenty five 29ers and over 25 Laser 4.7s joining the fleet. Conditions are expected to be similar to day one so another great day of racing is forecast.
Click here for full results
Sail Sydney website