Fickle conditions for racing at Australian Optimist Championships
by Andrew Gough on 18 Jan 2012
Racing got underway today at the Australian Optimist Championships in a light five to eight knot breeze on Moreton Bay, Queensland.
Tight racing at the front - www.andrewgoughphotography.com - Australian Optimist Championships Andrew Gough - copyright http://www.andrewgoughphotography.com
The race committee managed five back to back races that the four different flights battled through.
Punching into a small chop the 119 strong open fleet was lead from race one by Queensland Sailing Team member Kyle O'Connell who showed dominant speed and tactical skill in the shifty conditions.
Leading from the start of the first race O' Connell led around the top mark and went onto to defeat international competitor Ka Ho Sze from Hong Kong across the line.
Coming into the final races of the day O' Connell stayed consistent with a third and two first to finish the racing ahead.
In second overall after the six heats is Jack Graves from Victoria. Graces won the final race of the day in the yellow flight ahead of Hong Kong young gun Ho Yin Chik.
Sitting neatly in third is Alastair Gifford from New Zealand who hasn't slipped out of the top six since day one.
North Sails representative and Optimist coach Dave O'Connor from Sydney commented on the days tricky conditions. ' You had to fight for your lane and focus on your boat positioning today, it was fickle and tricky today'.
The tight racing in the open fleet leaves no room for errors in the young sailors tactics.
Closer to shore the younger green fleet sailors racked up, a 47 strong fleet of budding sailors, keen to race sailors from every state in Australia.
Leading overall after five races is Western Australian sailor Shannon Dalton who has a near perfect score card of a four firsts and a second. Following closely in second is Brandon Demura from Victoria who has a narrow lead over third placed Western Australian sailor Ezra Kaye.
With more breeze predicted tomorrow the racing will be even closer at the top.