by Clare Murray
Australian Laser National Championship 2012, hosted by Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (RQYS), is being held from 27 December 2011 to 4 January 2012. Ashley Brunning won both full rig heats on the first day of racing.
Day one, Radial Start - Australian Laser Championship 2012
The conditions on Waterloo Bay were choppy with a south easterly wind averaging 18 to 20 knots, gusting up to 25.
'Conditions were really good today. It was a pretty steady gradient breeze but there were a few shifts that got thrown in there which surprised me,' said Brunning. 'It felt like I had good speed coming out of the worlds. I was pretty confident and I got two wins today which was great.'
Brunning, who placed seventh overall at the ISAF Worlds in Perth before Christmas, is still recovering from an ongoing back injury.
'I’m still in a back brace. I’m interested to see how I go in terms of my overall endurance at this event.'
Tom Burton, one of Australia’s representatives in the Laser class in the London Olympics also did well, placing second and sixth in today’s races leaving him in fourth place overall.
In the radials, Australian Olympic representative Krystal Weir had a strong start to the regatta with two second places.
Weir said she was motivated by her fellow Australian Sailing Team competitors in the radial fleet. 'The boys are really pushing me. This is good practice leading into the ISAF World Cup overseas.'
The Victorian is feeling confident after placing 19th at the ISAF Worlds. 'I’ve definitely got speed. I just need to make less mistakes than the other guys and I’ll be fine.'
Some of the 4.7 competitors struggled in the heavier conditions with one broken mast on the start line of the first race and several capsizes. Megan Darby from Lake Macquarie in NSW and Jack Felsenthal from Melbourne each won a heat and placed third. The two are now tied in overall standings.
When asked how she felt about the predictions for similar conditions for the rest of the week Darby replied, 'My legs are sore already so let’s just hope they get better overnight!'