by Andrew Gough
The 2011-12 Australian Optimist Championships got underway today in Brisbane with a strong 25-30knot southerly that tested the large fleet of international competitors.
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The younger green fleet sailors were kept ashore this morning, as the conditions went from bad to worse. With consistent rain and the persistent southerly sticking around, the open fleet were sent out to start their racing for the day.
With conditions deteriorating the race committee got all flights away but for only one race.
Finishing in third for the first day was Alastair Gifford from New Zealand in the blue flight. Coming in ahead of Gifford was Alistair Young from Western Australia leading from the start and winning the blue flight.
At the top of the leader board after the first race was Jim Colley from New South Wales winning the first race of the regatta and the day in the pink flight.
The schedule for the rest of the week is racing tomorrow, a lay day on Wednesday and three more days racing including teams racing on the final day.
With 167 boats in the open and green fleet combined, this year's Australian Championships promises to be an exciting one over the coming days.