by Craig Heydon
Delta Lloyd Regatta 2011 is the fifth event on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit.
Tom Slingsby - Laser. Delta Lloyd Regatta day 1
Australian sailors have made a positive start to the regatta in Holland, with strong first day performances in all classes.
Competitors were challenged all day by the strong breeze, which spent most of the day above 20 knots, with gusts up towards 30 knots at times.
A number of Australian Sailing Team crews reveled in the heavy breeze, with Laser sailor Tom Slingsby the best positioned, in second overall after the opening two races.
The reigning Laser World Champion and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year finished the day with a third and a race win to be just two points off the lead.
'I made a good start to my regatta with a third and a first, it was definitely my conditions today,' said Slingsby. 'In the first race I was doing well with a nice big lead and I capsized, I was still leading around the bottom mark but couldn’t quite get into phase on the second beat and lost a few positions.
'In the second race I led to the top mark and had learnt from my mistakes from race one and went on to win it from there,' he said. 'After capsizing in race one my boat handling isn’t quite there, so I need to improve that each day, tomorrow it’s going to be a bit lighter which will mix up the points a bit and hopefully I can get through there and build.'
Fellow Australian Sailing Team member Tom Burton also had a strong start in the Laser fleet with a second and a fourth leaving him fourth overall.
'It was surprisingly shifty for how strong the breeze was,' said Burton. 'It was pretty tricky and the heavy breeze always mixes things up in the top bunch, there were a few swims thrown in there as well today.'
2010 470 World Champions and current world number ones Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page are currently in fifth position after opening their regatta with a race win and a seventh.
'It wasn’t too bad of a first day for Mal and I,' said Belcher. 'We had a good first race and won it by a little bit, our speed was quite good in the up and down conditions. In the second race we thought we were over the line early so went back and then managed to fight our way up to seventh, we felt we lost a few opportunities in that one but managed to finish the day with an ok score.'
The pair are currently second placed in the 470 class in the overall ISAF Sailing World Cup standings, following a first, a second, a sixth and a seventh in the opening four rounds.
'It’s good to be back racing after a couple of weeks break,' said Page. 'We felt that we had good speed, it was good to tick that box after trying a few things, developing, playing with things over the last few months.'
In the Women’s Match Racing competition Australian’s Katie Spithill, Jessica Eastwell and Lucinda Whitty ended day one with two wins and one loss in the opening round robin.
'It was a busy day for us today with two wins and one loss,' said skipper Spithill. 'Boat handling was the issue in our loss which was a bit frustrating but we’ve recognised the mistake and are moving on for tomorrow. Every win today was hard work, it was almost survival conditions at times but definitely fine for racing.'
Fellow Australians Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Rayshele Martin had a mixed day in their first ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta together, with one win and three losses.
Both Australian crews will hit the water again on Wednesday morning to complete the opening round robin.
Brendan Casey is currently third overall in the Finn fleet after a sixth and a fourth on day one.
'Today was a positive start to the regatta, overall a pretty consistent day,' said Casey. 'I’m aiming to go out and do the same again tomorrow, the breeze will be lighter which is good, as we want to get an all-round range of conditions by the time we get to Weymouth in a couple of weeks.'
In the 49er fleet Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen are the best placed Australians after the opening three races, sitting 12th overall.
The 2009 World Champions were unlucky to not be leading the regatta after being disqualified from the opening race of the day this evening, having been adjudged to have sailed the incorrect course. Outteridge and Jensen went on to finish third and first in the day’s final two races.
Australian Sailing Squad members also had a good start to the regatta, with Paralympic sailor Matt Bugg the best placed, third overall in the 2.4mR. Bugg, from Tasmania, finished third in both of Tuesday’s races to be four points off the lead.
In the RS:X women’s class Squad member Jessica Crisp is fifth overall following a pair of fourths, with fellow Australian’s Allison Shreeve and Joanna Sterling fourth and 21st respectively.
470 sailors and Squad members Sam Kivell and Will Ryan ended the day ninth after a third and a ninth and Alexander and Patrick Conway are 26th.
Ashley Stoddart is 11th and Gabrielle King is 14th in Laser Radial fleet while in the Laser class Ashley Brunning is 10th, one place ahead of Ryan Palk, with Jared West 28th, including a third in race two, Mark Whittington is 30th, James Burman 31st and Ki-Raphael Sulkowski 32nd.
In the 49er class Squad members Will and Sam Phillips are 16th, ahead of Tom Johnson and Rhys Mara in 24th and Steven Thomas and Nick Brownie are 28th, all suffering the same fate as Outteridge & Jensen in race 1.
Rob McMillan is 17th in the Finn fleet, with Tim Castles 19th, Oliver Tweddell 31st and Shaun Wells 38th. In the RS:X men’s class Jimmy Levy is the best placed Aussie in 26th, with Luke Baillie 29th, Tim Gourlay 39th and Patrick Vos is 55th.
Racing continues in Holland on Wednesday with the regatta finishing on Sunday.
Australian sailors in top 3:
3 AUS 1 11 Matt Bugg 3 3 6
3 AUS 1 20 Brendan Casey 6 4 10
2 AUS 197541 1 Tom Slingsby 3 1 4
Australian Sailing Team website