International Optimist Australian Championships 2011 day one

Tyrone Gowans 'Tyrone's Tub' from Mornington leads the pink fleet on the downwind leg, he sits inside the Top 10 - 2011 International Optimist Australian & Open Championship
Damian Devine
2011 Optimist titles - Four races were completed today, the first day of the 2011 International Optimist Australian and Open Championships hosted by the RPAYC with Nia Jerwood from the Fremantle YC and the RQYS’s Charlie Wyatt leading the pack in the Open fleet whilst in the green, novice fleet a good start to the regatta today for Lachlan Dare ‘Flirt’ and Callum Green ‘Voracious’ who lead.

After days of preparation and measurement, there was an air of excitement as Pittwater turned on a great day for the 170 strong fleet, who left in procession from the Moonbar boat ramp bound for the course for the day’s racing this morning.

The Open Fleet leader after Day One Nia Jerwood 'Bucca Nia' chasing the leaders on the downwind run in Race Two. - 2011 International Optimist Australian & Open Championship
Damian Devine

The bustling carpark of yesterday was left in quiet contrast as the fleet mustered in two ponds in Pittwater, the little pond to the South of Scotland Island for the Green fleet and the big pond to the North of Scotland Island for the Open fleet.

Winds from the East North East of 8-10 knots greeted the fleet on the course in overcast conditions for the four flights of the first two races in the Open fleet. The third race saw the breeze peak at 14 knots before it settled back to eight-10 knots for the final race which concluded around 1730hrs, ending a long day on the water for all.

Those sailors who were able to keep their boats in clear air and moving were rewarded in the reasonably light conditions. The bulk of the fleet opted for a lane down the middle of the course for the downhill run to the bottom gate with the right hand side of the course favoured for the beat back up to the top mark with plenty of tacking and reaching the order of the day.

With a staggering 170 boats on the course it was a busy day for the Race Officials, keeping a watchful eye on all competitors. PRO Ted Anderson said on completing four races, 'With the conditions favourable today we thought it made sense to get something in the bank. We were within a minute or two of our 45 minute target times, so it was a pretty tight schedule. We had numerous general recalls in flight A of Race three and a few OCS’s but, all in all, it was a good day’s racing.'

The Open Fleets pink and white groups coming to the bottom gate - 2011 International Optimist Australian & Open Championship
Damian Devine

In the 111 strong Open fleet, broken into four groups of white, pink, blue and yellow, with two groups sailing off one another in various flights in a round robin style. Nia Jerwood from Fremantle YC in her boat ‘Bucca Nia’ sailing in the yellow fleet emerged the early leader with a fantastic performance to finish Day One on 12 points, after her excellent 3-1-7-1 results today, the only sailor to knock up two wins. She is four points clear of Charlie Wyatt from the RQYS ‘Pegasus’ sailing in the pink fleet who finished the day on 16 points who sailed consistently in the top six.

Zac O’Connell from the Sandringham YC (yellow fleet) is in third on 20 points whilst another Victorian, Black Rock’s James McLennan ‘Slam’ (pink fleet) finished his day on 22 points.

The best of the local sailors was RPAYC’s Xavier Winston –Smith and his boat ‘The X-Factor’ who finished the day on 37 points coming back from a 23rd in his first race to post a 7-2-5 run home in the final race.

However, there is nothing separating the top 10-12 placings and with two drops to come into to play at the end of the 12 races it, it is still anybody’s title.

For the 59 strong Green fleet, there was a plethora of coach boats and spectator fleet chaperoning the younger, novice sailors. 'The fleet improved greatly over the course of the day, they really enjoyed themselves,' commented Race Officer and RPAYC’s Rear Commodore Pru Bennett who kept a keen eye on all competitors.

Lachlan Dare from the Sandringham Yacht Club in Victoria in his boat ‘Flirt’ took Day One honours rewarded for a consistent 3-7-2-2 result to finish on top of the leader board on 14 points. Behind him was Callum Green from Fremantle Yacht Club sailing ‘Voracious’ who finished on 17 points. Callum actually finished with two firsts in the four races today but also had an eighth in the final race and a two point penalty for being OCS in race Two where he was received 7 points. In third spot is young Finn Hartnett ‘Coyote’ also from Victoria’s Sandringham YC who is hot on the leader’s heels on 22 points.

The highest placed female and New South Welshman is Margot Mason ‘The Pod’ from Avalon SC who finished day one on 28 points.

With the largest Optimist regatta ever hosted in Australia, racing continues tomorrow at 1000hrs with another four races aiming to be completed. The BOM forecast is for Northeasterly 15 to 20 knots increasing to 20 to 25 knots around midday. Should be another great day’s racing.

'Hakuna Matata' means no worries, young Josh Hinks is a picture of concentration in the Green Fleet. - 2011 International Optimist Australian & Open Championship
Damian Devine

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All the day’s results can be viewed online at here