by Craig Heydon
At the ISAF Sailing World Cup - Sail Melbourne, following days of strong winds, crews were greeted by light conditions on day four. The 49erFX and 49er fleets were first in action on Thursday after missing two days due to the strong winds.
Olivia Price & James Sly (AUS) 49erFX class Oceanic Leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup 2012
In shifty conditions the classes completed four races, with Tessa Parkinson and Kate Lathouras second in the 49erFX, ahead on a count back from fellow Australians Olivia Price and James Sly. New Zealand’s Alex Maloney and Molly Meech lead the fleet.
Price and Sly picked up their first win of the regatta in the opening race of the day, in their first regatta together.
'I’m having so much fun in the 49erFX,' said London 2012 silver medallist Price. 'Today was a real mix of conditions, we had two good races at first when the wind was up and then when it died off a bit we were a little further back in the fleet.
'It’s such a different boat to what I’m used to and I’ve still got a lot to learn but at this stage I’m taking it all in as it comes,' she said. 'I’m quite a competitive person and I definitely don’t like to lose too many races. It’s really good to get out there and race against everyone who’s going to be competing for the next little while.'
In the 49er class Steven Thomas and Rhys Mara continue to lead, ahead of Luke Parkinson and Jaspar Warren, with Will Phillips and Nick Brownie third.
The breeze continued to lessen as the day progressed, with it very light and tricky by the time the remainder of the fleets hit the water.
In the Laser fleet Australian Sailing Team member Tom Burton has taken the lead after a pair of wins. Burton is now one point ahead of West Australian Matthew Wearn with Jared West third overall.
Krystal Weir has opened up a 13 point gap at the front of the Laser Radial class following two second places. Singapore’s Elizabeth Yin is second with Ashley Stoddart third.
Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan’s winning run continues in the 470 men’s class, with six wins from as many starts.
Due to the light winds the 470 men and women only managed one race, with the win giving Belcher and Ryan a nine point lead over the second placed South African team.
'It was a bit unfortunate not to have more than one race today but we sailed well and are happy with the day,' said Belcher. 'Six wins is a good way to start, obviously post Games it’s a lot about motivation and we’re pretty motivated having just teamed up and are in the middle of the honeymoon phase.
'We’ve just been focusing on the process as we’ve only been in the boat together for a week but it was really pleasing today to have the other spectrum of the breeze and focus on that.'
In the 470 women’s fleet Sasha and Jaime Ryan continue to lead the way having won five of the six races with Lucy Shephard and Aurora Paterson second.
After sitting out Wednesday’s races due to the strong breeze and big swell new combination Elise Rechichi and Sarah Cook got back into the swing of things with a second place finish in the day’s only race, leaving them third overall.
Brendan Casey’s winning run came to an end in the Finn class but the Queenslander continues to lead by five points.
Casey was fifth in the one race completed on Thursday, with Oliver Tweddell taking the win, moving him into outright second. Jake Lilley is three points further behind in third.
Luke Baillie is first overall in the RS:X men’s class, with Patrick Vos second and Sam Treharne third.
Racing continues on Port Phillip Bay on Friday before the final double-point medal races on Saturday.
Australian Sailing Team website
Sail Melbourne website