Congestion at the bottom mark - Day 3 - 2011 Toyota Optimist Nationals
The points table has had a shakeup on the third day of the 2011 Toyota Optimist Nationals being sailed at Auckland's Wakatere Boating Club on the city's North Shore.
Due to light and inconsistent winds on the first day of racing, none of the three scheduled races were able to be sailed, but today four were completed allowing a discard to come into effect - helping some sailor's pointscores and allowing them to see off some early series indiscretions.
Today for the the second full day of racing three more races were to have been sailed, but organisers squeezed in a fourth, and the expectation is that three, maybe four will be possible tomorrow.
That means that organisers are unlikely to catch up all the lost races, but should go very close.
The schedule is tight on the final day of the regatta - compounded by the fact that Monday, doubles as ANZAC Day and there will be no racing until noon, when two races are scheduled to been sailed. However light winds are forecast for Monday and with the fast running tide, organisers also have a stipulation against them that no racing can be started after 3.00pm.
But all going well tomorrow it should be possible to sail four races, and that will get the contest up to 11 sailed of the 14 in the series.
At this juncture a minimum five races series has been sailed, and at the conclusion of racing today, a discard place came into effect after six races were sailed. The day finished with seven races completed after three days of racing.
That discard place has tightened the top of the points table as a number of favourite sailors are able to drop a premature starting penalty score from the first race. But several stumbled in the final two races today including pre-series favourite Markus Sommerville (Wakater) who placed 17th in the third race of the day, slowing his rise up the points table and placing him 15 points adrift of a top five place necessary to secure a spot in the 2011 Worlds Team.
The focus for the New Zealanders is on places in the 2011 World Championships as well as the national title.
Today Tauranga's Issac McHardie put up his hand for the national title moving to be five pints clear of the second placed sailor, Tim Adair, sailing out of the host club, Wakatere, with two races sailed today. But a premature start cost him dearly, picking up maximum points and allowing Leonard Takahashi-Fry from up the coats at Murray's Bay to take over the series lead. Both sailors won their final race today. Yesterday's race leader, Chris Charlwood, the top Australian competitor is now fifth overall, being unable to repeat his hat-trick of second placings yesterday.
Racing is being held in the centre of the Rangitoto Channel, which while subject to strong tide, the flow is even over the course, and there seemed to be little point in 'banging the corner' meaning that playing the wind rather than the tide yielded the dividend.
Over three hundred sailors from five Oceania countries are competing in the championships, which are a preliminary to the 2011 World Championships to be staged in Napier late this year.
For full results in the Open Fleet http://www.wakatere.org.nz/Results/2011%20OptiNats/OptiNtsOpn.html!click_here and in the Green Fleet http://www.wakatere.org.nz/Results/2011%20OptiNats/OptiNtsGrn.html!click_here