Australian Optimist National Championship 2012 fourth day of racing got underway at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly. Australian Jack Graves has moved into first overall.
The breeze was building through the day from ten knots when they hit the water at ten this morning to 18 when they came back to shore at three this afternoon. There were a lot of capsizes with a south easterly creating short choppy waves.
'Today I just tried to be conservative but took a few risks as well because I could afford it,' said Jack. 'I’m feeling pretty confident for tomorrow because I have a pretty good lead so I will hopefully maintain that.' Jack is two points ahead of New Zealander Alastair Gifford in second and 18 points ahead of the next Australian Kyle O'Connell in fourth.
Kyle had a frustrating day after he led the first race by a long way before capsizing to finishing seventh and leading another race only to pick the wrong side of a work to finish sixth. 'I just have to forget about that and keep going. I just want to finish in the top five but a podium finish would be a bonus,' Kyle said.
The top five Australian boats in Open Fleet will qualify for the next world championship in July this year in the Dominican Republic.
After five races on day four of the regatta, the New Zealanders continue to dominate with four of the top eight spots occupied by Kiwis. Alastair is really pleased to be beating the Australians in the fleet and is confident his strong sailing will continue for the rest of the regatta. 'I had a really good day when the wind picked up,' Gifford said. 'I just need to keep going how I am and I should be good.'
In the Green Fleet, Shannon Dalton has maintained a significant lead with two wins and a second. Shannon says she doesn’t know why she is winning but she is having a lot of fun which is one of the main goals of Green Fleet. Shannon, on seven points, is followed by her friend from WA Ezra Kaye in second with 21 points and Brandon Demura in third on 28 points.
The Green Fleet has been an excellent opportunity for the younger kid to try regatta sailing. One of the youngest competitors, seven-year-old Ben Hinks, was in tears after the first day of racing in his first regatta after capsizing. Dad Martin says Ben has been improving in skill and confidence every day.
'The next day we got him out there and the first race he wanted to come back in,' Martin Hinks said. 'We let him watch the first race out there and when he saw the other boats having fun he got back into it and he’s finished every race after that. He’s finishing down the back but he’s having fun.'
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