At the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne 2013 summer arrived for the first day of racing as a hot northerly wind from Australia's outback blasted across the city and onto Port Phillip Bay.
In the early morning the breeze driven by temperatures in the mid to high 30's, gusted to 25 knots but had eased to a more pleasant 15 knots by the start of racing. Being an offshore breeze, the water was flat and conditions were perfect for sailing.
The quest for an 18th consecutive regatta win started well for ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, Mathew Belcher (AUS). The 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist and four times 470 World Champion, with crew Will Ryan, won the first race but stumbled in the second.
2009 World Champions Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) also posted a first and second place in the two races sailed and top the leaderboard tied on points with Belcher and Ryan.
'It's been a great opening day for us,' said Sime Fantela. 'We placed second in the first and the other one we won. In the first race it was gusty to around 15kts and then it dropped to around 8-10kts.
'In the second race we had a really good start, and played the shifts well upwind, the upwind leg was long and it paid to go for the shore. We extended our lead on the second reach after the Australians [Belcher and Ryan] became stuck in the pack. This is our second time in Melbourne, we were here five years ago. It is still the same – we love to be here, the weather is always nice and it is much better than in Croatia now,' he grinned.
The Australian crew of Angus Galloway and Tim Hannah are third overall but are in a group of three who are locked on nine points. Australia's Crawford brothers are in fifth overall, with the Chinese crew of Hao Lan and Chao Wang positioned in fourth overall.
2013 ISAF Youth World Champion in the 420, Carrie Smith (AUS) has teamed up with former Olympic rower, Sarah Cook to compete in the Women's 470 event at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne. Placing first and second in the two races sailed they are three points ahead of a second Australian crew Jacqui Gurr and Amelia Catt.
In third overall are Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao (CHN) just one point ahead of team mates Nan hang and Yixiao Lv. Chen and Gao placed sixth in the first race of the day and then came through in the lighter more challenging conditions to win the second and are only one point behind second overall.
Tall timber populates the Finn class at the top level and 20 year old Jake Lilley (AUS) is no exception. Standing two metres tall he has elevated his height by six centimetres in course of the last sailing season and is deemed a rising talent. Securing two race wins over Bjorn Alansson (SWE) and defending ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne champion, Brendan Casey (AUS) he tops the leaderboard with a perfect score. 'I'm very pleased with today,' Lilley reflected, 'the conditions suited me, downwind is my strength.'
ISAF World 1 Laser sailor Tom Burton (AUS) was impressive with two wins ahead of Ryan Palk (AUS) and Tom Saunders from New Zealand. Just back from the World Championship in Oman, Burton said, 'The emphasis for me is more speed. So it was good sailing today.'
In the Laser Radial, the Sailing World Cup battle that started in Qingdao in October continued with Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) scoring two wins over Dongshuang Zhang (CHN). Drozdovskaya enjoys a handy five point margin at the end of the first day's racing.
2012 regatta winner and London Olympian Krystal Weir (AUS) also sits on 7 points tied with the Chinese sailor, but drops back to third on a countback.
Racing continues on Tuesday, with all Olympic classes competing.
Racing in the Men's and Women's 470, Finn, Laser, Laser Radial and Paralympic events continues on Tuesday 3 December through to Saturday 7 December.
The 49er, 49erFX, Men's and Women's RS:X and Nacra 17 fleets start racing on Tuesday 3 December through to their Medal Races on Sunday 8 December.
The Invited Classes are Laser Radial Men, Laser 4.7, Men and Women's Kiteboard, Viper, 420, 29er, Optimist, OK dinghy, 2.4R, SKUB18, Liberty Access and Cadet Dinghy.
by ISAF Sailing World Cup
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9:52 AM Mon 2 Dec 2013GMT
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2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne
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