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International Optimist Australian Championship - Kiwi shines on Day 1

by Peter Campbell on 8 Jan 2013
George Booth boat 163 (G-Force) sail number AUS825 © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
The International Optimist Australian Championship 2013 completed all three races scheduled on the opening day despite strong and gusty winds. Murrays Bay Yacht Club’s Nick Egnot-Johnson, from New Zealand, outraced a huge fleet of 110 Optimist dinghies to take the early lead after he won the first two heats and placed third in the third on River Derwent.

Egnot-Johnson, from Murrays Bay Yacht Club, won two races and finished third in the third as Sandy Bay Sailing Club finally managed to get the racing under way, despite another day of strong and gusty winds.

Nick Egnot-Johnson's sister, Sophie, is competing as well, she scored a 6th and 9th in the first two races and lies in 37th place overall after six races.

The Optimist, a 2.36m sprit-rigged ‘pram’ dinghy, is the world’s largest sailing class and a total fleet of 189 boats are contesting the open and green divisions on the Derwent.

With such a large entry, the open fleet is split into two, with the young New Zealander turning in the most impressive score of the day while West Australian Annabelle Davies from South of Perth Yacht Club had a win and two seconds.

Third overall after three races is Cameron Gise from Southport Yacht Club in Queensland with 1-2-5 score.

Best placed Tasmanian was Sam King from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania with a 3-3-6 score to be seventh overall, while George Booth from the Tamar Yacht Club is 14th with a score yesterday of 11-10-9.

Chloe Fisher, also from Tamar Yacht Club, also sailed well to be 30th but fourth placed girl in the huge fleet. She placed 14-20-17.



Other northern sailors in the fleet, Jack Waldron is 39th, Tom Booth 48th,, Williams Evans 50th and Ryan Moreton 52nd.

Race officers completed three races for the open division of the Optimists, but they abandoned racing for the green division as the wind gusted up to 40,7 knots with 30 degree wind shifts.

However the open division sailors handled the conditions with aplomb and despite a lot of capsizes only a few rescues were needed for tired youngsters.

With the wind powering down the Derwent by the time the third race was held, only 23 of the 110 boats finished the race within the time limit or retired earlier in the heavy weather.

For full results http://www.sbsc.yachting.org.au/site/yachting/event/45276/default.html!click_here

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