Conditions on Auckland harbour were less than obliging for the competitors on Day 3 of Oceanbridge Sail Auckland, allowing only six of the fifteen classes to get on the water.
Three races were sailed by the Lasers, Laser Radials, 470, 420, Finn, while the kiteboards sailed four in winds of 20 knots gusting to 30.
'It was pretty choppy and on some of the downwinds we were just out of control really, it was fresh!' reports Josh Junior, leader of the Finn Fleet. 'In the third race, I was having an epic race with Matt Coutts, and then wiped out on the last bottom mark'.
Junior managed to recover and finish the race third, so Matt became the first to take a race win off Josh so far this regatta. Coutts and Andrew Murdoch have just one point between them after Murdoch again carded three second place finishes.
'Me and Doc (Murdoch) are having a pretty good battle' says Coutts after coming ashore 'I think we’re on similar points too, so I gotta have a good day tomorrow.'
Coutts continues, 'The heavier you can be in that stuff the better. Josh is sailing pretty well; it’s hard to beat him!'
There were capsizes a plenty today, even the likes of Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, and the NZL Sailing Team Men’s Olympic 470 sailor Paul Snow Hansen went for a swim. Gear breakage from that capsize in the second race forced Paul and crew Chris Dawson to retire from the last two races of the day, and the Korean 470 team Kyoung Duk Kim and Ji Won Kang suffered a similar fate; a ripped jib prevented them from finishing any of the three races.
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie still maintain their nine point lead over Aucklanders James Turner and Carl Evans, while Paul Snow Hansen and Chris Dawson sit just behind in third.
Christchurch 420 regatta leaders Taylor Balogh and Samuel Lee struggled to find their feet this morning, but quickly got back ahead of pace to win the subsequent two races. They now have a nine point lead on the second placed Napier girls Olivia Mackay and Abby Goodwin.
Local Kohimarama Yacht Club 420 team William Linkhorn and Alex Wotton sailed their best day of the regatta so far, winning the first race and following up with a pair of seconds. They are in third place overall, just one point adrift of MacKay and Goodwin.
Another Kohimarama local, Laser Radial sailor Andrew Mckenzie was on fire in the big winds; he won every race today and has increased his lead to six points over Olympian Sara Winther. Mckenzie has won six of the nine races sailed so far at Oceanbridge Sail Auckland, cementing his status as 2013 Laser Radial National Champion.
Australia’s Ash Brunning and the NZL Sailing Team’s Andy Maloney are keeping it close at the front of the Laser full rig fleet. Both the Laser and Laser Radial have just two races remaining tomorrow.
The kiteboarders lapped up the strong winds today with every board competing on the race course, and they loved the cameras too. Tauranga’s Torrin Bright won all four of the fifteen minute races today, and just three are left for tomorrow.
The windsurfers, Paralympic classes, skiffs and multihull stayed ashore.
'The RS:X fleet is a bit young and they might not have had such a good time today' says London 2012 windsurfer JP Tobin. 'I’ve never seen the harbour that soupy with random waves from all directions.'
'I think the race officials made the right decision but it didn’t stop a few of us from going out training' he concluded.
Racing resumes on Tuesday at 11:00am on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. Tuesday is the final day of racing. Winds are expected to stay strong with a chance of thunderstorms although it shouldn’t be quite as rough as Monday was.
This regatta is made possible only thanks to the contributions from principle sponsor Oceanbridge and supporters Danske Mobler, Yachting New Zealand, Sport New Zealand The Landing, Orakei Marina and most importantly, a team of more than 60 volunteers. by Kristine Lederis