Day One of the Melges 24 and 32 Nationals got underway yesterday hosted by The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, Newport, Sydney.
With the 32’s having the luxury of a lay day, the Melges 24 were on their own, racing an offshore course off Palm Beach in Sydney’s North. The call was initially made to AP ashore while the RO Stephen Merrington waited for the wind to fill in.
After a short delay racing commenced at 1325hrs in a light 5kt Nor easterly. The first work saw shifty conditions providing numerous passing lanes for the teams to exploit. RPAYC Vice Commodore, Rob Curtis sailing 'Matilda' worked the favoured right hand side, sailing a good first leg to lead the fleet around the top mark with 'No Comment' and 'Bandit' hot on his heels.
The downwind leg saw the teams attempting to balance the compromise between boat speed and depth to get to the bottom mark as quick as they could as the breeze started to get a little more variable in strength. On the second upwind beat, 'Roger That' skippered by Cameron Miles showed good boat speed to get back in touch the front three.
Due to the wind starting to shut out the call was made by the RO to shorten the course, finishing at the top mark. Warwick Rookyln’s 'Bandit' managed to get a jump on second and third places on the final upwind to take the win with 'Kaito' and 'Roger That' finishing second and third respectively with only one second between them.
Commenting on the conditions today, Dave O’Connor crewman on 'Bandit' said ‘it was quite a tough race track. The key was keeping your head out of the boat and trying to be as smooth as possible.’
Warwick Rooklyn's 'Bandit' takes early advantage on Day One of the 2011 Melges Australian Championships - 2011 Melges Australian Championships - Allen Stormon Click Here to view large photo
Race Two was unable to get away due to a complete glass out on the course. The conditions did not look set to improve and with the day getting on it was decided to head on back to the Club and fire up the BBQ.
The forecast for day two of the regatta is looking promising with a Southerly change set to come through during the morning bringing a welcome change from yesterday's conditions.
The 2011 Melges Australian Championships is sponsored by Gill Australia and North Sails and is shaping up to be a massive battle of the boats in this fast growing sports boat class in Australia.
'Kaito', the 2008 Australian Champion has North Sails MD Michael Coxon calling the shots. Defending 2010 Champion Heath Walters is competing on 'No Comment'. Warwick Rooklyn NSW State Champion 'Bandit' is keen to take the Australian Champion title prior to his Corpus Christi Worlds campaign. Cameron Miles 'Roger That' staked his claim in the lead up event at the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta last week-end, he is also East Coast Champion and came a close second in the 2010 Championships. Added into the mix are several new boat owners including the first South Australian owner Gary Shanks in 'Outrage-Us' and Vice Commodore RPAYC Rob Curtis 'Matilda' looking to make their mark on the fleet.
The event will conclude on Sunday 13 March.
For Regatta results go to http://www.rpayc.com.au/results/2010/club/melges.htm