Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day three of Sail Melbourne

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page on day three of Sail Melbourne

Shifting winds dominated the afternoon racing on day three of Sail Melbourne, with the conditions keeping sailors on their toes and forcing them to work hard for every position gained.

The Australian Sailing Team’s Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page kept their 100 per cent record intact, moving out to a seven point lead from American’s Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl with local sailors Sam Kivell and Will Ryan moving into third position after a strong day.

“The racing was very win orientated today, instead of the fleet based racing we had in the opening two days,” said Belcher. “It was all about risk management on the course, you had to be very careful and weigh up all the consequences before making any decisions, and then after all of that sometimes you can’t always get it right.”

“But in saying all of that we still had two wins and have a comfortable lead so we can’t complain too much,” he said.

New Zealanders Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie continue to lead the 470 women’s class but they suffered their first race loss today, to West Australian’s Stacey Omay and Chelsea Hall. Aleh and Powrie now have a five point lead over the Australian crew with Singapore’s Dawn Liu and Siobhan Tam third.

Canadian Michael Leigh has taken the lead in the Laser class, moving two points ahead of American counterpart Clayton Johnson. Both Leigh and Johnson had a mixed day with a 20th and 11th respectively in race one followed by a one and six in race two.

“It was very shifty out there today,” said Johnson. “It seemed like the left was very good on the first beat of each race but then the right came on in a huge way.”

“These shifty and puffy conditions are a bit of fun as long as you stay calm and don’t get frustrated by what the wind is doing. At one stage it was blowing about 20 knots in the first race and then died down to about five so transitioning well was really important,” he said.

In the Laser Radial women’s fleet American Paige Railey continues to lead the class, with a win and seventh today leaving her two points clear of Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands in second with German sailor Franziska Goltz third.

“Pretty much wherever I went today the wind didn’t,” said Railey. “In the first race I managed to start at the wrong end but fought back well to win, at one stage there were less boats behind me than in front. Then in the second I managed to bang the wrong corner each time and slipped back a bit.”

“It was a bit weird out there today, one side was favoured on one beat and then the next one it was the other side, at one stage I headed out by myself and got a huge shift and ended up reaching into the winward mark,” she said.

The Australian Sailing Development Squad’s James Paterson continues to lead the Finn class, having a first and a fifth today to move eight points clear of Henry Bagnall, Tim Castles and Warick Hill, all tied on 14 points.

Leonard Ong has a one point lead over Columbian Nicolas Lozano in the RS:X men’s class with Australian Tim Gourlay third. While in the women’s class Australian Jessica Crisp overcame a tough opening race to hit back with a win to open up a five point buffer over Norway’s Jannicke Stalstrom with Angeliki Skarlatou third.

Singapore’s Seng Leong Koh is in control in the Laser Radial men’s class, ten points clear of Elliott Noye with Christopher Jones one point further back. -