Oceania Laser Championships – Day 3

(Sandringham Yacht Club, Australia) Despite a huge storm front battering Port Phillip in the early afternoon, most classes were able to complete a full slate of racing on day three of Sail Melbourne International on Sunday.

The thick squall carried a sheet of small hail stones, and hit the bay just as most of the racing was wrapping up with the Laser, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7s the only fleets restricted to one race.

In the Olympic classes, the Laser fleets only got one race in with the thunderstorm approaching and racing abandoned as a consequence.

It was challenging day for the Laser Standard fleet with six recalls delaying the start of racing. After one race on Sunday, three-time Olympian Jean Baptist Bernaz continues to lead with Australian Sailing Team’s Matt Wearn (WA) jumping from fifth to second after finishing today’s race in fifth.

“I think we had about six general recalls so there was a lot of people getting black flagged. So it took us a while to get going, but we finally had a nice race in what felt like a sea breeze,” Wearn said about the events of the day.

“I’m not sure why it happened (so many recalls), people are just too eager I think. But there has still been good racing, I rounded in the top five and just held that position the whole way around. I picked up a place here and there and lost a place here and there so finished fifth and I’ll take that,” Wearn added.

Rio Olympic champion Tom Burton was one of the sailors affected by the series of black flags and dropped from second into seventh place.

“It was a long day and I think we had six or seven general recalls. I think I might have gotten black flagged in the very last one but I did the race anyway so it was good fitness. It was 20 knots and it just built and built and built. I’m knackered to be honest,” Tom Burton said.

Going into the last two days of racing, New Zealand’s Thomas Saunders is ranked third overall after finishing tenth in the race on Sunday.

“Today was a longer day than it should have been. The standard boats weren’t very good on the start line, we had maybe six general recalls. So we got quite behind in the time there and we only got one in before the storm started to set in which was a bit frustrating,” Saunders said.

“I didn’t have a great first race but I managed to come back to a half decent result so pretty happy. Yesterday for me was pretty good, day one started off with a black flag, so not the way you want to start a regatta but I managed to bounced back yesterday and continued on today. So hopefully a few more days and see where we end up,” Saunders said about his regatta so far.

Over 300 competitors from 25 countries are competing at Sail Melbourne International and sitting in fourth place overall in the Laser is Guatemala’s Juan Maegli.

“Today was a great day, we only did one race with this storm coming through but the race that we did was pretty good. I had a good race, finished third, so yeah happy with the day.

It has been windy the whole three days so we are a bit tired, but it has been great sailing,” Maegli said after the race on Sunday.  

Maegli is already selected for Tokyo 2020 after securing his country a quota spot at the 2019 Pan American Games and is enjoying is time in Australia.

“This my third time in Australia, I enjoy it a lot over here. I was in Melbourne in 2010, so a long time ago.”

In the women’s Laser Radial, Ireland’s Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy won the one and only race of Sunday and moved up into fifth place overall and third ranked female.

Rio Olympic champion Marit Bouwmeester continues to lead the female rankings after an eighth place on Sunday with Italy’s Rio Olympian Silvia Zennaro following in second after posting a second. 

“It was a nice day, but it took a bit long to get started. I think it took them an hour and 15 minutes to get the guys on the way, and then even the 4.7s had a general recall so it was a long day on the water for only one race and that was a shame. But it was good and it’s nice to be here and get some racing in,” Bouwmeester said.

Western Australian youth sailor Michael Compton is still leading the Radial fleet overall and posted a third on Sunday.

We have had quite a few windy days which suits me because I am from WA and we always get the windy sea breeze. I thought Nationals and Youth Nationals were my two biggest events so coming to this one there isn’t really any pressure. It is really about getting the training in before our men’s worlds, whereas for these guys (the women) it’s world ranking points so there’s quite a lot of pressure for them so I’ve got a bit of an advantage there,” Compton said about racing the world’s best female laser radial sailors.

Racing continues on Monday for day four of the event and with racing scheduled to commence from 2:00PM at Sandringham Yacht Club.

RESULTS:  http://www.sailmelbourne.com.au/results/

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Photo credit: Beau Outteridge

See video highlights clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzYgNrUSC2E

About Sail Melbourne International & Melbourne Summer of Sailing 2020

Sail Melbourne International (SMI), Victoria’s premier event for Olympic class sailing, continues the exciting 2020 Melbourne Summer of Sailing series which kicked off with the 2019 Finn Gold Cup, the world championships of the International Finn Class, in December and continued with the Australian Open Laser Championships at the start of January.

With over 300 entries, Sail Melbourne is the biggest sailing event in Victoria this summer and a welcome opportunity for sailors from around the world to test the waters ahead of their Melbourne Summer of Sailing class world championships in February and March. 

2020 Sail Melbourne International regatta is hosted by Royal Brighton Yacht Club in together with Sandringham Yacht Club (17-21 January 2020). 

In February, the Laser and Laser Radial World Championships are coming to Sandringham Yacht Club, while the 49er/FX- and Nacra World Championships will be hosted by Royal Geelong Yacht Club. The 2020 RS:X World Championships are hosted by Sorrento Sailing and Couta Club at the end of February.

Melbourne’s Summer of Sailing 2020 is proudly supported by the Victorian State Government. For more information about Sail Melbourne International head to www.sailmelbourne.com.au