|MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-(15-1-2007) No wind and a hazy sky greeted competitors on the first day of the Olympic and Invited Classes Regatta being hosted by Sandringham Yacht Club at Sail Melbourne today.
By the time of the first start at 1300hrs, the skies had cleared and a light 6–10 knot breeze had taken hold.
Robert Godwin (GBR) took first place in the Lasers from Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) who is ranked eighth in the world. It seems as though everybody was finding their feet on the course today with Ricky Ironmonger (AUS) a local sailor well down the board in 38th place.
As expected, Krystal Weir (AUS) scored bullets in races one and two to lead both Women’s and Open Laser Radial fleet. The women appear to be fairing the best of the starters, with the first three places in Race 1 of the Open fleet taken by female sailors with Man Yi Lo (SIN) and Victoria Chan (SIN) finishing second and third respectively behind Weir.
Michael Leydon (AUS) took the first two races in the 2.4mR fleet, which looks like it will be a closely fought competition. Michael McLean (AUS) carries an OCS from Race 2, so will be looking to consolidate on his second place in Race 1 going into day two.
As RS:X sailboards took to the water, necessary winds obliged, increasing to 15 knots from the south west. World champion Alessandra Sensini (ITA) took out the first race, and going by world class form, the triple Olympic medallist looks to be the one to beat.
Two-time Australian Olympian Jessica Crisp (AUS) and Formula world champion Allison Shreeve (AUS) are both aiming for the Beijing Games in 2008. Competing for the one spot to the Athens Games in 2004, Shreeve was only just beaten to the punch by Crisp at the final selection event, Sail Melbourne 2004. The Sydneysider will be looking for the form that scored her a second place at Sail Melbourne last year and a fifth a Kiel week.
With the forecast tomorrow for 39 degrees and a hot northerly wind of 15-20 knots, competitors will face some tough conditions.