Botany Bay provided an excellent race track for the opening day of the 2011 Australian Laser Championship. The 16-20knots NE wind whipped up a short sharp chop which created gruelling upwind legs, testing fitness and technique.
Ashley Stoddart along with many others commented that; ‘upwind was pretty hard work but it was worth it for the fun on the downwind!’
In the Laser 4.7 Class there is a good mix of girls and boys in the top ten with Sophie Chesterman from Tasmania the highest placed girl in fifth after scoring an eight and four. Queensland’s Madison Kennedy is in seventh overall after opening her regatta with a second place followed by a 13. Just one point behind in eighth is Milly Bennett from NSW.
The boys dominate the Laser 4.7 leader board with Benjamin Walkemeyer from WA scoring a first and second to take the lead by one point from Tasmania’s Dylan Gore with Aqulia Tatira from the Cook Islands in third place.
Aquila was excited about the day from the moment he saw the white caps on the water before launching, ‘I knew it was going to be a good day! My weight is suited to the boat in these conditions and I am used to strong winds from sailing at home in Aitutaki but there, the waves are nice and smooth, not like here where it is very choppy and the current has a big effect making it challenging. ‘Aquila likes the Laser because, ‘it is Olympic Class and it is my dream to compete in the Olympic Games!’
Western Australia also leads in the Open Laser Radial event with Matthew Wearn gaining a perfect score, winning both races. In the second Laser Radial fleet Krystal Weir won one race and finished second in the other to place her in second overnight followed by Tristan Brown, again from WA, showing the strength of the program in WA with coaching from 2008 Olympic Laser Coach, Arthur Brett and Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold Medallist, Belinda Stowell.
Hot on the heels of the leaders is the defending Open Laser Radial Champion, Benjamin Franklin in forth overnight after scoring a third and second. He was pleased with his day and said, ‘I like sailing here, I was quick out there today, especially downwind. With the short sharp chop it is just like sailing at home on Morton Bay in Queensland’.
Krystal Weir dominated the Laser Radial Women’s Championship racing on day one and has a 17 point cushion from Gabrielle King and Alex South who are on equal points. The OAMPS Australian Youth Team selection front runners are Alex South and Ashley Stoddart who is just one place behind.
Krystal was obviously is good spirits at the end of the day and commented, ‘It was a tricky, windy, sea breezy day where speed was key. I’m happy with how I went but there’s a long way to go yet! The boys are putting on the pressure which is good’.
The battle in the Laser Standard fleet is fierce with Ashley Brunning taking the first win with Tom Burton second but Tom went on to win the second race to take the top spot on the leader board overnight after Ashley finished third in race two. Rutger Schaardenbury from the Netherlands is in third place with a third and second.
Laser 4.7 Leader Board
1 – Benjamin Walkemeyer (WA)
2 – Dylan Gore (TAS)
3 – Aquila Tatira (COK)
Open Laser Radial Leader Board
1 – Matthew Wearn (WA)
2 – Krystal Weir (VIC)
3 – Tristan Brown (WA)
Laser Radial Women Leader Board
1 – Krystal Weir (VIC)
2 – Manon Luther (SUI)
3 – Gabrielle King (NSW)
Laser Standard Leader Board
1 – Tom Burton (NSW)
2 – Ashley Brunning (NSW)
3 – Rutger Schaardenburg (NED)