ISAF Sailing World Cup kicks off in Holland

Racing is underway at the fifth round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Medemblik, Holland, with a number of Australian sailors getting their regattas off to a positive start.

The impending London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have reduced numbers at the event for 2012 but seven Australian crews were in action on the first day of racing.

The Sonar crew of Colin Harrison, Stephen Churm and Jonathan Harris are the best placed Australians after day one, sitting fourth overall.

The trio, competing in just their second international regatta together, will represent Australia at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and finished the first three races in Holland with two fifths and a second.

“Today we faced warmer temperatures and an eight to 12 knot northerly breeze, great conditions to start the event,” said Harrison. “Conservative starts for the first two races left us in the middle of the fleet, placing fifth in both.

“Thanks to our coach’s prompts, our last race today saw a more aggressive start from the pin end and we led the fleet out to the left,” he said. “Some very congested top mark roundings left us fighting all the way to the finish line to be second, with all the boats finishing within a minute of each other.”

Coach Grant Alderson is impressed with the close nature of racing in the Sonar class.

“The racing in the Sonar fleet is some of the closest I have ever seen with positions constantly changing as the fleet stays tight until the finish,” said Alderson. “Colin, Jonathan and Stephen finished a solid day to be sitting fourth overall. Warmer weather is forecast for the next few days which will result in lighter and trickier winds so some great tactical racing lies ahead.”

In the 2.4mR class Australian Matt Bugg ended the day eighth overall, following an eighth, a fourth and a 12th from the opening three races as he continues his preparations for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

“Today was glamour sailing conditions, 10 knots of wind and sunshine, in Holland!” said Bugg “Today was my first day of international racing since Miami back in January and the first in my new boat so I was pretty happy with how today went for the most part.

“I was happy with my decision making and apart from missing a left hand shift and being a bit slow to change up a gear in the last race I was happy with how I started this tour,” he said. “I'm looking forward to racing tomorrow morning and hopefully climbing up the leader board tomorrow night.”

Racing continues in Medemblik on Wednesday and goes through until Saturday 26 May.

By Yachting Australia

Posted 23/05/2012

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