Sail Auckland 2011 got underway today with nine fleets
racing on three courses scattered up the Hauraki Gulf
north of Takapuna Beach in a westerly offshore breeze
which was light and shifty at times but provided good
racing across all classes.
In what will no doubt be an interesting battle over the next three days, New Zealand’s best including RS:X Windsurfing gold medallist, Tom Ashley and Jon-Paul Tobin today started battling it out with Dorian van Rijsselberge from the Netherlands, and Lee Byunggun of Korea.
On day one it was the reigning Olympic champ Ashley that mastered the conditions best off Takapuna Beach, his home waters, and tops the leader-board on 3 points with a second and a first on the water today. The Korean sailor holds second place five points adrift, with van Rijsselberge and Cozzolino both one point further back.
The contest for the top woman windsurfer kicked off with Kate Ellingham of the NZL Sailing Team and Natalia Kosinska claiming one bullet apiece today to share the lead at the end of the first day. Justina Sellers holds third place.
On the RS:X course two races were sailed before the fleet headed ashore mid afternoon, with sailors reporting shifty 8-10 knot westerly winds on their course ranging through as much as 40 degrees at times. Wind gusts appeared and then disappeared catching out the fleet leaders at times including Tobin in race two.