Grade 1 Olympic classes regatta now hits the half way mark
with some tight battles unfolding ensuring an exciting
conclusion to the event over the weekend. The westerly offshore breeze challenged the fleets once
again with patchy pressure at times, but greater push today
in the 15-18 knot range for the opening races, dropping slightly
through the afternoon.
Tom Ashley continues to reign supreme in the Men’s RS:X windsurfing fleet, sailing three races today, the 2008 Olympic champion leads the fleet but things are tight at the top of the leaderboard. Just three points separate first and fourth place after a total of 5 races.
With a 2-4-2 card today Ashley, on 7 points is just one point ahead of Dorian van Rijsselberge of the Netherlands, with Antonio Cozzolino and Jon-Paul Tobin just behind sharing third place 10 points each.
For the NZL Sailing Team’s Kate Ellingham, Sail Auckland marks a return to competition after an enforced injury break. “I had had a really long break after the Worlds because of my back, and I’ve finally got that under control now, so it hasn’t been bothering me since November which is good, it’s really exciting.”
Ellingham won today’s two opening races in the RS:X 8.5 windsurfing, then placed second and has opened up a small lead on rival Natalia Kosinska two points adrift in second place. Justina Sellers is third.
Describing conditions today Ellingham said; “Offshore 15-18 knots for the first two races, 8-14 for the final race… heaps more that yesterday. I don’t mind, but I do enjoy the wind for sure, especially when it’s this gusty.”
“The first two I won, which was good. The final one I was winning most of the way around and then on the last upwind I tried to plane when the wind died and people came from behind to catch up… so that was disappointing, but I guess that’s what happens when it’s offshore and shifty like this.”
“The whole plan of this regatta was to get good starts, so far out of five races I’ve had four good starts and one when I kinda got the pin a bit muddled up with the finish line, so I was over, but I went back and it was fine, I still won.”