Mark Page working hard to pass Andrew Dellabarca in the last race today, to collect his fourth win out of four and take a commanding lead of the Laser Masters Fleet.
New Plymouth turned on perfect sailing conditions today with winds gusting to 25 knots and big waves. The conditions ensured exciting surfing and planning downwind and led to a number of broken masts and other gear failure. At the half way stage of the Championships the likely winners in each division are showing devastating form.
Laser Radials at the Top mark preparing to begin the big surf downwind
Andrew Murdoch has been dominant today, looking very comfortable in the conditions and won all 3 races and now leads the Regatta with Michael Bullot 2nd, 3 points behind. Andrew had taken a break from sailing after the Olympics and has just been doing gym work as he tries to regain the weight and muscle that he lost in preparation for the light winds in China. He will be very pleased with his performance so far in his first Regatta since the Olympics. Today like yesterday he had to comeback from a bad start in one of the races and still managed to win.
Female Olympian Jo Aleh (177775) getting past by her teammate Olympian Andrew Murdoch (192639) as the Laser Standard fleet (Male) sails downwind through the Laser Radial fleet (Female). Andrew is chasing 2nd overall Michael Bullot (2703) who he overtakes to get his third win of the day.
The 2007 Laser Radial Apprentice Master World Champion, Mark Page, is making short work of the Laser Master division and has a very comfortable lead after 4 wins. The rest of the Laser Master fleet really thinks he should go back to sailing the Laser Radial and leave the Laser for the "real men".
Mark Orams leading the Laser Radial Master fleet
The 2008 Laser Radial Master World Champion, Mark Orams, is doing a similar job to Mark Page in the Laser Radial Master Fleet and once the drop comes into play he will have a clear lead. One his main rivals, Mike Keeton, snapped his mast in the first race today. Mike did not have enough time to get a new mast before the second race and so now has two Did Not Finish scores. Only one of these will be able to be dropped so he is now out of contention.
Hamish Atkinson the current leader in the Radial Masters (left) and Mike Knowsley chase Mark Orams.
In the Laser 4.7 Fleet, Alex Dyet, from Torbay is also dominant with 4 wins and a second and has comfortable 7 point lead over Benjamin Whiteside from Christchurch. Alex just needs to keep things simple for the rest of the Regatta and he should be able to represent NZ at the Laser 4.7 World Championships in Brasil.
Sponsored sails are Hot this year! (2 good websites to check out though!)
The race to determine the New Zealand's representative for the ISAF Youth Worlds is also almost over for the boys as last years representative, Sam Meech from Tauranga, has a commanding lead over 2nd placed Tim Coltman, from Wellington. In the Youth Girls the race is a lot closer with Rachel Basevi from Warkworth leading Sarah Tootill from Bucklands Beach.
Plenty of action as the Radial fleet round the Top Mark
In the Women's Laser Radial, Olympic hopeful, Sara Winther, leads Olympian Jo Aleh, but its still an open contest at the halfway stage with only 5 points separating them in the 43 boat fleet.
Sara Winther, leading women, rounding the Top Mark
Full Results and entry list can be found at the following link