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Sail Melbourne International Pushing the Limits On Day One

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  • Sail Melbourne International Pushing the Limits On Day One

    With wind limits on the edge, conditions on day one of Sail Melbourne International 2020 provided many competitors with a wild, windy and
    challenging day on Port Phillip Bay. Racing started out in around 20-22 knots but with wind gusting into the high twenties as the afternoon progressed, racing was cut short after several classes reached their wind limits. All classes, but the Tasar, still managed to get one race in with only the kiteboarders as well as the windsurfers completing their race schedule.

    “It’s funny I’ve spent a lot of time here over the past decade and I’ve never seen a day like this racing. But that’s Melbourne for you, a pretty easterly wind, super windy, up and down and big waves standing up and fun for everyone. It was a case of getting out there and trying not to make too many mistakes,” Rio 2016 Olympian in the Finn class Jake Lilley said about the conditions after winning the Finn fleet race. Lilley also contested the 2019 Finn Gold Cup in Melbourne in December, where he finished fifth overall after winning the top-ten medal race on the final day of the event and also secured Australia the Finn quota spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. With a small group of international Finn sailors staying on to make the most of Australian summer, the ten-boat fleet at Sail Melbourne is expected to see some exciting racing over the next five days. “It is great to have some international guys here, every race is like a medal race and those that aren’t here are missing out,” Lilley said.

    “The international guys here and my training partner Lachie (Gilham) are really high calibre, so it is just great practice and to race ten really good guys every day is just like medal race. And we will practice scenarios to hold us in good stead come the middle of next year,” Lilley added.

    Sail Melbourne International continues the 2020 Melbourne Summer of Sailing event series and with just under 200 days until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games the event has attracted over 300 entries from 25 countries with many of the international sailors using the event as a warm-up for their class world championships, including the Laser, Laser Radial or RS:X world championships in February.
    While for some of the internationals, who have only just arrived, the conditions were a bit a shock to the system, others quite enjoyed and thrived in them.

    Korea’s Tokyo 2020 RS:X representative Wonwoo Cho was one of the latter and loving the strong winds he finished second in all of the three races and leads the RS:X results board after day one.
    “I like strong winds and today I finished three times second so I am leading the racing now and am very happy,” Cho said, who is the first time in Melbourne.“This is my first time in Melbourne and it is beautiful weather and a good place for windsurfing. I arrived ten days ago and will be going back to Korea after this competition and will return for the World Championships in Sorrento. I am in training for Tokyo and many good sailors come here for training, so it’s great to be here.”

    Great Britain’s Tom Squires finished second and also enjoyed the conditions. “It was pretty rough, the breeze kept picking up and it was really tight on the windsurfing course. We tucked right up next the beach and the wind was shifting 30 to 40 degrees. We have been racing with the girls here so the starts have been crazy, quite a lot of people, a wild one, sick,” Squires laughed. The RS:X are racing in mixed-fleet with Noy Drihan from Israel finishing as the top female after three races. The world’s best RS:X are contesting Sail Melbourne ahead of their class world championships at Sorrento Sailing and Couta Boat Club at the end of February (23-29 February 2020).

    The Laser Standard and Laser Radial events have also attracted a world-class field and the largest number of entries with SMI an exciting opportunity for the world’s best International Laser class sailors to test the Port Phillip ahead of their class world championships at Sandringham Yacht Club in February. The fleets only managed to get one race in on day one though with Rio Olympic champion Tom Burton making the most of it and finishing second behind three-time Olympian Jean-Baptist Bernaz. “It was a pretty big day with massive waves and big winds. We only had a little bit of waiting around and it was pretty obvious that everyone was close to the limit with one race today, so we are in for a big three race day tomorrow,” Burton said. The Laser Radial was won by Rio Olympic champion Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands with Western Australian Michael Compton following in second and top male competitor in the fleet.

    Sail Melbourne includes several sub-events, with the Laser Oceania Championships, the 2020 Australian Kite Foiling Championships, the 2020 Australian Para-Sailing Championships as well as the Australian Championships in the International 505 Class all to be decided over the five-day event. In the International 505 class world champions Mike Holt and Rob Woelfel showed their class and took out the win in the only race of the day with Australians Sandy Higgins and Paul March following in second. “Uphill was just hanging on basically making sure Paul wouldn’t get wiped off the trap (trapeze) which happened a couple of times and downhill it was just, throw the kite up and go for it. We just had to be a bit cautious through the jibe. Basically, it was sailing really hard and be a little bit conservative at times,” Sandy Higgins said.

    In the other Invited classes, Michael Leyton (ACT) took out the race win in the 2.4mR class, while South Australian Bob Schahinger won the race in the Liberty class. Racing will continue on Saturday with start times scheduled for 2 p.m. and with three races scheduled across all fleets. Saturday will also see the start of the fleet racing for the 2020 Australian Kitefoiling championships with six races on the schedule.

    The kitefoilers were only recently added as a new Olympic sailing class to the Paris 2024 program and Friday saw the first ever mixed relay out of Brighton Beach to test the format that has been proposed for the Games, which involves a mixed-gender pair of kitefoilers completing a course individually in a relay style format. Townsville sibling Breianna and Scott Whitehead are two of Australia’s Olympic hopefuls and really enjoyed the racing off Brighton Beach. “Today we had the first mixed relay that we’ve done in Australia. It’s a new format, pretty fun and you add a team aspect to it and it’s the proposed format for kitefoiling for the Olympic Games. Paris 2024 is all pretty new to us as it was just announced but it would be really cool to have a brother and sister team there. We’ve been doing kiting for a little while now and love kiting and it’s definitely a possibility and a fun event to do,” Breianna Whitehead said. “Coming into 2024 Olympics, I’ll be 21 and my sister will be 24 and it’s a really good ambition for us and a great goal, which I’m sure is achievable,” Scott Whitehead added confidently. Breianna Whitehead finished fifth in the world rankings in 2019 and is also the defending national champion when fleet racing starts tomorrow. In the men’s division her brother will be setting his sights on his first National title after managing a second place in the previous championships. Whitehead will be racing against a strong fleet of riders from around Australia.

    See updated race schedule here:
    See all results here:

    For more information about Sail Melbourne International head to
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  • #2
    Cracking Day at Sail Melbourne International Day Two

    Port Phillip delivered another cracking day for the second day of racing at the 2020 edition of Sail Melbourne International. Following a very windy day one, Saturday started out with light conditions before the wind picked up again making for a fitness as well as skill focussed day. On Friday, only one race had been possible in most fleets and Saturday’s aim was to get the maximum number of races in. With three and more races on the schedule, leader boards started to take shape.

    Laser Fleets

    The Laser, sailing out of Sandringham Yacht Club, make up the biggest fleets of Sail Melbourne International with the world’s best sailors using the event as a warm-up for the Laser Standard and Laser Radial worlds in February. Three races on Saturday, saw three race winners with New Zealand’s Thomas Saunders taking the win in the first race, while Australian Sailing Team’s Matt Wearn (WA) won the second. 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Sam Meech from New Zealand won the third. Matt Wearn, who has already been selected to represent Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, did not have the best start to the day posting a 24th in race one, but followed up with the race win to conclude the day with an 11th place. After four races Wearn now sits in fifth place overall. “It was an interesting day a bit effected by the weather systems going through at the moment but a pretty average day for myself to be honest. I did come back with a first in the second race but couldn’t replicate that in the third, so I think I made a pretty big come back to get somewhere near the top ten in the last one. So it was a pretty average day for me but let’s hope the next half of the regatta is a lot better,” Wearn said.

    Leader of the fleet after four races is France’s three-time Olympian Jean-Baptist Bernaz with Australia’s Rio 2016 Olympic champion Tom Burton in second and Sam Meech in third. “I did a good regatta since yesterday, it is pretty windy and sunny so it’s perfect with good conditions. Today the conditions increased all day and with the three races I am a bit tired now. I have previously been to Perth, but this is my first time sailing here in Melbourne and I like Australia,” Bernaz said about the venue, who posted a ninth, fourth and second to retain the lead. Following his second place on day one, Tom Burton continued with two top five finishes and a 17th on Saturday. “It was an ok day, bit of a fitness day with three races. We left in light wind and it ended up pretty windy. I think I got two good ones and an average one but my expectations aren’t too high so we will see where we end up at the end of the week,” Tom Burton said.

    In the women’s Laser Radial, Olympic champion Marit Bouwmeester continues to lead after two third places and winning the last race of the day. Norway’s Line Flem won the second race of the day and is the second ranked female Radial sailor overall. Third ranked female in the Radial is Rio Olympian Silvia Zennaro, who is ranked sixth overall after posting a 2, 8, 3 on day two and is excited about racing in Melbourne. “It was another windy day, but I like windy so it was a really good day. I am here for one month, it is like home and I enjoy every day with the amazing conditions,” Zennaro said.
    Western Australian Zoe Thomson is currently the top ranked Australian female in the Radial and posted an 8-12-5 series on the second day of the event. “It has been pretty good, we’ve had fresh conditions so far with some good waves and I’m pretty keen to keep smashing them out of the next few days. Compared to home (WA) it is little more inconsistent here with the sunshine and the wind so not too sure what to expect tomorrow but that’s okay,” Thomson said about the conditions. The overall Laser Radial fleet is led by Michael Compton (WA), who continues to impress after winning the Australian Youth Championships and being selected on to the 2020 Australian Sailing Youth Team. Compton so far has won two out of the four races (1, 7, 2, 1).

    Fellow Western Australian Mia Lovelady leads the Laser 4.7 and finished day two with three bullets. “It felt pretty good to be out on the water after yesterday and we also had two days without sailing at the Youth Championships, so nice to be out on the water and in some wind again. I was lucky enough to get three bullets today which set me in first place which is pretty nice. The wind was consistent and the conditions were my type of conditions and like what I sail at home. So it was a good day on the water and I really enjoyed it,” Lovelady said.

    RS:X F/M

    The Olympic windsurfing class RS:X also has some of the world’s best windsurfers in Melbourne with the class championships to take place at Sorrento Sailing and Couta Boat Club at the end of February. While Rio Olympic champion Charline Picon from France has already secured her Tokyo spot, Israel’s Noy Drihan is still fighting for national selection with the RS:X World Championships in four weeks the final competition and with four female windsurfers from Israel at Sail Melbourne to prepare for the World Champs. Drihan kicked-off the event in style, posting a series of three race wins on day one and defending her lead ahead of Picon with a fourth, second and first on day two. Picon won the first two races on Saturday and finished the day with a fourth. “We did three races today in not very stable conditions, it was very tricky and gusty, sometimes we had a storm gust and sometimes no wind at all and a lot of shifts. You needed to play a lot on the upwind and also on the downwind and always look where the gusts and the good angles were to sail, so overall it was tricky and hard work,” Drihan described the conditions.

    “The world championships in Sorrento are the last selection event for the Israeli girls, so this is our final selection round,” Drihan added about the significance of the competition. It is the second time in Melbourne for Drihan and she loves it. “I was already here three years ago in the final sailing world cup at St Kilda and I love the place. I arrived two weeks ago and I’m staying until the end of the world championships at the start of March and I’m really enjoying the place. All of Israel’s best windsurfers are in Melbourne and as for the women, the world championships will also be the Tokyo 2020 decider for the men. “Sail Melbourne is the last competition before the worlds and it’s really good preparation for us because we want to do more races. It’s a really good test for us to see if there are any problems in windy or light conditions or with the equipment, so this is really good for us,” Yoav Omer said, who is ranked second after a total of six races and posting a tenth and two second places on Saturday. “We are five in the boys here and four in the girls as all the teams came here and the preparation for the worlds is really important for us. The world championships are super important so we do everything to succeed here and after that at the worlds, which will be the last competition for our selection and in the boys it is really close. After the worlds, our federation will decide who will go to the Olympic Games. I hope to be in Tokyo. I really believe in my sailing over here and I’m feeling really good and I will do my best” Omer added about selection relevance and his Tokyo 2020 goals.
    And like his team mate, he also loves Melbourne, “I really like Melbourne. My first time here was in 2016 and after I got back to Israel to my home, I said that I have to come here again, because this place is amazing and I really love it. You have everything here, great beaches, and waves and I heard that the coffee in Melbourne is the best.

    Leader of the RS:X fleet, Tom Squires (GBR) has already secured his Tokyo spot and took over the lead of the fleet after posting a 8-1-6 series.

    The Finn class is the other Olympic class at Sail Melbourne in which sailors are still preparing for their Tokyo 2020 Olympic selection and Switzerland’s Nils Theuninck is making the most of his time in Australia to get there. “I have been training here for a month and a half. We had the Finn Gold Cup and conditions are different everyday so it’s really nice to get some different waves and winning goals, learn and get your right numbers every day. I am trying to learn as much as possible and get ready for the European season coming soon,” Theuninck said. “I am going to train a bit here in February and then go back to Palma for the Princess Sofia and after that we have the European Qualifier for the Olympics and that will be the biggest goal of the season.” Theuninck won the second race of the day and has been enjoying the competition at Sail Melbourne.

    “We did three races in about 10 – 18 knots and it was pretty fun. We have good competition out there and I had one good race and then two average ones, so I’m medium-ly happy about today,” Theuninck said.“It’s really close racing because there is only a few boats out there, if you make a mistake, losing one place is almost ten percent of the fleet so it is pretty tough." The Finn also to managed to get three races in with Australian Sailing Squad's Jake Lilley leading the fleet after two race wins and a second on day two.


    While it was the second day of racing for most, in the Invited classes the Tasar had their first day of racing after winds were too strong for the class on Friday. Three races were completed with local Victorians Heather McFarlane and Chris Payne leading the fleet after posting a second and two race wins. Gary and Robyn Ratcliffe (NSW) are in second with Megan and Bronwyn Ridgway (VIC) in third.
    “Today was a lot better we had a nice breeze and the waves were a lot less steep than they were yesterday and it was really hot competitive racing in the Taser fleet. The first race someone got pinged on the finish line by the jury and three of us were crossing the line together so it was super close and each of the following two races were neck and neck,” Sandringham Yacht Club’s Heather McFarlane said. “There is a great vibe in the boat park with boards, the kites, the 505’s and tasers so that makes it a fantastic event and really good fun,’ McFarlane added about the multi-class event.


    In the International 505 class, American world champions Mike Holt and Rob Woelfel continue to lead with South Australians Robin Deussen and David Snoad moving into second.

    n other results, Michael Leydon (ACT) continues to lead the 2.4mR, while South Australian Bob Schahinger leads the Liberty. Western Australian Tracy Odiam is the top female sailor in the Liberty and sits in fifth overall after four races. In the 470s Paige and Adrian Hoesch.


    Sail Melbourne also includes the 2020 Australian Kite-foiling Championships which started on Saturday with six races in the mixed-fleet. 17-year old Scott Whitehead from Townsville kicked off the nationals with a bang winning four out of the six races and finishing second in the other two. His sister and defending national champion Breiana Whitehead is ranked overall fifth and first female after day one of the event.

    Racing continues on Sunday, day three of the event, with racing scheduled from 2:00 p.m. at both Sail Melbourne International race venues Royal Brighton Yacht Club and Sandringham Yacht Club (Laser fleets).
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    • #3
      Shaken But Not Stirred At Day 3 of Sail Melbourne International

      Late Rumbles Shake Up Day 3 of Sail Melbourne International
      PUBLISHED SUN 19 JAN 2020
      Despite a huge storm front battering Port Phillip in the early afternoon, most classes were able to complete a full slate of racing on day three of Sail Melbourne International on Sunday.
      The thick squall carried a sheet of small hail stones, and hit the bay just as most of the racing was wrapping up with the Laser, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7s the only fleets restricted to one race.

      Two days remain in most of the fleets with only the Tasar deciding their winners on Sunday


      The Tasar was the only class that wrapped up on Sunday after a five-race series, with South Australians Gary and Robyn Ratcliffe winning the two final races and taking home the overall win in a tight fleet.
      “The first race was a bit soft, but I loved the pressure of the second race, just being able to drive the boat really hard,” Gary Ratcliffe said about the racing on the last day.
      “Sail Melbourne has been fantastic, we had a great time, an absolute blast so we have really, really enjoyed it. The regatta went really well, no issues, no protests, everybody was happy – it was really well run! We have been to Sail Melbourne plenty of times and we have been to Melbourne to sail often and it’s one of our favourite spots,” Robyn Ratcliffe added.
      Sandringham’s Heather Macfarlane and Chris Payne finished second with Peter Davies and Pia Lehtonen-Davies in third.

      Laser Fleets

      In the Olympic classes, the Laser fleets only got one race in with the thunderstorm approaching and racing abandoned as a consequence.
      It was challenging day for the Laser Standard fleet with six recalls delaying the start of racing. After one race on Sunday, three-time Olympian Jean Baptist Bernaz continues to lead with Australian Sailing Team’s Matt Wearn(WA) jumping from fifth to second after finishing today’s race in fifth.

      “I think we had about six general recalls so there was a lot of people getting black flagged. So it took us a while to get going, but we finally had a nice race in what felt like a sea breeze,” Wearn said about the events of the day. “I’m not sure why it happened (so many recalls), people are just too eager I think. But there has still been good racing, I rounded in the top five and just held that position the whole way around. I picked up a place here and there and lost a place here and there so finished fifth and I’ll take that,” Wearn added.

      Rio Olympic champion Tom Burton was one of the sailors affected by the series of black flags and dropped from second into seventh place.
      “It was a long day and I think we had six or seven general recalls. I think I might have gotten black flagged in the very last one but I did the race anyway so it was good fitness. It was 20 knots and it just built and built and built. I’m knackered to be honest,” Tom Burton said.

      Going into the last two days of racing, New Zealand’s Thomas Saunders is ranked third overall after finishing tenth in the race on Sunday. “Today was a longer day than it should have been. The standard boats weren’t very good on the start line, we had maybe six general recalls. So we got quite behind in the time there and we only got one in before the storm started to set in which was a bit frustrating,” Saunders said. “I didn’t have a great first race but I managed to come back to a half decent result so pretty happy. Yesterday for me was pretty good, day one started off with a black flag, so not the way you want to start a regatta but I managed to bounced back yesterday and continued on today. So hopefully a few more days and see where we end up,” Saunders said about his regatta so far.

      Over 300 competitors from 25 countries are competing at Sail Melbourne International and sitting in fourth place overall in the Laser is Guatemala’s Juan Maegli. “Today was a great day, we only did one race with this storm coming through but the race that we did was pretty good. I had a good race, finished third, so yeah happy with the day.
      It has been windy the whole three days so we are a bit tired, but it has been great sailing,” Maegli said after the race on Sunday. Maegli is already selected for Tokyo 2020 after securing his country a quota spot at the 2019 Pan American Games and is enjoying is time in Australia. “This my third time in Australia, I enjoy it a lot over here. I was in Melbourne in 2010, so a long time ago.”

      Laser Radial

      In the women’s Laser Radial, Ireland’s Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy won the one and only race of Sunday and moved up into fifth place overall and third ranked female.
      Rio Olympic champion Marit Bouwmeester continues to lead the female rankings after an eighth place on Sunday with Italy’s Rio Olympian Silvia Zennaro following in second after posting a second.
      “It was a nice day, but it took a bit long to get started. I think it took them an hour and 15 minutes to get the guys on the way, and then even the 4.7s had a general recall so it was a long day on the water for only one race and that was a shame. But it was good and it’s nice to be here and get some racing in,” Bouwmeester said. Western Australian youth sailor Michael Compton is still leading the Radial fleet overall and posted a third on Sunday.

      “We have had quite a few windy days which suits me because I am from WA and we always get the windy sea breeze. I thought Nationals and Youth Nationals were my two biggest events so coming to this one there isn’t really any pressure. It is really about getting the training in before our men’s worlds, whereas for these guys (the women) it’s world ranking points so there’s quite a lot of pressure for them so I’ve got a bit of an advantage there,” Compton said about racing the world’s best female laser radial sailors.


      Two races were completed in the Olympic Finn class with Australian Sailing Squad’s Jake Lilley (QLD) continuing to build his lead after two race wins. Switzerland’s Nils Theuninck is sitting in second with Tom Ramshaw from Canada following in third.

      RS:X F/M

      The Olympic windsurfing class RS:X got all of their three races in with Britain’s Tom Squires building his lead ahead of Israel’s Yoav Omer and Tom Reuveny. Reuveny won the first race of the day, with Squires winning the last two races. “It was another great day of breeze, it picked up this afternoon and we had three races in challenging weather conditions in terms of the shifts and the gusts but I had a really great time,” Squires said about the conditions. “It has been a challenging event. The course area is quite close to the beach so we have been tucking up the inside of the shore sometimes, and the next race will be out to sea and I seem to be pulling it together slowly,” Squires added.

      While Squires is already selected for Tokyo, Israel and other countries will still decide their selection following the RS:X World Championships in Sorrento at the end of February with racing heating up at Sail Melbourne, which is a welcome lead-in event for the world champs. “It’s a warm-up regatta for our World Championships in Sorrento and Sail Melbourne is actually really relevant – it’s offshore here and it’s offshore in Sorrento so I am looking forward to getting prepared for the Worlds, the last one – ever,” Squires said. The RS:X will be replaced by the iQFoil as the windsurfer equipment for the Paris 2024 Olympics. But until then, all eyes are set on Tokyo with under 200 days to go until the start of the Olympic Games. “I have already qualified for Tokyo. It has been a long process and I had a bit of a break after the Worlds last year so I am building up now for the 2020 World Championships. It’s going to be full power until Tokyo and I am really excited to get training for the Olympic Games which is a bit surreal right now,” Squires added. Men and women are racing together in one fleet at Sail Melbourne and Israel’s Noy Drihan, who is also still vying for Olympic selection, continues to lead after a 9 (drop) – 1 – 3 series on Sunday. Olympic champion Charline Picon continues in second place after a fourth, first and second place with Poland’s Maja Dziarnowska moving up into third after winning the last race of the day.


      With kite-foiling added to the Olympic program for Paris 2024, the 2020 Australian Kite-foiling championships have attracted a lot of interest with17-year old Scott Whitehead from Townsville holding his lead after another three races and despite an OCS in the first one. His sister and defending national champion Breiana Whitehead continues to lead the women’s category and is ranked fifth overall in the mixed fleet after posting a 2, 3, 6 series. Kite-foiling is continuing to grow around the country and it is the first kite-foiling championship for Western Australian Alexander Landwehr who is ranked eighth overall after two days of racing.

      “Yesterday was a really good day, and the first race today went as well as it could have. I did everything I wanted to do on the course, hit the right side both times which was good and I finished sixth. The next couple of days will be a very interesting regatta – that’s for sure,” Landwehr said. Another six races are scheduled for the last two days of the regatta which will wrap up on Tuesday.

      2.4mR and Liberty

      Sail Melbourne International also includes the 2020 Australian Para-sailing championships with tight racing in the 2.4mR as well as the Liberty classes. Michael Leydon (ACT) continues to lead the 2.4mR after six races, but with only one point separating the top three sailors Leydon, Peter Russell (ACT) and Neil Patterson (VIC) there is still a lot to play for with two days of sailing to go. Patterson, who is the only sailor qualifying for the para-championships category, won the last race of the day and is enjoying the tight sailing between the able-body and para-sailors at Sail Melbourne. “Today was a little bit different to the other two days. Michael (Leydon) had a pretty big lead with three wins coming into today, but I took a win and Peter took a win and there is now one point between the top three,” Patterson said. “So yes, game on for the next two days. Michael has a one-point lead but really there is four races to go so any one of us three can win it. We’ve had some super close racing, the second race we were all within a couple hundred millimeters of each other. It was also the same thing in the first race – second and third place were super, super close.” Patterson added

      South Australian Bob Schahinger continues to lead the Liberty but para-sailor Robert Crofts won the first race of the day and sits in second going into the final two days of racing. “We are a strong fleet and are fortunate enough to have the reigning world champion Bob Schahinger. We are very privileged to have him here and I was able to steal a win from him today and honoured to come second to Bob in every other race that we have sailed.” “We have some very experienced sailors here, including the state champion from Western Australia Tracy Odiam. She is the only female to represent this year, so a big credit to her for making the effort to come across. It is a small but quality fleet and a fantastic opportunity to get out and experience something big.” Bob Schahinger said.

      In other results, American world champions Mike Holt and Rob Woelfel continue to lead in the International 505 class, with South Australians Robin Deussen and David Snoad moving into second.
      Racing continues on Monday for day four of the event and with racing scheduled to commence from 2:00 p.m. at both Sail Melbourne International race venues Royal Brighton Yacht Club and Sandringham Yacht Club (Laser fleets).

      See all results here:
      See updated race schedule here:
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      • #4
        Wet and Wild Penultimate Day of Sail Melbourne International

        It was a challenging day for sailors and race management alike with multiple storm fronts passing through Melbourne on the penultimate day of Sail Melbourne International making for another wild and fun day for the majority of the classes. Despite the weather challenges several of the fleets managed to get all races in, while some were cancelled for the day due to high winds and sea stage. Amongst those abandoned were the para-sailing classes 2.4mR and Liberty, as well as the Laser 4.7 which were cancelled for the day before going out. The International 505 class did venture out, but with winds increasing, racing had to be abandoned and subsequently cancelled for the day.

        Tuesday will be the final day of Sail Melbourne International 2020 with another two races scheduled in most classes from 12:00 p.m.

        Laser Fleets

        Three races were scheduled across the Laser classes on Monday, but only the Laser Radial Gold and Silver fleets managed to get two races in. The Laser Standard fleet completed one race, while the Laser 4.7 were cancelled for the day.

        Laser Radial

        After concluding the qualifying round on Sunday, the fleet split up into gold and silver fleets and with two races on the scoreboard at the end of the day, there was a bit of movement on the leader board.
        Youth sailor Stefan Elliott-Shircore from Western Australia took over the overall lead of the fleet after winning both races of the day with his training partner, Australian Youth Team sailor and previous leader Michael Compton (WA) dropping into third (3, 5).

        Dutch Olympic champion in the Laser Radial Marit Bouwmeester goes into the final day of Sail Melbourne as the leader of the women after posting a second and third and dropping Sunday’s black-flagged race. Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy continued to move up the ranks and into second place of the women’s after posting a third and a fourth place. Italy’s Silvia Zennaro is ranked third.

        “I had a pretty good day today with a third in the first race and a fourth in the second race. It was really windy, hard conditions and I was happy enough with my consistency but a bit annoyed as well because I lost a few places around the course in both races. I didn’t make any major mistakes so I was happy in the end,” Annalise Murphy said. Dual Olympian Murphy only returned to the Radial last year, after a stint in the Volvo Ocean Race as well as in the skiff and has her eyes once again set on an Olympic medal at Tokyo 2020.

        “I’ve had an unconventional four-year cycle in this campaign, I did two full four year campaigns in the Laser Radial for London and Rio and I really needed a break and do something different after the Rio Olympics so I ended up doing the Volvo Ocean Race on “Turn the Tide of Plastic” and then I decided I wanted to sail a 49erFX which I did for 14 months. But I stopped after the Olympic Test Event last year to get back into the Radial to see if I could have a shot at getting another medal,” Murphy said about her Olympic campaign.

        Murphy has been enjoying being back on Port Phillip Bay in preparation for the 2020 ILCA Laser Radial Women’s World Championships at Sandringham Yacht Club in February (21-28 February 2020)
        “I’ve been to Melbourne quite a few times but the last time I did Sail Melbourne was 2011 just before the Worlds in Perth so it’s great to be back. It’s been very windy this week and I think this is the windiest regatta I have done in a long time. But it’s definitely good for me to be thrown out of my comfort zone because I haven’t sailed a boat in a long time and it’s a great preparation for the worlds in a month’s time.”

        Australian Sailing Squad’s Mara Stransky goes into the final day as the highest ranked Australian female in overall 13th and tenth female after posting a ninth place on Monday.
        “It was pretty wild, pretty windy, big waves and I had a bit on keeping up with the bigger guys and girls but I’m fairly happy with my day overall,” Stransky said.
        Two races are scheduled in the Laser Radial for the final day of Sail Melbourne on Tuesday.

        Laser Standard

        The Laser Standard once again only got one race in with three-time Olympian Jean-Baptist Bernaz continuing to lead the fleet ahead of the final day of racing.
        Australian Sailing Team’s Matt Wearn held on to his second place after a fourth place, while Britain’s Elliot Hansen moved up into third after winning Monday’s race.
        “It was another keeper today which was good,” Matt Wearn said, who has already been selected to represent Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the Laser.
        “It was a pretty rainy kind of day so it was nice to take a fourth place out of the single race we got in. Bit of a shame we couldn’t stay out for another one, but that’s laser sailing,” Wearn added.
        “My start wasn’t too bad, luckily we didn’t have as many general recalls as yesterday so we got away after the third start and I had a pretty clean one. It’s always nice here when the wind picks up and you get this south westerly with the nice, rolling waves so we had some enjoyable rides downwind and it was good fun,” Wearn said about the racing.
        “I think I’m a couple of points behind first going in to tomorrow and the points are pretty close behind me as well so hopefully we get three races in and get some good racing.”

        Australian Sailing Squad’s Luke Elliott is the second highest ranked Australian in sixth, with Norway’s Hermann Tomasgaard in seventh. “Today was quite hard with a lot of strong winds, really, a lot. It was fun but quite challenging and it was raining a lot in the second upwind so it was a bit difficult to see at times with the quite strong winds,” Tomasgaard described the challenging conditions.
        Like many of the international Laser sailors Tomasgaard has been spending quite a long time in Australia already to escape the European winter as well as to prepare for the 2020 ILCA Standard Men’s World Championships to take place at Sandringham Yacht Club 9-16 February 2020. “We have been training here already in November and December, so yeah, I’ve been staying here for over two months already,” Tomasgaard said.

        Rio Olympic champion Tom Burton finished the day ranked eleventh after posting a 25th.
        “It was another big day and it was a tough one for me. I’m just struggling with a bit of speed off the line but I’m in good positions off the line. I’m just lacking a bit of punch and definitely getting the fitness in with the racing here,” Tom Burton said


        The Olympic Finn class had two races with Norway’s Anders Pedersen getting two bullets in.
        “Today was good wind and some massive waves and doing the downwind was really great fun and it’s tight racing at the top. I’ve been struggling a bit with my gear early in the regatta, but got some of the pieces together today. Good job by the race committee to get two nice races in,” Pedersen said.
        Australian Sailing Squad’s Jake Lilley (QLD) still leads the fleet after posting a second and third (drop) and has a comfortable lead ahead of Nils Theuninck (SUI), with Pedersen following in third and Canadian Tom Ramshaw in fourth. Racing in the fleet are also Japan’s Yuki Nishio and Alex Kokumai who are making the most of Australian summer and Port Phillip’s conditions to get race practice in with both sailors vying for Japanese selection to represent their country at their home Olympic Games.

        “It’s winter in Japan and this regatta has strong winds which is good practice for us because we have to improve in the strong wind stuff. There are eight Finns in this regatta and everyone is very good, so it is a good event for us to try and improve for the Finn Gold Cup in Palma, which will be our final selection event,” Yuki Nishio said.

        “It’s a small fleet but a really high-level fleet. Every day is very windy and we really need that training, that’s why we came back to Melbourne,” Alex Kokumai added after the pair already trained and raced in Melbourne in December for the 2019 Finn Gold Cup at Royal Brighton Yacht Club.

        RS:X F/M

        All three scheduled races were completed in the mixed-fleet of the RS:X with Britain’s Tom Squires continuing to build his lead after winning the first and last race of the day and adding a fourth in race two of the day which was won by Korea’s Wonwoo Cho. Israel’s Yoav Omer holds on to his second place after a seven, two, five series with his fellow country-man following Tom Reuveny in third (3, 5, 2). Their team mate in the women’s Noy Drihan goes into the final day of racing as the leader of the women’s fleet after two bullets in the first and last race of the day and adding a second place to build her lead over Rio Olympic champion Charline Picon. Ahead of the final three races Picon is ranked second in the women’s after a seven, five, ten (drop) in Monday’s racing.

        Poland’s Maja Dziarnowska is following in third after winning race two in addition to a second and third place in the other two races of the day. “It was strong wind and the sea was very choppy and I liked it. I’m going into the last day with 16 points ahead of the Charline Picon from France and I’m excited about that. It’s good for me to see that I can be in front of an Olympic Champion,” Drihan said.

        The RS:X has attracted a world-class field with everyone utilising the event to prepare for the RS:X World Championships at Sorrento at the end of February.“We came here to prepare before the worlds and to do another competition and to practice, to practice our starts and up-winds and we are also trying different things. It is good competition and great that we have many sailors from the top fleet who came here.”


        With kite-foiling added to the Olympic program for Paris 2024, the 2020 Australian Kite-foiling Championships as part of Sail Melbourne have attracted a lot of interest with the kite-foilers enjoying the windy and wavy conditions on Monday and getting six races in. 17-year old Scott Whitehead from Townsville leads the fleet going into the final day after a total of 15 races so far. Whitehead took out four bullets in the first four races and finished second in the last two. The other two race wins went to Western Australians Andrew Cooksey (2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 3) and Philip Rowlands (3, 3, (7), 6, 4, 1).

        Defending national champion Breiana Whitehead continues to lead the women’s category and is ranked sixth overall in the mixed fleet after three fifth places. “Today was a pretty full on day on the kite course and we had some pretty full on waves and rain and cloud driven wind. Scotty Whitehead was up there again and we also saw a good push from the WA guys with Andrew Cooksey having really good day. We also saw some broken gear amongst the fleet with people having some big crashes and dives. From what I can tell everyone still had a really good time and it was really good to see everyone pushing their limits in what was survival conditions,” kite-foiling coach and former laser national-team sailor Ryan Palk (WA) said.

        “Everyone was enjoying the roller coaster even though there were some moments where I could hear a few screams across the race course. But also the rain, flying upwind, it’s like bullets in your face. You’re going 20 knots upwind so there were some pretty sore faces just from the smattering of the water onto the face,” Palk added about the day’s conditions.

        “I think after Tokyo (Olympic Games) it’s going to be interesting to see what other sailors will jump into the kite foil. There’s some really good crossover with sailors wanting to give kite foiling a go. Right now we’ve got some really good young talent coming through but in a year’s time we might have even more and I’m really hoping we do get a good group of solid riders together because the best thing about kite foiling is getting out together and having fun and learning together and we’re already doing that when we’re out,” Palk added with the Paris 2024 athlete development in mind.
        After only three races were completed on Sunday, another nine races are scheduled for the final day of the regatta which will wrap up on Tuesday.

        International 505

        While the para-sailing classes were cancelled before getting on the water, racing was abandoned for the International 505 Class when the winds increased. “We probably got about a minute out of starting, we were all lining up and then they had to abandon it for the day. It was good fun though while it lasted with good waves, plenty of gusts. So it’s a bit of a sad day for us. We lost two races out of our series but tomorrow it’s going to be lighter so we are going to have to make up for it then. It’s been a windy series but it’s been good fun,” local 505 sailor James Ryssenbeek said, who is currently placed in the middle of the fleet together with Andrew McCole.

        American world champions Mike Holt and Rob Woelfel are the leaders going into the final day of the Australian International 505 class Championships with South Australians Robin Deussen and David Snoad in second and top-ranked Australians.

        Over 300 competitors from 25 countries are competing at Sail Melbourne International with racing to continue on Tuesday for the fifth and final day of the day of the event and with racing scheduled to commence from 12:00 p.m. at both Sail Melbourne International race venues Royal Brighton Yacht Club and Sandringham Yacht Club (Laser fleets).

        See all results here:

        See updated race schedule here:

        For more information about Sail Melbourne International head to
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