The first race of the 48th Musto Contender Nationals, hosted by the Illawarra Yacht Club on the waters of Lake Illawarra, was sailed yesterday in varying winds that ranged from 10 to 28 knots.

In what was a challenging day on the water with such a wide range of breeze strengths, there was plenty of action and a lot of position changes throughout the fleet.

There was a delayed start due to the 30-plus knots sweeping the course and most competitors were able to get away cleanly, with the exception of multiple-time world champion Andrea Bonezzi and second-place getter at last years worlds, Jason Beebe, both ending up with an OCS disqualification.

The leader for most of the race, Matt Mulder, was caught in a hole on the last run and had the embarrassment of a rare capsize only metres from the finish, which saw Mark Bulka sail his usual flawless race to come through and take the gun from Mulder in second.

South Australian Sam Reid was third while Queenslanders Josh Mortenson and Steve Wilson were very close behind them.

Steve Wilson won sailor of the day and received a prized CST Composites tiller extension donated by sponsor CST.

Thankfully there was no major damage reported by any competitors, so the fleet will have an early 11am start today to make up for the lost race with plenty of wind predicted again.