Sailors were faced with a challenging day on the water today for the first day of the Musto South Australian Optimist States, hosted by the Wallaroo Sailing Club in regional South Australia.
The day started with light and shift offshore breezes in the morning, which forced an early postponement on the Open course as the breeze looked to find a consistent direction.
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After some shifts to the start line and the course, principal race officer Tracy Heritage finally got racing underway in a very light easterly, which caused a bit of a lottery up the first work.
It proved to be the only race for the morning for the Open fleet, while the Intermediate and Green fleets were able to get two races in.
The breeze swung out to the traditional sea breeze direction for the afternoon and gave the competitors a little bit of added excitement as all fleets were able to add an additional two races before the conditions became challenging yet again.
The race officers are looking to get six more races in for the Open fleet to get up to the planned nine races, while the Intermediate and Green fleets only need a further five races.
After what was a challenging day where only three races were able to be sailed, the ever consistent Quinn Auricht in Always Watchin’ and the talented Ben Hinks in Zig Zag snuck out to a slender lead ahead of the rest of the pack, locked on 7 points apiece.
Just behind the top two after the first day of racing was Alexi Wigglesworth in Knockout, trailing the top two by 6 points.
It seemed as though the day was a difficult one and a fair chunk of the top end of the fleet are forced the carry bad results, so it will be interesting come tomorrow if a drop comes into play.
Myles Wilson in Outrun the Gun, Jonas Barrett in Sharky and Harry Higgins in Hurricane are all around the mark and if they have solid days tomorrow could slingshot themselves into the top three quite easily.
As a new trial for this year, the Intermediate fleet was incorporated into the Green fleet course to encourage more Green fleet sailors to step up.
With a total of 13 boats competing in the Intermediate fleet, the racing was close and competitive throughout the entire day and the conditions were incredibly challenging in close to shore.
After the four races today Finlay Bunt in Sculli leads the way ahead of Albert Howard in Gustly in second and Connor O’Brien in Squid in third.
Ian Irwin in Complete Oblivion and Charlie Piro in Calypso are on equal points in fourth and fifth but are hot on the heels of the top three, which should make for an interesting conclusion tomorrow.
The Green fleet racing is always a highlight and the improvement shown by the sailors throughout the season has been awesome to see.
For the state championship, the sailors are also sailing a slightly larger course than at previous events this year, which goes to show how well they can adapt.
Fraser Baker in Thunder leads the way with three wins from the four races and has been sailing well in the challenging conditions.
Closely following him is John Napier in Sea Serpent in second and Matt Bigham in Green Dragon in third.
All the competitors are sailing really well and it will be interesting to see how the results pan out tomorrow.