Mitre 10 NZ Laser Nationals Day 1 - A benign start

New Plymouth was on its best behaviour today for the first day of the 2020 Mitre 10 NZ Laser Nationals. As forecast, beautiful blue skies greeted the sailors and the mornings fresh easterly died out as the fleet were on their way to the start line and after about 45 minutes a light 5-8 knot SW sea breeze established itself and stabilised enough for racing to get underway. The breeze held for the afternoon, with wind against tide creating a small chop and there was just enough of a ground swell to remind us that we are on the open ocean. With the tide under the fleet for the starts there were several general recalls and a few unfortunately fell foul of the dreaded black flag. However in the end 2 excellent races were completed for all fleets, although PRO Jamie Sutherland clearly decided that he would not let us off too easily and set an extra length challenge for the second race!
In the Standards the conditions clearly suited the younger sailors, with U21Luke Cashmere from Wakatere moving up from winning the Youth Radials last year to lead the fleet after a perfect 2 bullets, to establish a handy early advantage over Worser Bays Albert Stanley (U21). He is followed by Korean visitor Jin Hwan Lee, who is tied on points with Torbay's Harrison Baker (U21). First of the masters in the combined Standard fleet is World Apprentice Masters champion Dave Ridley (AM) from Pupuke in 6th. He is closely followed by GM Rohan Lord and past Masters champion Andrew Dellabarca (M). Master Greg Wilshire was the talk of the boat park as he managed to sail, and sail well, with a massive bruised posterior after an accident when loading the boat on the trailer in Auckland for the trip down!
In the Radial fleet Murrays Bay's Caleb Armit (Y) also showed real class in the conditions to dominate with two race wins. Second overall is leading womens contender Courtney Reynolds-Smith who was really consistent with a third and a forth to lead Lachlan Dillon from Tauranga, who is tied with this years Corston clan rep Harry, by 3 points. Leading the youth girls is Emily Overend from Queen Charlotte in 8th overall. She has to be super pleased with her day as she is just 2 points behind our top womens sailor from the last Olympic cycle, Sara Winther, who has come back into the fleet for this contest.
In the Radial Masters fleet Phil Wild (AM) from Manly completed the triple for the fleet leaders with two firsts but is closely followed by defending champion, Worser Bays Ed Tam (M) who has a one point lead over Hamilton's Scott McDougall (GM). Leading the Women's Masters is Lucia Chagas in 8th overall. Muritai's Jeff Booth is the leading GGM and it was inspirational to see 80 year old Sandy Grigg on the start line for yet another year.
Conditions for tomorrow are forecast to be similar to today's so it will be interesting to see if todays fleet leaders, all of whom were dominant in their respective fleets today, can continue their run of success tomorrow.