The first morning of racing in the greatly anticipated Perth International Regatta provided the Men’s Full Rig Laser sailors with challenging conditions until the sea breeze filled in for the second race.
At the end of the morning session and two races, the joint leaders were ISAF seventh ranked sailor Tonci Stipanovic of CROATIA and Maxim Semerkhanov of RUSSIA, who is outside the top ten ISAF rankings. They were followed by Nick Thompson of GREAT BRITAIN who is ranked as World Number Three.
Other key favourites, such as Paul Goodison of GREAT BRITAIN was in fifth place, with recently crowned ISAF Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby from AUSTRALIA in 13th.
The morning Laser fleet also included some of the participants in the Perth 2011 Emerging Nations programme which is designed to encourage and assist developing sailing nations to participate in the Olympic Sailing Competition.
ENP program member Andrew Lewis of TRINIDAD commented that it was a mixed day.
“I started off having a good race but didn’t finish off as I would like,” Lewis said. “The second race was better in the strong winds. I am with the ENP program for Perth 2011, it has helped me a lot to get where I want to be. Thanks to Perth 2011, this will be a successful event.”
Peter Cook from the COOK ISLANDS, who was also part of the programme, won the National Championships in his own country. After attending the programme, he has achieved a Bronze Medal in Laser Full Rig with his next aim to qualify for the Perth 2011 World Championships.
“Australia is a great place to sail,” Cook said. “With the ENP program just finished two weeks ago, this regatta is a build up to Perth 2011 – it’s great”.