The atmosphere has changed since the pre-world’s Australian Nationals at McCrae Yacht Club on the Mornington Peninsula with tension in the air and the boat park quiet as sailors underwent last minute tweaks to eke out a few more fractions of speed for day one, which took place yesterday.
Principal Race Officer Peter Merritt took the fleet left to Rosebud in search of wind and promptly started the first race with 90 boats and six previous world champions. The usual Australian suspects, Jason Beebe, Mark Bulka and Jono Neate rounded the windward mark in quick succession stretching ahead to battle to the finish.
Beebe led for most of the race until the last downwind gate when the split came and Bulka went right while Beebe went left. It was nip and tuck until the finish with boats covering each other allowing the 2016 world champion, local McCrae Yacht Club sailor, Mark Bulka, to take the bullet. Jono Neate quietly sailing in clear air took second with Jason Beebe bringing up the rear in third.
The planned second race was abandoned due to lack of wind but today’s racing is looking like perfect conditions for three back-to-back races – keep up to date with all of the action via Race Tracker Live: www.contenders.sailracer.org.
Results available HERE and videos by VR Sport Media.