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Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta - Day 1

by Hana Hielkema 4 Feb 2017 12:25 GMT 4-6 February 2017

Sailors of all ages from across New Zealand and overseas took to the water for the start of the inaugural Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta which kicked off on Auckland's North Shore today.

Whilst it may have been a sweltering day onshore, a refreshing southerly breeze greeted some 140 competitors to head out from Murrays Bay Sailing Club in New Zealand's premiere regatta for youth and Olympic sailing classes.

For some members of the NZL Sailing Team who returned from the Rio Olympics just five months ago, this was their first event since the games.

"Today for us was just about getting back out there and enjoying the day. We're loving being at Murrays Bay with all the new fantastic club facilities as well. commented two-handed men's 470 class and Rio Olympian Daniel Willcox.

The 470 crew says the event provides a great chance to see future sailors coming through the ranks, and has a relaxed attitude towards their goals for the weekend.

"For us this regatta is about mixing and mingling with the younger generation and encouraging them to step from youth classes in to Olympic sailing. We're really enjoying chatting to kids and being out there on the water with them, as well as promoting sailing as a sport," he says.

Helm Paul Snow-Hansen says it's been good to have some time to reflect since finishing the games in Rio, but they're ready to get back on the water and enjoy racing in home waters.

The pair came close to having a clean sweep of the scoreboard today, with a results string of 1,2,1 following three races.

"We would have liked to have taken away all the wins but it's still good. We knew we were going to be rusty at some things," says Snow-Hansen.

Also making their first appearance on the water together since Rio were 49erFX Silver medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech, who head into day two with a strong lead, claiming four wins in their races today.

A strong international contingent is also amidst the fleets with sailors from Switzerland, Fiji, China and Korea up against the kiwi sailors across ten fleets of Olympic and Youth sailing classes.

Between two and four races were completed as scheduled across the 420, 470, 29er, 49er, 49erFX, Finn, Laser, Laser Radial, Nacra 17 and RS:X classes which were split between two race courses.

Points are tight at the top for some of the fleets, with two days of competition remaining. See full results [PDF].

Racing is scheduled from 11am tomorrow with plenty more action set to unfold on the Hauraki Gulf.

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