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Gill Noelex Australian Championship at Royal Geelong Yacht Club - Day 1

by Mike Williams on 20 May 20-21 May 2017
Gill Noelex Australian Championship day 1 © Mike Williams

Day one of the 2017 Gill Noelex Australian Championships started off well on a perfect Autumn day on Corio Bay. The 15 starters launched early on Saturday morning, and by lunchtime, there was a 5-10 knot breeze coming across the Bay from the North.

Five-time National Champion Glenn Collings, sailing Leewana got out of the blocks early to lead around the course convincingly in a fickle breeze, playing to the left-hand breeze. Duncan Hayward, bringing his team of Matt Owen as skipper and Andrew Reed with him from Canberra Yacht Club, started on the pin but was called over by the RGYC Race Committee, led by Steve Neunhoffer. After restarting, Duncan, on Quo Vadis was able to get back up to second place after some great sailing, as the course was shortened after two laps as the breeze dropped out.

In a dying and shifty breeze for the second start, Quo Vadis Skipper Matt Owen played the left, and with the new breez coming in from there, they were well positioned at the top mark. Glenn Collings was second at the top, with Toby Leppin, skippering Silver Shadow rounding third. Glenn Collings tacked right again up the second work, allowing Toby Leppin to move up to second as the breeze went left again, while the Quo Vadis team consolidated their lead at the finish.

With the breeze settling at a steady 280 degrees for the third and final race, Glenn Collings was back in form, leading at the first mark, with a tight group of boats including Frontliner, skippered by Brad Jones, Matt Ross in Raku, and David Philipps in Running Free. In a steady 8-10 knots, Glenn Collings pulled away for a win, and Brad Jones showing some great consistency with a 2, 4, 4 for the day. Davis Philipps was lifted up to 3rd, and third overall for the day. Matt Owen finished 3rd, but was called OCS, dropping them down to fourth overall after day one.

Series leader, Glenn Collings, sailing with Dale Collings and Warren Slater said, "Its standard shifty and testing conditions in Geelong, but the results are close after Day one. It's great to get in nice and early to have a few beers."

With a 0925 First warning on Sunday, and another calm Autumn day forecast, the race management is thankful that with three races already done, enough races have been run to have completed a series.