Richard Langdon /

Souter and Lehtinen lead after day one

Perth 2011 gets underway with the opening rounds of the Women's Match Racing

Saturday December 3rd 2011, Author: Will Davies, Location: Australia

The first day of competition at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships saw Fremantle’s Inner Harbour come to life with the Women’s Match Racing crews setting sail in stifling 36°C heat.

Nicky Souter's and Finn Silja Lehtinen led the day’s racing.

Despite difficult conditions and shifty winds as the day progressed, world number one Anna Tunnicliffe sailed true to form, leading her team to win three of three.

“It was extremely tricky, the wind was very very shifty but it provided interesting conditions and kept you on your game,” Tunnicliffe said.

The first flight of the day saw world number five, Nicky Souter in a neck-and-neck battle with the Portugal team, taking the lead mere metres from the finish line.

Likewise, Lehtinen's team, ranked world number nine, found competition difficult against their first opponents from Canada, with the finish very close.

World number 10, France's Anne Claire le Berre could have started better, winning only two of four races, with lower ranked teams beating them over the finish line.

After a morning of hot easterlies, the onset of a cooler mid-afternoon sea breeze delayed the races while the course was moved closer to the ocean and away from the stands.

The afternoon’s first flight, flight five, saw superb tactics from the Canadian team causing an unexpected win against the Russian world number sixes.

Tunnicliffe described the afternoon’s conditions as light, but also very puffy and very shifty, saying “if you got a good start and were able to sail the shifts you had an easier time.”

Women’s Match Racing continues in the Inner Harbour Sunday from 1000 with the beginning of racing in Group B.

Group A flights eight, nine and ten will resume on Monday morning, 5 December.

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