Early lead for Ashby
The event has drawn a fleet of 81 entries from 12 nations. Among this year's line up are America's Cup teams, with both Emirates Team New Zealand and Artemis Racing sending sailors, this event being the ideal extension for any America’s Cup winter training.
Emirates Team New Zealand has entered their its newest team members, Olympians Pete Burling and Blair Tuke, as well as 2013 America’s Cup crewmen, Glenn Ashby, tactician Ray Davies, plus Pete Melvin, Luc Dubois and Nat Shaver. Stand-out among this line-up is Glenn Ashby, the all-time most successful A-Cat sailor with seven World Championship wins behind him. Chris Nicholson, skipper of the team’s Camper entry in the Volvo Ocean Race was a late entrant skippering Dean Barker’s catamaran after the ETNZ's skipper withdrawal, in order to focus on the Extreme Sailing Series beginning next week in Singapore.
Artemis Racing entered its Australian helmsman, London 2012 49er gold medallist, Nathan Outteridge.
Today, in typical near perfect Auckland sailing conditions, the wind dropped for the start of the first race turning light and shifty. Outteridge seemed to have control of the race when he rounded the top mark with a lead of 30 seconds, before choosing the left hand side of the course where he sailed into a hole and dropped to an eventual twelfth place finish.
Glenn Ashby passed Outteridge to finish first ahead of Great Grand Master Scott Anderson (AUS) and Brad Collett (AUS).
The wind increased slightly for the second race; the gauge showing a 7.2 knot average with gusts of 12 knots which saw those with more aggressive foils making the most of any increases in pressure. In this Outteridge dominated providing another masterful sailing display on his downwind leg, and winning ahead of Ashby (AUS) with Steve Brewin (AUS) third. Later Peter Burling (NZL) was elevated to third when it was found that Steve Brewin was black flagged at the start.
Nathan Outteridge stated: “The foils used today were aggressive and give a bit of extra lift.”
In the overall points standings Glenn Ashby leads (3) from Scott Anderson (7) Andrew Landenberger (11).