Wind and waves wreak havoc on Day Three of Sail Melbourne

Published Sat 02 Dec 2023

A classic Melbourne south to south-westerly wind of 16 to 22 knots saw sailors battling whitecaps and an increased sea state of 1-meter waves at a wet and wild Sail Melbourne today.

After two days of a warmer northerly, the southerly change saw several competitors limp to shore on a day not for the faint of heart.

Victorian ILCA 6 athlete Casey Imeneo rode her knowledge of the Port Phillip conditions to a pair of keeper results in today’s two races.

“We had a big southerly with big waves and big winds, so it was quite a physical day. You had to give no inch,” said Imeneo.

“I got a two and one and we had some close racing with the other Aussie girls, so happy to come away with a clean day.”

It was another good day for athletes already atop the standings, with Matt Wearn (ILCA 7), Hector Paturau (Men’s Kitefoil), Breiana Whitehead (Women’s Kitefoil), Grae Morris (Men’s iQFOiL) and Samantha Costin (Women’s iQFOiL) among those to extend their leads today.

Brooke Wilson CREDIT Beau Outteridge

Sail Melbourne is doubling as the Victorian Para Sailing Championships, but due to the heavy sea state there was no racing in the 2.4mR class today. Local Royal Brighton Yacht Club sailor Neil Patterson leads the class into the final day of racing tomorrow.

“In the end the fleet decided not to go out because of the sea state which means we will have four to five races on shorter courses tomorrow,” said Patterson.

“After the drop there are three or four sailors who can win the regatta, so it is really going to come down to who is the most consistent tomorrow. It could be anyone’s regatta.”

Today was the first day of the Optimist competition at Sail Melbourne, with Victorian Augustas Buividas sweeping the Optimist Open class with three straight bullets (race wins).

Optimist Class Day One CREDIT Beau Outteridge

Royal Brighton Yacht Club Life Member and two-time Olympic sailor John Bertrand AO was on hand to keep his eye on the next generation of Australian sailing stars.

“The Olympic program looks pretty good,” said Bertrand. 

“It’s on track with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of youth coming through, and the feeder system that Australian Sailing has put together is impressive.”

Bertrand is also Patron of the Team Australia Challenge for the 2024 Youth and Women’s America’s Cups in Barcelona.

“We have a very close relationship with the Olympic coaching program through Michael (Blackburn) and the team,” continued Bertrand. “They are helping us in the training and preparation of our teams for the America’s Cups. There is cross-pollination and a sharing of ideas, so with Victor (Paya Canal) heavily involved it is also stimulating for the 49er and 49erFX programs.”

Racing resumes for all classes at midday AEDT tomorrow, with a shifting forecast creating uncertainty on what weather to expect.

“The forecast keeps changing, initially it was looking light tomorrow,” finished Imeneo.

“There may be a sea breeze later in the day, but it’s Melbourne, you’ll get four seasons in one day.”

Sail Melbourne is supported by the Victorian Government.

Visit the Sail Melbourne website for more information on the regatta, and view a full list of results here.