by Craig Heydon
Tom Slingsby’s World Championship title defence is off to an ideal start, with the Australian ending day one of the 2012 Laser World Championship with a perfect scorecard.
Tom Slingsby on day one of racing at the 2012 Laser World Championships - photo Nils Bergmann
Slingsby, a four-time world title winner, claimed both races on the opening day to sit two points clear at the top of the ladder at the 2012 Laser World Championships in Boltenhagen, Germany.
'We had a light offshore breeze which made it a very tricky day but it was a good day for me, I sailed well to win both races,' said Slingsby. 'In race one I started well, rounded fourth and went on to win.
'Then in race two I had a bad start and wasn’t doing great,' he said. 'Coming into the top mark I got a good right hand shift off the shore and was able to round second and catch the leader.
'I sailed well but I also had a bit of luck which was very handy,' said Slingsby. 'It was one of those days where I was lucky a few things went my way.'
After a week of training in strong conditions in northern Germany the 168 entrants were faced with lighter breeze on day one of racing, between five and nine knots for the majority of the day.
'It was very different to training today,' said Slingsby. 'I made sure I was first on the water and did a good hour of practice before the first race. In hindsight that really helped me change back to light wind mode.
'Overall it was a really good day, I’m off to a good start but there are 12 more races to go,' he said. 'Plenty left in this one.'
(Beijing Olympic Laser Gold medalist Paul Goodison (GBR) is not so happy he was carded his first race and is currently 95th overall. He will be hanging out for the drop)
At the end of day one Slingsby is joined in the top 10 by two Australian team mates with Tom Burton sixth overall and Ashley Brunning 10th.
'Tom and Ash have really stepped things up,' said Slingsby. 'The Aussies are strong in all conditions so I think we will have a good event here.'
Burton, who has started his 2012 campaign with good results at the ISAF Sailing World Cup rounds in Spain and France, began the regatta with a 13th before finishing up the order with a second in race two to leave him sixth overall.
Literally nothing separates positions six through to 10 with the five sailors all tied on 15 points.
Ashley Brunning sits in 10th on a count back after beginning his 2012 Laser World Championships with a ninth and a sixth.
Ryan Palk is the next best placed Australian in 18th overall with the Queenslander crossing the line in fourth and 18th in Friday’s two races.
James Burman is 62nd, ahead of Ki-Raphael Sulkowski in 129th, Matthew Wearn in 138th, Jared West in 156th and Klade Hauschildt in 165th.
Racing continues in Germany on Saturday with the 2012 Laser World Champion to be crowned on Thursday 10 May.
Full results can be found at www.laserworldchampionship.com.