The potential for chaos was high with as many as 15 catamarans flying around Marstrand, Sweden, at the M32 world championships, but Kiwi Chris Steele was able to stay out of trouble and lead the competition after the first day.
Steele and his CFA Sport Racing Team posted four good results - 1, 2, 4, 1 - to be level on points with Olympic Finn sailing veteran Pieter-Jan Postma and his Sailing Team NL.
Aon Fast Track member Olivia Mackay, who is helming the Magenta Robline team, wasn't so lucky, being involved in a crash with Essiq Racing Team and also copping a points penalty after a protest hearing.
Mackay was less than happy with the outcome. “It was a port starboard, we thought we could make it," she is quoted as saying on mysailing.com.au. "We were about half a metre short of crossing and we couldn’t believe it when they sliced straight through our rack.”
Steele, who is a regular on the Extreme Sailing Series and World Match Racing Tour, prospered on the first of four days but he and his crew were aware of what was happening around him.
“I don't think we've ever had 15 M32s on a reaching start line and in that much breeze before," teammate and fellow Kiwi Hayden Goodrick said. "It makes for some pretty interesting chaos. I definitely heard a few bangs and crashes at times, fortunately enough we weren't amongst that. We got some clean starts and that led to some good results for us.
"We felt like we were in a nice groove, had some really good speed both upwind and dowwind and we tried to stay away from the chaos and that worked in our favour."
Phil Robertson, the third New Zealand helm in the fleet with the China One Ningbo team, was fifth on 19 points, 11 points adrift of the leaders.
There are no discards in the competition, which means Ian Williams and his British crew, one of the pre-regatta favourites, have a mountain to climb after suffering gear damage and missing two races. They are 12th on 45 points.
Standings after the first day of the M32 world championships in Marstrand, Sweden, overnight (NZT):
CFA SPORT RACING (NZL) - Chris Steele - 8 pts
SAILING TEAM NL (NED) - Pieter-Jan Postma - 8 pts
WARRER RACING (DEN) - Jonas Warrer - 13 pts
CONVEXITY (USA) - Don Wilson - 19 pts
CHINAone NINGBO (NZL) - Phil Robertson - 19 pts
SECTION 16 (SUI) - Richard Davies - 27 pts
REDLINE RACING (AUS) - Matt Jerwood - 30 pts
KSSS (SWE) - Rasmus Rosengren - 33 pts
GRAVE DIGGER (USA) - James Prendergast - 38 pts
FLUX TEAM (SWE) - Johnie Berntsson - 39 pts
GAZPROM TEAM RUSSIA (RUS) - Victor Serezhkin - 43 pts
GAC PINDAR - (GBR) - Ian Williams - 45 pts
ESSIQ RACING TEAM (SWE) - Nicklas Dackhammar - 48 pts
CAPE CROW VIKINGS (SWE) - Håkan Svensson - 52 pts
MAGENTA ROBLINE (GBR) - Olivia Mackay - 59 pts