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Busy weekend for Australia's top sailors

3 July 2015

SAILING: The 2015 Laser World Championships (2-8 July) kicked off in Kingston, OT, Canada overnight with Australian Sailing Team’s Matthew Wearn (WA) the stand out Australian with two convincing race wins and taking the lead on the results board.

The current World #2 and Australian Sailing Team’s youngest athlete at 19-years of age had two convincing performances showing his strength in the breeze, leading through the races and finishing each in first. All six Australian boats posted scores to keep them between the top 30 overall after the first race day. World #1 Tom Burton had an average start to the event with a 19th place in the first race of the split fleet. A fourth place recovery in race two sees him in overall 29th after day one.
 
Both Wearn and Burton are vying for the Australian spot at next year’s Rio Olympic Games, with ISAF regulations permitting countries only one entrant per nation. In the first instance though, the battle is on over the selection spot for the Rio Test event in August with the Laser World Championship the final regatta in a series of selection events for both sailors.
 
Two races are scheduled at the Laser Worlds each day with the event running over seven days from July 2 to Wednesday, 8 July.

2015 470 Open European Championships ((29 June – 4 July 2015)
At the 2015 470 Open European Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, World #1 and defending Open European Champions Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD) made the qualification series difficult for themselves, with a few high point results, but brought on the performance of the day when it counted. They had two race wins on Thursday (3 July), day four of the event, which after a total of nine races places them in fourth, just one point behind the third ranked Greeks.

“We were probably expecting a bit more breeze than we actually we got. It’s been a difficult week for all of us," said Belcher.

"For the top guys, the expectation and pressure coming into this event, means we all have to pull out some pretty good results. We are really happy.

“We put ourselves in a difficult position this week, but we have come back from some pretty difficult circumstances over the years. We have to produce some pretty good results and we don’t have any other options.”
 
Two more races are scheduled for all fleets on Friday, 3 July, before the final top ten medal race on Saturday, 4 July.
 
Aarhus, Denmark will then continue its series of Olympic sailing championships with the Nacra 17 World Championship racing to start on Sunday, 5 July

2015 Nacra 17 World Championship (5-10 July 2015)
Four Australian Sailing teams will contest the 2015 Nacra 17 World Championship in the mixed multihull catamaran Nacra 17, which will premiere on the Olympic program in 2016. The event will also be an important selection event to decide who will contest the 2015 Rio test event in August.

At the recent ISAF Sailing World Cup in Weymouth and Portland in June Australian Sailing Team’s 2014 World Championship bronze medallists Jason Waterhouse (NSW) and Lisa Darmanin (NSW) set the first mark by winning the gold medal, which put them into the World #1 spot on the ISAF World Rankings.  But current World #4 and Olympic silver medallists Darren Bundock (NSW) and Nina Curtis (NSW) were not far behind winning bronze.
 
The third crew in the mix are Australian Sailing Squad’s Olympic medallist Lucinda Whitty (NSW) and Euan McNicol (NSW) who finished 13th in Weymouth and Portland. Completing the Australian contingent at Aarhus in the 69-boat fleet is Australian Sailing’s Youth Bridging team of Paul Darmanin (NSW) and Lucy Copeland (NSW).

“The weather is amazing in Aarhus Denmark with tops of 30 degrees giving us awesome sailing conditions,” said Waterhouse.

“Lisa and I always set ourselves high expectations so we are going into this regatta with one goal, which is to become World Champions.

“We have a tough fleet and the conditions are suggesting a high point scoring regatta so consistency will win this regatta.”

After a gold medal at Weymouth and moving to the top of the World rankings the cousins will be amongst the favourites going into high-quality field including their Australian Sailing Team mates as well as current World Champions from France Billy Besson and Marie Riou.

Asked about the favourite role and the pressure coming with the internal selection battle on the road to the Rio 2016 Olympic regatta Waterhouse confidently says:

“This event comes with the pressures of both Olympic and Test Event qualification, but we have learnt to sail with pressure in the past and this has to become a skill as we plan on winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games and I’m sure the pressure will be immense there.

“The plan is to keep it simple and once you put Lisa and I on the boat each day it seems to fade away and racing becomes natural.

“We had a great win in SWC Weymouth and are ranked number 1 in the world so I guess we are one of the favourites. We will just go sailing and see how we go!”
 
The Nacra 17 World Championship will run from 5-10 July with a three-day qualification series, two days of final races plus the final medal race on Friday, 10 July.

Sailing Australia

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