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Sailing World Cup Melbourne wrap

11 December 2015

SAILING: The second day of the Sailing World Cup Melbourne saw more exciting racing across nine Olympic classes out of the new St Kilda Sailing precinct.

Port Phillip welcomed the sailors with a lighter breeze that started out around eight knots and built to 16 for the fleets racing in the afternoon.

In the Olympic classes, Australian Sailing’s up and coming young guns made the most of the day to build their positions at the top of the fleets with two more race days to go before the top-ten Medal Race on Sunday, December 13 2015.

Australian Sailing Squad’s Laser sailors cemented their spot in the top five in the 35-boat fleet with Mitchell Kennedy (QLD) moving into third and overtaking yesterday’s leading teammate Luke Elliott (WA), who suffered a black flag in the second race and dropped into fourth as a consequence.

“We arrived in a lighter breeze then it slightly built, up to around 12 knots. It was nice to rest the legs after yesterday. Today more sailors were in the mix and it was tight racing with an oscillating breeze; it was about staying in the shifts and seeing how you went. I managed to post an eighth and fifth, so two keepers. This pushed me into third and I’m happy to still be in the game,” Mitch Kennedy said.

And about the calibre of the fleet he added: “The fleet has been pretty good and we all like to think of it as the ‘young gun showdown’. There are a couple of younger guys here who are having a crack, and some Kiwis and some Canadians have travelled downunder, which has been really good. Today certainly mixed it up a bit.

“I guess tomorrow with the stronger breeze forecast we’ll see again what happens. It might be an Aussie showdown once again.”

In the Women’s RS:X Joanna Sterling (QLD), who only recently secured Rio 2016 country qualification in the at the class’ World Championship in Oman last month, has been on a winning streak ever since arriving in Melbourne. With the next class World Championship in February, the 23-year old windsurfer is using Melbourne as a welcome racing opportunity with Rio selection her ultimate goal for next year.

“I just got back from my class world championships where I managed to qualify the country for a place at Rio 2016, which was one of my biggest goals for this year.”

“With my next world champs so soon, Melbourne is a great opportunity to get as much racing practice in as possible and gain some more experience. So far the racing has been going really well.

“Today, I came away with three wins and added those to my three wins yesterday. I’m pretty well out in front in first place at the moment and looking forward to the next few days,” Jo Sterling said.

In the Laser Radial, Australian Sailing Squad’s Ashley Stoddart is in the same situation. The 22 year-old Queenslander qualified the class at the Radial World Championship in Oman last month and is building her race experience in Melbourne with the aim to secure selection for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

After starting the event in the lead, Stoddart sits in second after New Zealand’s Susannah Pyatt took home two wins today.

“It was interesting racing. It was puffy and a little bit unstable at first and then the wind settled down. The racing was tighter than yesterday and the Kiwi had a good day. I tried to chase her down in both races but she sailed really well. There were a few things to take away from today and to work on tomorrow,” Ashley Stoddart said.

Australian Sailing’s Youth Team sailor Jacinta Ainsworth (WA) also had a strong day and moved up into fourth in the 19-boat fleet.

In the 49er, Australian Sailing Team’s David Gilmour (WA) and Rhys Mara (VIC) posted another two race wins from three races to defend their lead with Australian Sailing Squad’s Will and Sam Phillips close behind in second.

In the 49erFX women’s skiff, Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Caitlin (WA) continue to lead after two race wins and enjoyed today’s combined men’s and women’s fleets.

“There’s only three of us in the FX fleet and today they decided to start the 49er and FX together, which was a lot better. It puts more pressure on the girls and we can practice more things. The guys are aggressive on the start line and put some pressure on us. We had some really good starts,” Tess Lloyd explained.

“And that’s what we wanted to focus on today and we really nailed some things and kept up with the boys upwind. It was good fun having them as a target to beat.”

In other Australian Sailing results Carrie Smith (WA) and Jaime Ryan (QLD) as well as Patrick and Alexander Conway (NSW) continue to lead the 470 Women’s and Men’s fleets after taking out both races of the day.

Racing will resume on Friday, 11 December from 12:00 (470M/W, 49er/FX, Finn, 2.4mR) followed by the afternoon session from 14:30 (Laser, Laser Radial, RSX, SKUD18, Sonar). With strong wind forecast this schedule will be confirmed in the morning.

 

DAY 1

Melbourne put on a great day for the Sailing World Cup’s first races across the nine Olympic and three Paralympic classes on Port Phillip.

Starting out in 10-12 knots the breeze picked-up quickly, moving into the twenties and making for great and challenging racing across the fleets.

In the Olympic classes, Australian Sailing Team’s David Gilmour (WA) and Rhys Mara (VIC) kicked off the event with two bullets and a third to be leading the 49er fleet after three races.

“We got out there and started sailing pretty well and got two firsts in the first two races and finished it off with a third in the windier race. It’s really good to be back in Australia and to go out sailing in some really great conditions. It’s good to get back to the front of the fleet and back into our winning ways after a slightly disappointing worlds (24th),” Rhys Mara said.

On the conditions he added: “The first two races were in sort of moderate conditions, shifty, trying to go the sea breeze direction. It picked up quite significantly and we got a bit of the true Melbourne conditions, a few waves and a few puffs and everyone had a good time. There were a few capsizes by the other boys, but thankfully not us.”

The Sailing World Cup Melbourne is taking place out of St Kilda sailing precinct for the first time and everyone is enjoying the new central location.

“St Kilda is a different venue. We’re rigging right on the beach into calm waters and it’s good to get up the street and enjoy some of St Kilda and typical Melbourne.”

Victorian brothers Will and Sam Phillips finished the day ranked second, while Australian Sailing Team’s Joel Turner is ranked fourth after his first race day with new crew, 29er World Champion Tom Siganto (QLD).

“There’s obviously a lot of boat handling stuff we can work on just because we’re a new combination, and we still made some tactical errors. It was a tricky race course but a nice challenging day,” Turner said.

“We managed a third in the first race and then the breeze started to pick up a little bit which was a nice challenge for us, definitely plenty of fun and we worked hard to get around the track without tipping the boat over. It’s a much smaller fleet to what we’ve been sailing against at the worlds recently, but there are still a lot of good sailors here, a lot of young guys and a lot of talent so I think it’s going to be a tough week,” Turner added.

In the 49erFX Australian Sailing squad’s Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Caitlin Elks (WA) kicked off the regatta in the lead after two race wins and a third.

Australian Sailing’s 49er squad just returned to Australia having finished the 49er World Championships in Argentina at the end of November. The team is enjoying time on home waters before heading across to the USA for the next World Cup in Miami at the end of January followed by the 2016 49er World Championships in Clearwater in February.

In the 470, Australian Sailing Squad’s Alexander and Patrick Conway started the event with two straight race wins and are leading the fleet after day one. After coming second to teammates Angus Galloway (QLD) and Joshua Dawson at the 470 nationals, which wrapped up on the weekend, the pair was very happy with the result:

"That was an ideal start to the regatta, we had a comfortable speed and a good handle on the breeze so we are really happy with this first day of racing. We sailed really well at the nationals, except we had the main halyard come down and an OCS and if we had missed either of them we probably would have won it, so I guess there’s a bit of redemption here,” Patrick Conway said.

Australian Sailing’s Rio hopefuls Ashley Stoddart (QLD), Joanna Sterling (QLD) as well as Carrie Smith (WA) and Jaime Ryan (QLD) are contesting the event having recently secured country qualification at the class World Championships in their respective classes; Laser Radial, Women’s RS:X and Women’s 470.

All had a strong first day and are leading their respective fleets. Carrie Smith and Jaime Ryan posted two bullets, Jo Sterling won all three races in the women’s RSX, while Ashley Stoddart had a second and first in the Laser Radial.

“It was good fun out there and pretty breezy. It’s nice to be back in Melbourne in the waves and a bit of wind for day one. I had two solid races and I’m looking forward to a great regatta ahead,” Ashley Stoddart said. 

The Laser class is the biggest fleet in Melbourne and Australian Sailing Squad’s Luke Elliott (WA) and Mitch Kennedy (QLD) made their mark by finishing day one ranked first and second respectively in the 35 boat fleet. A

SS’s Youth Bridging sailor Mark Spearman (WA), who most recently won the Laser class at the Pacific Games in July, is ranked fourth after a third and tenth place.

Local ASS Finn sailor and event ambassador Oliver Tweddell finished the day in second behind Josip Olujic from Croatia and is enjoying being back at his local waterway following the Finn World Championships in New Zealand last month.

“It’s really cool sailing on home waters; I always enjoy sailing on Port Phillip Bay. Even though we are very small fleet I expect some good racing this week. The Croatian is a really good sailor and I reckon in light winds Nick (AUS) will stick it to us. It’s definitely different to sailing at the World Cup when we had 75 boats last week. This will be short, sharp and intense racing.

“Plus the new location is great. Sailing up here at St Kilda is going to be very beneficial for the event and Australian Sailing moving forward,” Oliver Tweddell said about the event.

AUSTRALIAN SAILING TEAM

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