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Olympic medallists back and aiming for Rio gold

9 December 2013

SAILING: Day-by-day results from the medal races at the 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup in Melbourne.

DAY 2 - ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP MELBOURNE: Olympic medallists back and aiming for Rio gold

On the second day of medal races in the Olympic boat classes at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne, the Australian Sailing Team and Squad added three wins in the Nacra 17, 49er and 49erFX medal race fleets to take its overall World Cup medal tally to five gold medals, four silver and five bronze, after winning yesterday's men's Laser as well as the 470M.

The tricky, windy conditions, saw numerous capsizes throughout the mixed multihull medal race.  The first win of the day for the Australian Sailing Team was secured by two time Australian Olympic silver medallist Darren Bundock (NSW) with London 2012 silver medallist Nina Curtis (NSW). 

"Today was the windiest conditions we have sailed in.  It was very windy, 25knots, breeze straight off the land, so the conditions were quite extreme," Bundock said after the race.

"We had to beat Euan McNicol and Lucinda Whitty and in the last lap we were ahead of them so we started to sail very conservatively.  The two boats in front of us were still pushing quite hard, but they capsized and left it open for us to win.  We are very pleased and happy we didn't capsize."

The duo only got together ten days before the competition, with Bundock returning from the America's Cup into Olympic boat class sailing and were satisfied with how they progressed throughout this week's World Cup.

"So far I think this is a great combination and I'm really happy sailing with Nina," Bundock said.

"She has very good feel in the boat and great strength and I think this was a promising start.  We had all kinds of conditions this week, learnt a lot, which has been ideal.  I think there's a lot more potential for us for sure."

Nina Curtis, who switched to the Nacra 17 from trying the 49erFX and 470W class last year, was of the same opinion.

"It's so exciting to put in a win at our first regatta.  Watch out we are coming!  We've only just started sailing together and it's been really good to see us progress and sail in all kinds of conditions this week.  Darren is great and has so much experience.  We still have a lot to work on as a combination, but there's a lot of positive things we take away from here.  I'm loving every second of this and am very excited to go into the next year and season ahead," she said.

This marks a successful return of Bundock to the team as well as a promising kick-off to the duo's Olympic campaign on the Road to Rio with their eyes set on gold.

"Of course we want a gold medal.  I already have two silver and Nina has a silver- we don't want another one of them!" Bundock said about his Olympic goals.

Three Australian Sailing Team (AST) crews made it onto the Nacra 17 medal podium with Curtis London crew mate Lucinda Whitty (NSW), who is sailing the Nacra with coach-turned-athlete Euan McNicol (NSW) finishing second overall.  AST crew of Jason Waterhouse (NSW) and Lisa Darmanin (NSW), sixth at the 2013 World Championships in the Netherlands, managed to move up from yesterday's fourth place into the medal ranks and finished third overall.

The depth in the Australian Sailing team was also shown in the Women's 49erFX, where the points-table was the tightest of all the classes ahead of today's medal race with four crews being separated by just seven points.

London Olympic silver medallist Olivia Price (NSW) in the Women's Match Racing and new crew Eliza Solly (VIC) won the medal race in gusty conditions as well as the overall event.

"This is my first win in the 49er FXclass and doing it in Australia and here in Melbourne is actually quite nice," Price commented after the race.

"It was really windy out there, maybe 18-20 knots, but all over the place in direction and up and down in wind strength which made it quite hard.  The trick was to keep the speed through the light patches and to get through the course up-right,"

This is a new Olympic boat class for Price- a transition she has quite enjoyed:  "It's definitely been a steep learning curve.  There are more boats to look out for and we are going a lot quicker.  I'm starting to feel more comfortable and finding my feet a bit more.  It's been a lot of fun so far and we keep learning new things every day.  We're still a new combination, everything is going quite well and we're looking forward to the summer."

ASS combination of Haylee Outteridge (NSW) and Ella Clark (WA) were overall second, while AST crew Caitlin Elks (WA) and crew Tess Lloyd (VIC) came fourth. 

London Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge (NSW) and Iain Jensen (NSW) wrapped up a successful day for the Australian Sailing Tea by taking out the overall win in the 49er Men's skiff class.

This marked a successful return to their Olympic Rio campaign after an intense year of America's Cup competition for Artemis Racing.  Going into the final medal race with a healthy 15-point lead they confirmed that they are back on track for another Olympic campaign.

"It's nice to be back in the boat and to be back in what we know to do best.  It's been a very up and down year for myself and Goobs (Iain) with everything we've dealt with in the America's Cup and Artemis and it's just good to be back in the 49er.  We have a great relationship amongst Goobs, myself and our coach Emmett Lazich and being back working with him every day has been really good."

"The real message to the rest of the fleet will probably come when we head to Europe next year and continue doing what we've been doing over the last four years.  It's not a come-back, I only had a few months off.  But obviously it's always tough to defend something, for example, if it's a World Title it's hard to defend it at the next World Champs.  But to defend an Olympic Gold medal is a lot harder, you have to keep it up for four years.  We will have to campaign the same way we did last time, while assuming that everyone has become better.  That's what we are looking forward to doing."

Australian Sailing Squad members David Gilmour (WA) and Sam Phillips (VIC) came second, while Will Phillips (VIC) and Rhys Mara (NSW) took home the bronze.

Australian Sailing Team's Performance Director, Peter Conde said: "This has been a great opportunity for many new and developing crew combinations to benchmark their performance, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and recalibrate their campaigns for their future development.  We have a terrific group of athletes and coaches who relish this type of opportunity to identify what they need to be the best.  Sail Melbourne have a great record of running an excellent world-class regatta and we congratulate them on managing this event superbly."

Held at Sandringham Yacht Club, Melbourne, Australia from 2-8 December, the ISAF Sailing World Cup is the second stop of the 2013-14 ISAF Sailing World Cup series and features fleets across two Paralympic and ten Olympic events.  The next ISAF Sailing World Cup will take place in Miami, USA at the end of January.

Fourteen Australian Sailing Team (AST) athletes and 30 Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) athletes in Olympic classes, including no less than three London Olympic gold medallists and four Olympic silver medallists as well as Paralympic gold medallist Liesl Tesch have competed on Port Phillip Bay amongst 581 competitors from 24 different countries around the world in what is considered Australia?s premier Olympic class sailing event.

DAY 1 - ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP MELBOURNE: Olympic champion Belcher makes it historic 18 wins in a row

Today saw the first day of Olympic boat class medal races at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne with the Men's and Women's 470, Finn, Laser, Laser Radial fleets contesting.

World Sailor of the Year and London Olympic Champion Mat Belcher (QLD) and partner Will Ryan (QLD), re-wrote sailing history by securing another consecutive 470 class regatta win. This brings the 18th win in a row for Mat Belcher.
 
“We had a great day today and it’s nice to finish off a long battle for the week against the Croatian team.  They are four times World's medallists and it’s great that they came out.  They performed really well and we are just happy that we came out on top today and in the winner takes it all gold medal race”, Mat Belcher said after the race.
 
“It’s been a great year for Will and I in our new partnership and having won all the events we competed in so far.  We’ve been working really hard and we are trying to build on this for next year and obviously on the way to Rio.” 

AST head coach Victor Kovalenko, OAM, added:  “Mat and Will had a good regatta and I’m very happy for them.  Eighteen consecutive wins on this level is actually historic – no one has ever done this before and possibly no one ever will.”
 
Mat Belcher about his winning streak: “It’s fantastic to finish off this year on a winning note.  I have heard some pretty optimistic statements, like, ‘Oh yes they can go unbeaten all the way to Rio’.  But we can’t keep this up, there is no way.  The talent in the fleet is just too good.  We have done something quite extraordinary and have really amazed ourselves in our performance and from a psychological point of view, how we have been able to win those past regattas.  But we know that one mistake and that’s it."

“This is still a new partnership and to have the results that we have had, it’s phenomenal and a real credit to Will.  It’s a high-pressured situation, he is coming in replacing Mal (Page) and he is finding his way.  I am honoured to sail with him and looking forward to where we can take our partnership”.
 
In the Laser fleet it was current World Number One sailor Tom Burton (NSW) who defended his 2012 Sail Melbourne title.  Burton brought in the first win of the day for the Australian Sailing Team, having taken an unassailable lead by winning all three of yesterday’s races.  He finishes off the regatta ranking first overall.  The win at the final event of the year was a welcome wrap of the year for Burton after a gold and silver at other World Cup events earlier this year and finishing ninth at the Laser Men’s World Championships in Oman a couple weeks ago:
 
“It’s been a good week for me and pretty consistent.  Coming off the Worlds, I was a little bit disappointed with my result and the goal was obviously to get back onto that podium.  All the Aussie guys are pretty good and we are a bit more familiar with these conditions than what we had in Oman.  I was on the podium here last year, coming off Oman and with a great group of guys I train with, the goal was to win”,
 
Matt Wearn (WA), who just qualified for the Australian Sailing Team with his tenth place at the Laser Men’s World Championships in Oman, came third ahead of Australian Sailing Squad member Ashley Brunning (NSW) who finished fourth.
 
In the other events of the day, the fourteen strong Finn fleet saw a week of promising performances of the Australian Sailing Squad athletes Jake Lilley (QLD) and Victorian Oliver Tweddell.  Today’s medal confirmed yesterday’s ranking with both Tweddell in second and Lilley in third securing podium spots.  AST member and London Olympian Brendan Casey (QLD) came fourth.
 
Oliver Tweddell who won today’s medal race said after his race:  “I’m quite happy with second overall given I’ve taken a bit of a break since the Worlds.  Right this moment I’m a little bit gutted I didn’t take the gold, we are always here to try and win, but second overall at Sail Melbourne is a pretty solid result.”
 
In the 470W fleet, ASS athletes Sasha and Jaime Ryan (QLD) and last year’s Sail Melbourne victors joined brother Will Ryan on the podium as they came second behind China.
 
“He always has to outdo us, but we are very happy for him.  There was quite a bit of pressure for the whole family going into today’s racing, but we all had a great day and some successful racing,” Jaime Ryan commented on her brother’s win. 
 
AST’s Sarah Cook and Carrie Smith (WA), Youth World Champion skipper in the 420 class – the youth feeder class for the 470, finished fifth overall in their first regatta together. Cook’s skipper Elise Rechichi (VIC) was not racing in Melbourne for medical reasons.
 
“Carrie and I have enjoyed this week.  We only had one sail before the regatta started and Carrie is only just starting to learn how to sail the 470s.  She’s done an amazing job and we are happy with the good result today, even though the overall result didn’t go quite as we had hoped for.  But we are happy to leave it there for the year and get back into training in January”, Sarah Cook reflected on their first event together.
 
In yesterday’s Paralympic boat class races, London 2012 Paralympics Gold medal Paralympian Liesl Tesch secured a win in the Skud18 with Duncan McGregor, while Paralympian Matt Bugg (TAS) came second in the 2.4mR.
 
“We went out and did exactly what we needed to do, plus, it’s my skipper’s birthday. So, it’s a good present and we are pretty happy with the outcome.” Liesl Tesch said after their race.
 
The medal races for the 49er, 49erFX, Men's and Women's RS:X and Nacra 17 fleets will be held tomorrow on Sunday 8 December 2013 .
 
Held at Sandringham Yacht Club, Melbourne, Australia from 2-8 December, the ISAF Sailing World Cup is the second stop of the 2013-14 ISAF Sailing World Cup series and features fleets across two Paralympic and ten Olympic events.
 
Fourteen Australian Sailing Team (AST) athletes and 30 Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) athletes in Olympic classes, including no less than three London Olympic gold medallists and four Olympic silver medallists as well as Paralympic gold medallist Liesl Tesch are competing on Port Phillip Bay amongst 581 competitors from 24 different countries around the world in what is considered Australia’s premier Olympic class sailing event.

Yachting Australia

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