470 Euros – Jerwood and Nicholas finish on a high note

Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas (Australian Sailing Squad) have finished the 2023 Mixed 470 European Championship in San Remo, Italy on a high note, achieving their best result at a major international event.

The West Australian pair came tantalisingly close to making the Medal Race for the top ten, with fourth and 10th places in the first two Gold fleet races of the day, but 20th in the final race meant finishing 13th overall and missing out by 14 points. Sophie Jackson and Angus Higgins (Australian Sailing Futures) ended their competition in 33rd place.

Racing was delayed for little over an hour when a rain cloud killed the wind, so competitors launched a midday, with the wind building throughout the day to settle at 18-23 knots.

“It was fantastic conditions for racing,” Nicholas commented. “We had big waves and were airborne at times. A few times we launched out of the water and came down thinking ‘I hope the boat’s OK,’ but it was pretty cool sailing in conditions like that.”

On their final day of racing, Nicholas said, “We did go high risk today, but didn’t allow the blinkers to come off at certain points.

“We had opportunities, so the last race was disappointing. We led the first race until the last bottom gate, but let three boats get through us, because we got the layline timing wrong. It’s never nice being overtaken, but you learn from it.

The two were second at the top mark in the second race, “Then we struggled to protect ourselves downwind. We were fourth or fifth in the second race, then dropped down and had to defend from within the pack and couldn’t get free.

Nicholas ended by saying, “Our results show we belong in this fleet. We just have some polishing to do. We now know how to be high risk, but not over risk. Now comes the Test Event.”

Jerwood added her thoughts: “Despite just missing out on the Medal Race, I am really proud of how Conor and I fought back at this event after a tough start. We threw everything at that last race to try and make it into the Medal Race, including upping the risk in the last half of the race.”

On her partnership with Nicholas, she said, “Conor did an amazing job on tactics this week in the strong wind, which allowed me to focus on sailing the boat at full speed. This was the reason for our great top mark positions in the last three days.”

Jerwood and Nicholas will have a short break before heading to Marseille in France for the Olympic Test Event (7-16 July), “Where we will continue to work and push to be able to hold onto those positions around the top mark,” the determined athlete concluded.

Australian Sailing Squad (ASS), Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) and Australian sailors’ final results:

470 – Gold fleet – 12 races (one drop)

13th Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas (ASS) 18, 19, 7, 1, 9, 14, 19, 9, 4, 10, (20) = 110 points

33rd Sophie Jackson and Angus Higgins (ASF) 25, 14, 18, 7, 5, 32, (UFD), 32, 30, 30, 31 = 224

470 – Silver fleet –12 races (one drop)

59th James Jackson and Lily Richardson 26, 29, 32, 29, (DNC), 24, 24, 24, 27, 23, 20 = 258 points

Full entry list and all information: https://2023europeans.470.org/en/default/races/race

By Di Pearson/AST media

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