Aussies book their places in Kiel Week medal races

Extremely light and shifty conditions on the final day of fleet racing in Kiel saw plenty of Australian athletes through to Sunday’s medal races, and some fall frustratingly short of the medal race cut off.

There were no issues for the five-member ILCA 6 squad, with all of them making the medal race cut-off

Assistant National ILCA 6 Coach Ben Walkemeyer described the day as, “A long day of waiting, and a very long, very slow race, but the outcome was just what we wanted. To have the whole ILCA 6 squad in the medal race tomorrow is just fantastic.

“Casey Imeneo has been very clear with her race strategies this week and has worked really hard on that. She was the only one that really needed a good result today to make the medal race and she executed that right when it mattered.”

The ILCA 6 squad were on the water for two and a half hours waiting for the conditions to settle, with today seeing their first general recall, meaning the fleet were pushing the line a lot harder.

The clear leader of the fleet is Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron athlete, Mara Stransky. She will drop the 21st from today’s only race from her scorecard and take a 14-point lead into tomorrow’s medal race.

“Today was pretty tricky, with a fair bit of waiting around before we got started,” said Stransky. “I hit the pin end boat and so that was not great, so I did a penalty turn. The fleet was pushing a little being the final day, and it was pretty clear we were only getting one race in as the breeze was fading. It is super awesome to be racing tomorrow with four Aussies in the medal race, I am really excited.”

Fellow ILCA 6 athletes Zoe Thomson and Elyse Ainsworth both ended up with a black flag, but consistency throughout the week saw them both drop those penalties to carry good scores going into the medal race. For Casey Imeneo, it was critical to come away with a strong result today.

“With the unstable forecast I had to make sure I came away with a solid result to get into the medal race,” said Imeneo. “It was all about me keeping it simple, getting clear air and backing my strategy in the light conditions. It was all about not taking the big risks, but also important to be bold on the start line in light air to execute that acceleration.”

KielWeek - ILCA 6 Squad
Australian ILCA 6 Squad with coach Ben Walkemeyer CREDIT Beau Outteridge

The 49er fleet ran two final fleet races today, as National Coach Euan McNicol described.

“Thomas Needham and Joel Turner had a good day today. They consolidated a difficult position in the first race and turned in a score that was pretty solid after sailing in heavy traffic early on. In the second race they managed to get clear and sailed a good downwind to cross the line in second.”

Thomas Needham explained their process at such a complex Kiel Week.

“We missed the first day due no wind, plus some days cut short from storms and dying winds. That meant this week it has been very important to be conservative and manage the points.”

Needham was clear on the pressure on the athletes at this stage of the regatta.

“It is definitely not easy, especially on a light wind day like today. The number one priority is to get a clean lane at the start, so you get to the tacking point and make your choice when to tack instead of being controlled by others.”

Kiel Week - Tom Needham and Joel Turner
Tom Needham and Joel Turner CREDIT Beau Outteridge

The Nacra 17 fleets remained ashore today, meaning no change in the fleet’s positions. This means both Australian teams failed to make the medal race, as Coach Darren Bundock explained.

“They didn’t sail today as the fleet were held ashore. Most of the other fleets got some racing in, and it looked close this afternoon, but unfortunately nothing changes in the results and so both teams don’t make the medal race tomorrow. Jason and Lisa are obviously disappointed they didn’t do better here but we will bounce back, and the learning curve is steep with lots of things to test.”

National 49erFX Coach Victor Paya summed up a challenging day.

“Quite complex, more than three hours waiting on the water, then racing in barely three to five knots which was shifting 20 and 30 degrees. The strategy on the race plan and the strategy on trying for the medal race was quite good, but it is all about technique in such marginal conditions, and that is not easy.”

Olivia Price summed up their regatta.

“Evie and I were really happy to get the opportunity today to compete and there were some opportunities we saw that we just couldn’t get to in such light conditions. Today involved a lot of forward thinking and patience to wait and see what was unfolding, so yes, another tricky day.”

The recent return to international fleet racing has highlighted key areas for the 49erFX team.

“Starts are always key in every race, but especially in the style of racing we have,” continued Price. “We had a good start in race two today, and that that just cements the desire to keep working on that area as much as possible in high level fleets prior to the Worlds in September.”

For the Mixed 470 fleet it was a tough end to the event as coach Malcolm Page described.

“Today was a very long day. We launched at 9.30am and came in after no racing at around 3pm then back out to two drift off races in the evening. Really difficult to change your position on the racetrack even if you see an opportunity, so not easy.”

Page was clear on the learnings from this event.

“We have good upwind speed, but the complete package is not there yet. Life throws lessons at you for a reason, so you need to be strong enough to work it out. We knew we were going to learn lessons here in Europe, and today’s light conditions reminded us of that, so the key is to then turn that frustration into hunger.”

Competition continues tomorrow in Kiel Sunday 26th June for the medal races, from 11am. Local time.

Visit the event website here: https://kieler-woche.de/en/

Follow the results of Kiel Week 2022 here: https://kieler-woche.de/en/sailing/results.php

Words: Blue Robinson.

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) entries at Kiel Week 2022:

470 Mixed (40 entries)
14th- Chris Charlwood and Amelia Catt (ASS) 3, 20, 15, 8, 4, 24, 17, (27) = 91 points
19th – Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas (ASS) 14, (30), 24, 5, 13, 4, 20, 28 = 108
30th- Sophie Jackson and Angus Higgins (ASF) (36), 31, 22, 25, 26, 31, 23, 33 = 191

49er (91 entries)
7th Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS) 1, 3, 10, 9, 8. (17), 12, 2 = 45 points
24th Jack Ferguson and Max Paul (ASS) 5, 12, 8, 9, 9, 21, (24), 22 = 86
29th Jim Colley and Shaun O’Connor (ASS) 5, 12, 8, 10, 1, 11, (34 BFD), 21 = 68
43rd Thomas Cunich and Miles Davey (ASF) 17,13, 12, 16, 10, (21), 19, 19 = 106
45th Otto Henry and Flynn Twomey (ASF) 18, 8, 10, 18, 11 19, 23, (28) = 107
58th Tom Burton and Simon Hoffmann (ASS) 31 UFD, 9, 7, 22, 27, 30, 34 BFD (34 BFD) = 160
62nd Ryan Littlechild and Jack Hildebrand (ASF) 24, (26), 18, 19, 5, 4, 3, 4, 20 = 97

49erFX (71 entries)
14th Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (ASS) 11, 8, 3, 8, 9, 15, (23), 6, 15, 11 = 86 points
26th Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS) (12), 7, 6, 10, 5, 9, 1, 1, 2 = 41
28th Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS) 7, (15),10, 5, 7, 4, 6, 4, 8 = 51
33rd Mina Ferguson and Madeleine McLeay (ASF),15, 11, 1, (23 RET), 12,11,15,10, 6 = 81
49th Chloe Fisher and Laura Thomson (ASF) 18, 18, (20), 13,1, 10,4, 7 = 71
51st Lilly Richardson and Matilda Richardson (ASF) 15, 19, 16, 14, 5, 1, 8, (20 UFD) = 78

ILCA 7 (105 entries)
90th Luke Elliott (AST) (50 DNC), 50 DNC, 50 STP, 50 DNC, 50 DNF, 1, 50 DNC = 251

ILCA 6 (42 entries)
1st Mara Stransky (AST) 4, 2,1, 1, 5, 1 (21) = 14 points
4th Zoe Thomson (ASS) 6, 6, 2, 3, 8, 7, (43 BFD) = 32
8th Casey Imeneo (ASS) 2, 12, (22), 8, 7, 11, 4 = 44
9th Elyse Ainsworth (ASS) 7, 9, 5, 12, 11, 5, (43 BFD) = 49
17th Evie Saunders (ASF) (30), 25, 19,17, 25, 18, 3 = 107

Nacra 17 (34 entries)
11th Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST) 2, 3, 9, 17, (18), 13,15,16 = 75 points
17th Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland (ASS) 21, 19, 14, 11, (22), 18, 19, 12 = 114
21st Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown (ASF) 11 STP, 18, 20, 23, (29), 20, 23, 17 = 132
28th Archie Garrett and Sarah Hoffman (ASF) 20, 25, (30), 29, 26, 30, 27, 26 = 183

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