Aussies kick things off with a bang at ILCA 7 World Championships

The Australian Sailing Team came out of the blocks firing on day one of the ILCA 7 World Championships in Mexico, with Western Australian Luke Elliot winning the first race of the 12-race series.

Elliot’s early win turned out to be the high point on an otherwise challenging day for the rest of the Australian squad.

“It was nice to get the first-day jitters out of the way,” Elliott said. “I was super happy to win the first race but failed to back it up with a poor start in the second race.”

After a first and 32nd in today’s racing, Elliott is currently sitting in 33rd overall as the top-ranked Australian. “The wind wasn’t quite what we have been training in so far, so a few unexpected things were happening out there.” 

The Australian ILCA 7 squad has been in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico for close to two weeks preparing for the Championships but experienced slightly lighter and more challenging conditions for the first day of competition. 

Coaching the Australian contingent is Olympic Silver medallist Rafa Trujillo who observed that starting was key today as the majority of the squad struggled to get off the line and had to fight hard to minimise their points for the day.

“There were not many overtaking lanes, so it was difficult if you were back at the start to fight your way through,” Trujillo shared.  

NSWIS athlete Finn Alexander had a tough day on the water with a 20th and 23rd but remains positive knowing there is a lot more racing to come. 

“It was challenging for all Aussies and honestly I didn’t have the best day just trying to salvage some places,” Alexander admitted. 

“Myself and all the boys are pretty positive for the coming days, lots to learn and it’s a long regatta so we’re looking for some more consistent racing and better days to come.”

Matt Wearn had planned to compete at the event, but the reigning Olympic Champion contracted an illness at the Hyeres regatta last month and lost his battle against time to be healthy enough to compete at a World Championships.

“I’m really disappointed to miss out on racing here, but I will rest up and be back in fine form for the next regatta,” said Wearn.

Ten more races are set to take place this week on Banderas Bay with two races scheduled from 13:00 local time tomorrow. 

Full results:

Australian Sailing Team (AST)Australian Sailing Squad (ASS),  and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) entries:

ILCA 7 (126 Boats) 

29th – Luke Elliott (AST) 1, 32 – 33 points

36th – Sam King (ASF) 24, 13 – 37 points

47th – Ethan McAullay (ASS) 34, 16 – 50 points

54th – Finn Alexander (ASS) 20, 23 – 53 points

58th – Zac Littlewood (AST) 33, 26 – 59 points

Matt Wearn (AST) – DNC (withdrawn from competition)

By Lisa Darmanin

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