Aussies on the cusp at 2022 European Championships

Three Australian crews are on the cusp of making the Medal Races after Day 5 of the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, but the day’s racing was cut short as winds built and gusts continued to exceed 25 knots.

The day was billed ‘the windiest day of the Championships’, which suited the Australian Sailing Team (AST) and Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) athletes down to the ground.

Start of the day’s only Gold fleet 49er race – credit Beau Outteridge

The 49er Gold fleet executed one race. Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (ASS) blitzed it with a second place moving them up to fourth overall. Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS) finished right behind them in third place, for sixth overall, positioning themselves beautifully for what is to come.

Both crews revelled in the big conditions that are the domain of Aussie sailors. Around them, capsize and crash carnage impacted others’ performances.

Colley and Connor were not immune, as Connor recalled, “We had a swim in the start sequence with three minutes to go. We got back up, found a gap on the line, so went for it.”

“It was definitely windy with a lot of pressure that was hard to read. We just tried to keep the boat upright and were trying to keep it safe downwind, but still sailing fast.

Tom Needham and Joel Turner overpowering a Swiss crew – credit Beau Outteridge

“We got the phasing right upwind. The last gybe-set we just got the kite out of the water before we prawned it. We were lucky to stay up around third place and then we got more pressure than the others and finished second,” the NSW sailor recounted.

“It’s all coming together. We’re having fun and sticking with the processes.”

Both crews need to stay focussed if they are to make Sunday local time’s Medal Race in which only the top 10 compete.

JJim Colley, Shaun Connor, Joel Turner and Tom Needham after racing – Beau Outteridge pic

Meanwhile, Jack Ferguson and Max Paul (ASS) were among the casualties of that lone race, limping back to shore with a damaged rig before the race even started.

“We sailed out to the start line. It was pretty windy; the gusts were over 25 knots. We seemed to go into a big gust and snapped our top section. We came back in, put a new rig in, ready to go out again for the second race, but they cancelled racing,” Paul said.

In the meantime, the 49er Silver fleet put two races away. Rio Olympic gold medallist in the Laser, Tom Burton and his crew, Simon Hoffman (ASS), won both.

Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin – credit Beau Outteridge

No racing was conducted in the 49erFX or Nacra 17 classes. Rio Olympic silver medallists, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST) are in 10th place, tied on points with the ninth placed crew from the Netherlands.

Ashore, fellow Nacra 17 sailors, Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland (ASS) were itching to get back on the water after a solid day yesterday.

On their improvement, Liddell said: “Our hope was top 15. We are at the stage of seeing where we sit. We’ve got training in Marseille next and our hopes are of getting to the Medal Race at the Worlds in Canada in September.”

Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland – credit Beau Outteridge

There was no racing in the 49erFX, so Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS) remain in 14th place overall, while Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS) are in 16th.

At 3.30pm local time, officials declared it a day and sent all classes home. Competitors now wait to find out whether the day’s missed races will be sailed on Sunday, or if the schedule will be adhered to and one final race sailed in each class, ahead of the Medal Races to decide the podium places in all three classes.

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) results and overall placings:

Nacra 17 (33 entries) – 12 races (one drop)
10th – Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST) (15), 13, 10, 14, 7, 4,4, 8, 13, 12, 7, 11 = 103pts
14th – Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland (ASS) 14, (23), 23, 13, 12, 18, 15, 17, 6, 8, 13, 19 = 158
20th – Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown (ASF) (26), 16, 19, 25, 26, 22, 14, 19, 10, 21, 21, (28) = 219
23rd – Archie Gargett and Sarah Hoffman (ASF) 20, (28), 31, 20, 27, 27, 25, 16, 18, 24, 19, 18 = 242

49erFX Gold fleet – 12 races (one drop)
15th – Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS) 20, 2, 3, 23, 11, 2, (27), 4, 6, 20, 22, 8 = 120pts
16th – Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS) 12, 17, 5, 13, 9, 7, (18), 8, 13, 11, 14, 13 = 121

49erFX Silver fleet – 12 races (one drop)
33rd – Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (ASS) 21, 14, 17, 10, (30), 22, 6, 17, 8 , 25, 7, 2 = 149pts
46th – Chloe Fisher and Laura Thomson (ASF) 16, 24, 18, 26, (28), 9, 14, 27, 18, 19, 16, 27 = 214
62nd – Mina Ferguson and Madeleine McLeay (ASF) (DNC), DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, 13, 27, 27 22, DNF, DNC = 351
70th – Lilly Richardson and Matilda Richardson (ASF) DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC , DNC, DNC, DNC = 416

49er Gold fleet – 12 races (one drop)
4th – Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (ASS) 3, 5, 9, 4, 1, 3, (17), 4, 14, 10, 6, 7, 2 = 67pts
6th – Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS) 11, 7, 2, 3, (14), 3, 3, 4, 10, 8, 7, 14, 3 = 74
24th – Jack Ferguson and Max Paul (ASS) 5, 6, 18, 10, 9, 1, 8, 1, 9, 22, 23, 19, (DNC) = 130

49er Silver fleet – 14 races (one drop)
26th – Tom Burton and Simon Hoffman (ASS) (28), 7, 11, 14, 4, 10, 14, 5, 13, 21, 1, 3, 1, 1 = 105pts
43rd – Thomas Cunich and Miles Davey (ASF) 10, 13, 13, 15, 16, 16, 12, (26), 12, (UFD), 24, DNC, 9, 6 = 207

49er Bronze fleet – 12 races (one drop)
67th – Otto Henry and Flynn Twomey (ASF) 26, 29, 19, 19, 21, (DNC), 10, 25, 22, 1, 1, 13 = 186pts
90th – Ryan Littlechild and Jack Hildebrand (ASF) (DNC), DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC = 358

Follow the regatta, including full results at: https://49er.org/event/2022-european-championship/#49erresults

Di Pearson/Australian Sailing Team media

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