Aussies out in force for 2023 Hyeres Regatta

A 60-strong squad from Australia is in Hyeres, France preparing to take part in the 2023 Semaine Olympique Francais, colloquially known as the ‘Hyeres Regatta’, with a Practice race to kick off proceedings on Sunday and the first races to follow on Monday.

Most have recently competed at Palma in Spain where three came away with silver medals. However, the competition from within the Australian camp and internationally, is becoming more robust as the Paris Games loom.

High Performance Director, Iain Brambell, has been keeping a close eye on the squad. He says: “The team is excited to be returning to Hyeres to progress and positively advance their 2023 international campaigns.

“All crews are looking to build on their individual performances in Palma to seek, test and instill their desired improvements. As a collective team, we are striving to repeat and increase the number of crews achieving Gold fleets, Medal Races and podium performances.

“Competing in both Palma and now Hyeres will go a long way to building the team’s confidence and preparation into this season’s Olympic Team Event and our first opportunities to qualify classes for the Paris Olympic Games during the 2023 World Championships,” he finished.

Tokyo ILCA 7 (ex-Laser) Olympic gold medallist Matt Wearn (AST) heads a strong line-up of Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) competitors training on the Mediterranean coast.

Wearn came away with Bronze from the ILCA 7 European Championship in March. He is one of 10 Australians competing in a class that is notoriously difficult to medal in, because it bears the largest entry of the Olympic classes, with the 160-boat quota already filled. However, Australia is prominent in the ILCA 7, taking Gold at the last three Games.

Tom Burton (ASS) won ILCA 7 Gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics and has since switched to the 49er skiff. With Max Paul, Burton won Silver at Palma 10 days ago. The two were pushed by Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (AST) who ultimately finished fifth. The latter pair were fifth at the 2022 Europeans and eighth at the 2022 North American Championship.

Tokyo Olympian and 2022 Kiel Week gold medallist, Mara Stransky (ASS) will be working hard in the ILCA 6 (ex-Radial) to overcome rising star, Zoe Thomson (AST). The latter came away from Palma with Silver after being beaten by Stransky at the Europeans in March.

Elyse Ainsworth (ASS) and Casey Imeneo (ASS) are the cats among the pigeons. Both have proved themselves against their compatriots and persist in making their mark 15 months out from the Paris Games.

The 49erFX is becoming a battle royale between Tokyo Olympian Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS) and 2012 match racing Olympic silver medallist Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (ASS), who were best in Palma, finishing 12th. Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS) are making inroads too, placing fourth at the 2022 Hempel World Cup Series.

Rio silver medallists in the Nacra 17, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST), are the ones to beat of the Aussies, but Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland (ASS) in particular, are keeping the two-time Olympians on their toes.

Conor Nicholas and Nia Jerwood (ASS) are the lead pair in the 470 squad. They won at Sail Melbourne and were 17th at Palma, their first international competition for the year.

Jake Lilley (ASF) is competing in the iQFOiL. He is a familiar name, having represented Australia in the Finn at the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. He is coming up to speed in his new class and contemplating a tilt at the Paris Games.

Samantha Costin (ASS) is competing in the iQFOiL Women’s and Breiana Whitehead (AST) in the Formula Kite Women’s. Whitehead has been lifting up the ranks with sixth at Hyeres in 2022 and at the subsequent European Championship. She followed that with seventh place at the Formula Kite Worlds in October.

Hector Paturau (ASS) and Oscar Timm (ASF) are the Australians competing in the Formula Kite Men. Paturau is the top ranked Australian and will be a guiding light for Timm.

The Opening Series at the Hyeres Regatta begins on Monday 24 April, with the Medal stage closing the event on Saturday, 29 April.

The Australian team in Hyeres comprises:

ILCA 7

Matt Wearn (AST)

Luke Elliott (ASS)

Ethan McAullay (ASS)

Zac Littlewood (ASS)

Finn Alexander (ASS)

Stefan Elliott Shircore (ASF)

Will Sargeant (ASF)

Michael Compton (ASF)

Lawson McAullay (ASF)

ILCA 6

Zoe Thomson (AST)

Mara Stranksy (ASS)

Elyse Ainsworth (ASS)

Casey Imeneo (ASS)

Page Caldecoat (ASF)

Sylvie Stannage (ASF)

470

Conor Nicholas and Nia Jerwood (ASS)

Angus Higgins and Sophie Jackson (ASF)

Ben Hinks and Fallon Katz (ASF)

49er

Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (AST)
Tom Burton and Max Paul (ASS)
Thomas Needham and Joel Turner (ASS)
Tom Cunich and Miles Davey (ASF)

49erFX

Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS)
Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (ASS)
Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS)
Madelaine Mcleay and Mina Ferguson (ASF)

Nacra 17

Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST)
Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland (ASS)

Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown (ASF)

Archie Gargett and Sarah Hoffman (ASF)

iQFOiL Men

Jake Lilley (ASF)

iQFOiL Women

Samantha Costin (ASS)

Formula Kite Men

Hector Paturau (ASS)

Oscar Timm (ASF)

Formula Kite Women

Breiana Whitehead (AST)

For full entry list and all information go to: https://sof.ffvoile.fr/

By Di Pearson/AST media

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