A strong Aussie contingent has landed in the UK to prepare for their assault on the 2023 Formula Kite European Championships, which are set to launch from Eastney Beach in Portsmouth with racing from the 19th to 24th of September.
Australian Sailing Team athlete Breiana Whitehead has been a consistent top ten performer in the class over the past five years, winning Bronze at the Euros and World Championships in 2019 and last year added a sixth at the Euros and seventh at the Worlds.
She also secured a nation quota spot for Australia in the Women’s Formula Kite at the 2024 Paris Olympics when she finished 11th at last month’s World Championships in The Hague.
“I’ve had some time off to rest and reset after the worlds,” said Whitehead from the venue. “I let my body recover and then it was straight back into training in the UK leading into this event.”
The event itself is an important milestone on the path to Paris, but it will present some challenges.
“I’m looking forward to the Euros as the last major regatta in Europe this year,” explained Whitehead. “It’s not a common one on the list of kiting destinations, but it should be interesting to work out the venue in training leading up to the regatta.”
She will be looking to improve on her 2023 World Championships performance, as Australian Sailing Team Formula Kite Coach Shane Smith explained.
“Brei will be looking to address equipment issues experienced at worlds and gain more medal series experience from inside the top ten having just missed out in test event and worlds,” said Smith.
There are two Australians set to compete in the Men’s category, with Hector Paturau (Australian Sailing Squad) returning from an injury-enforced layoff and Queensland’s Daniel Self who’s ready to test himself again on the international stage.
“This event we will have Hector back for his first event post foot surgery so looking forward to seeing where he is at,” noted Smith.
There will be five days of qualifying races from Tuesday the 19th local time, with the Medal Series taking place on Sunday 24 September. There will be live streaming of the final two days of racing on the Formula Kite Facebook page.
Australian Sailing Squad (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and other Australian (AUS) sailors at the 2023 Formula Kite European Championships:
Breiana Whitehead (AST)
Hector Paturau (ASS)
Daniel Self (AUS)
Full entry list and all information: https://www.formulakite.org/2023europeans
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Michael Martin, Australian Sailing