Aussies set to impress at Sailing World Championships

Published Fri 11 Aug 2023 by the Australian Sailing Team

The road to Paris 2024 Olympic glory begins with qualifying nation quota spots for each of Sailing’s ten Olympic classes. The 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships is the first opportunity to achieve quota spots, and competition for those spots will begin at The Hague, The Netherlands on Friday 11 August.

Australia will have athletes in all ten Olympic classes as well as two Para Sailing classes, all set to impress on the road to glory.

iQFOiL

Women’s iQFOiL Men’s iQFOiL
Samantha Costin (ASS/QLD) Grae Morris (ASS/NSW)
  Harry Joyner (ASS/WA)
  Jack Marquardt (Vic Inst Sport)

The iQFOiL will make its Olympic debut as the Windsurfing equipment in Paris, and Australia will consider itself a strong chance to be on the podium after Grae Morris narrowly missed a medal at the Olympic Test Event last month in Marseille.

“It was tough and tight battle in the medal race semi-final,” said AST iQFOiL Coach Arthur Brett. “Grae missed by a whisker in qualifying for the three-rider final, finishing in fourth place overall. He has continued to build his race and technical game over the European summer, and now both of us are looking forward to tackling the Worlds at The Hague.”

Samantha Costin will be Australia’s sole representative in the Women’s iQFOiL and is eager to compete having completed a thorough build-up to the event.

“I’ve been in the UK sailing out of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) where a number of iQFOiLers are also preparing for the World Championships,” said Costin. “We had two and half weeks there, following on from a solid training block back in Sydney.”

ILCA

ILCA 6 ILCA 7 
Zoe Thomson (AST/WA) Matt Wearn (AST/WA) 
Elyse Ainsworth (ASS/WA) Finn Alexander (ASS/NSW) 
Casey Imeneo (ASS/VIC)Luke Elliott (ASS/NSW)
Mara Stranksy (ASS/QLD) Zac Littlewood (ASS/WA) 
Evie Saunders (ASF/NSW) Ethan McAullay (ASS/WA) 
Sylvie Stannage (ASF/NSW)  

Australia’s depth in the ILCA 6 and 7 classes will be on full display in The Hague, with eleven athletes set to represent the nation across both classes.

Tokyo Olympic ILCA 7 Champion Matt Wearn has won myriad trophies in his career. Olympic Gold, European Championships, Australian Sailing Male Sailor of the Year Awards are just a few of the prizes you will find in his burgeoning trophy cabinet, but the one he is missing is a World Championship.

“I am really looking forward to the Worlds, it has been a number of years since I have had the chance to compete at the combined event so it’s exciting to have that opportunity again,” said Wearn.

“With the Hague being on the North Sea it offers some different conditions to what we normally race in in Europe, with the tidal flow being the biggest challenge. If you get the tide moving in a different direction to the wind it can make for some extremely tough racing.”

Australia’s ILCA 6 squad has gone from strength to strength under coaches Carolijn Brouwer and Ben Walkemeyer. Western Australia’s Zoe Thomson announced herself on the global stage with a silver medal in Palma earlier this year, with Victorian Casey Imeneo following that up with a Bronze in Hyeres. With Tokyo Olympian Mara Stransky also among the squad they will be expecting a strong result in The Hague.

Skiffs – 49er and 49erFX

49erFX 49er
Laura Harding & Annie Wilmot (ASS/VIC & NSW) Jim Colley & Shaun Connor (AST/NSW)
Olivia Price & Evie Haseldine (ASS/NSW) Tom Burton & Max Paul (ASS/NSW)
Natasha Bryant & Madeleine McLeay (ASF/NSW) Thomas Needham & Joel Turner (ASS/QLD)
Mina Ferguson & Dervla Duggan (ASF/NSW & ASS/VIC) Thomas Cunich & Miles Davey (ASF/NSW)
  Jack Ferguson & Jack Hildebrand (ASF/NSW)

It has been a strong year for Australia’s skiff classes, with impressive performances at the major regattas across the European season.

Like the ILCA 6 class, Palma and Hyeres saw different Aussies on the 49er podium with Tom Burton and Max Paul (Silver in Palma) and Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (Silver in Hyeres) both producing breakout performances.

“The start of the year was going really good in general for the Australian squad,” said Burton. “We hope to keep that going into the worlds, although results fluctuate very quickly in skiff racing.”

Another rising team is the 49erFX pairing of Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot, who are based out of the National Training Centre in New South Wales. The youngsters are well prepared for the varied conditions they expect to encounter on the North Sea.

“Our European season this year has been full of ups and downs and as always lots of challenges,” said Harding. “We have put a lot of training time in the books coming back to Europe for a block of time before the Worlds. It has allowed us to put some work into the tough chop that we don’t get very often in Australia. We are expecting even more extreme sailing conditions in The Hague, a venue with heaps of tide and potentially some decent ocean swell.”

Formula Kite

Women’s Formula Kite Men’s Formula Kite
Breiana Whitehead (AST/QLD) Scott Whitehead (ASS/QLD)
  Oscar Timm (ASF/QLD)

The Formula Kite will be another class making its debut in Paris, with the exciting foiling class set to bring colour and plenty of speed to the Olympic regatta.

Australia’s team will be led by Breiana Whitehead, who posted consecutive top-seven finishes at the Euros and Worlds last year.

“Brei, Scott and Oscar have all been enjoying a week in The Hague experiencing the worlds venue,” said Australian Formula Kite Coach Shane Smith.

“With twenty-plus other kiters here we have had an opportunity to do some short course races in tricky conditions with our international training partners.”

Nacra 17

Lisa Darmanin & Darren Bundock (AST/NSW & NSW))
Jake Liddell & Lucy Copeland (ASS/NSW)
Archie Gargett & Sarah Hoffman (ASF/NSW)
Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown (ASF/NSW)
Ruben Booth and Rita Booth (AUS)

Australia’s Nacra 17 team is looking different heading in to these World Championships, with long-time Skipper and Rio 2016 silver medalist Jason Waterhouse announcing his retirement before the Olympic Test Event. That decision resulted in two-time Olympic silver medallist Darren Bundock stepping in to partner with crew Lisa Darmanin.

“It’s been a big transition for Bundy to step on the boat. In flat water we feel super comfortable but throw some big waves in and there is plenty of coordination that needs to go on,” commented Darmanin.

“Bundy has done a great job to step in but the learning curve is still fairly steep on the foiling Nacra. Training in Belgium on the North Sea, we made a big push into the worlds to get equipped for the conditions and tested out our rhythm in tide and waves.”

There is depth building behind Darmanin and Bundock with Australia producing a clean sweep of the podium at the recent Nacra 17 Junior World Championships. Siblings Ruben and Rita Booth (Gold), Archie Gargett and Sarah Hoffman (Silver) and Brin Liddell and Rhiannon Brown (Bronze) will all be competing in The Hague.

Mixed 470

Nia Jerwood & Conor Nicholas (ASS/WA)
Sophie Jackson & Angus Higgins (ASF/VIC & ASF/SA)

The Mixed 470 team of Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas are looking to further improve on their breakout performance at the Olympic Test Event in Marseille, where they competed in their first international Medal Race together before finishing in sixth place. A very proud and excited Jerwood said, “The Test Event was a personal best for us as a team. To be in the medal race and in podium contention was a great feeling.  We still have a lot to refine, and we are energised to keep working.

“Overall, our improvement and trajectory this year is something we can be really proud of. We are so lucky to have an amazing team here on the ground and back at home.”

They will be joined by the emerging Australian Sailing Futures team of Sophie Jackson & Angus Higgins, who themselves have experienced steady improvement together throughout the 2023 European season.

Para Sailing Classes

Men’s Hansa 303 Women’s Hansa 303
Peter Coleman (VIC)Alison Weatherly (VIC)

For the first time four Para Sailing classes will compete alongside the ten Olympic classes at the (combined) Sailing World Championships with Australian sailors Alison Weatherly and Peter Coleman competing in the Women and Men’s Hansa 303 respectively.

Weatherly is the reigning Australian champion in the class and having finished with a Bronze at last year’s World Championships is keen to further advance up the podium at this year’s championship.

The regatta will include tracking from SAP, with more information (including the Notice of Race) available on the event website.

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