Australian 49er crews ready for Worlds

The Australian Sailing Team's 49er crews are in the final stages of preparation for the 49er World Championship in Riva del Garda with racing beginning in Italy on Tuesday.

Reigning 49er World Champions and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games competitors Nathan Outteridge and Ben Austin have doubled the Australian Sailing Team's chances in Italy with the pair now sailing with new partners.

Outteridge and new crew Iain Jensen will be looking to continue their recent impressive form, with the Australian Sailing Team crew claiming victory at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Holland in May, their first ever regatta together.

Meanwhile Ben Austin will be sailing with his second skipper this year after 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Silver medalist Darren Bundock was ruled out with a knee injury. Three time 49er World Champion and two time Olympian Chris Nicholson will be racing alongside Austin with the pair training solidly together over the last two weeks.

49er coach Emmett Lazich has been working closely with the nine Australian crews and says that the sailors have been spending valuable time on the water.

“We've had some clear sky and heat with the normal Riva del Garda “Ora” winds expected next week, the weather during training has mostly been extremely varied and often dying out with a heavy rain, wind, heating cycle changing a few times during a day,” said Lazich.

“It's made it difficult to work on specific performance factors and sometimes also made it difficult to infer much from training race performances. The Australian sailors have been on water training with team New Zealand and this has worked out very well.”

Lazich believes that the two Australian Sailing Team crews are in a good position heading into the regatta.

“Nathan and Iain's skills and execution during training has been of a very high standard, so with some normality with the winds and race management, they are in a very good state leading into the regatta,” he said.

“Chris and Ben have naturally needed some time to gel as a team, but in the last few days they've showed some very fine form. With some medium winds and good health, I expect they could seriously mix it up with the best of the opposition.”

Among the Australian contingent in Riva del Garda will be the Australian Sailing Development Squad crews of Euan McNicol and Sam Newton, Will and Sam Phillips, David O'Connor and Robert Bell and Steven Thomas and Kyle Langford.

Also sailing at the 49er World Championships are Australians Sean O'Rourke and Harry Bethwaite, Clint and Ty Marshall and Robert Gibbs and James Garnaut.

Qualification races begin on Tuesday 14 July and run through to Thursday 16 July, with final races held on Friday 17 July to Sunday 19 July.

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