Qualifying concluded today at the ILCA European Championships with just one race being completed in funky conditions.
The off-shore Mistral direction persisted during the morning, however following a postponement due to the strong winds, the wind dissipated and became very unstable. It was a tough day for both the sailors and the Race Committee to stay on top of the erratic wind direction and velocity.
Luke Elliott did the best job of the Australian contingent, coming away from a thorny day with a second and climbing himself into tenth overall.
Elliott explained, “Conditions the first two days were pretty stock standard offshore racing but today was something quite different with the wind anywhere between 280 and 340 on the compass.”
He joked, “Rafa (Trujillo) said he had never seen this wind direction before in all his time coming to Hyeres so that really says something.”
The Western Australian is clear that the game will change tomorrow as the fleet condenses into the Final series. “The fleet will just become a lot tighter now so trying to keep the big scores off the card is the play from here on out.”
Twenty-one-year-old Zac Littlewood has found his rhythm after a challenging World Championship earlier this year and is pleased to be moving forward in the Gold fleet.
Littlewood shared, “It’s my first competition this year where I’ve approached the event healthy and fit, so it’s great to be back and just see where I am in the fleet.”
Australian ILCA 7 coach Rafa Trujillo is looking forward to having all four of his squad battling it out in Gold fleet for the final three days of racing.
“We are looking forward to going to the finals, the warm-up is finished, now we start the serious part of the championships,” said Trujillo.
The Australian ILCA 6 squad have displayed enormous improvements this year with them all moving into the Finals in top 20 positions after another resilience testing day.
Zoe Thomson continues to impress as she steps into the Gold Fleet in 9th. With solid results today for the entire squad, Casey Imeneo and Mara Stransky sit in 14th and 16th respectively just 8 points behind Thomson, while Elyse Ainsworth is just another three points astern in 19th.
Carolijn Brouwer, who has been coaching the young women over the past season is pleased with how the squad has taken on the tricky conditions and knows racing is about to step up a notch.
Brouwer commented, “The squad is going into the finals in a strong position. The competition in the finals is going to be fierce and it will be important to stay consistent.”
Six more races are scheduled over the next three days to decide the European Champion in Hyeres, France.
Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS), Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) and other Australian (AUS) entries:
ILCA 6 (109 Boats)
9th – Zoe Thomson (ASS) – (12), 3, 4, 7, 9 (23 points)
14th – Casey Imeneo (ASS) – 1, (19), 5. 1, 11 (31 points)
16th – Mara Stransky (AST) – 13, 2, 9, (25), 7 (31 points)
19th – Elyse Ainsworth (ASS) – 7, 8, 11, (16), 8 (34 points)
58th – Paige Caldecoat (AUS) – 25, 26, 25 (36), 18 (94 points)
ILCA 7 (169 Boats)
10th – Luke Elliott (AST) – 11, 1, 6 (21), 2 (20 points)
23rd – Ethan McAullay (ASS) – 6, 15, 4, 7, (16) (32 points)
33rd – Finn Alexander (ASS) – 13, 1, (BFD), 9, 18 (41 points)
35th – Zac Littlewood (AST) – 14, 10, 1, (28), 17 (42 points)
99th – Sam King (ASF) – 38, 12, 30, (38), 26 (99) points)