Australian Sailing Team continues Olympic preparations at ISAF Sailing World Cup

The Australian Sailing Team and Squad will kick-off the 2015 ISAF World Cup season at next week’s ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne, the premium sailing event for Olympic classes in the southern hemisphere. The ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne will kick start the 2015 series with racing scheduled to take place from 8-14 December 2014 in Port Phillip Bay.

The ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne will see the Australian Sailing Team (AST) and Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) contest on home waters in nine Olympic and in two Paralympic Boat Classes.

Thirteen Olympic and Paralympic AST athletes and 30 ASS members, including London Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, Paralympic gold medallist Liesl Tesch and Dan Fitzgibbon as well as no less than four Olympic silver medallists will battle it out on Port Phillip Bay over the course of a week.

World Champions and recent ISAF Sailing World Cup Final winners Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD) are the only AST crew not able to attend Melbourne due to overseas training requirements. The pair will be racing on the Olympic venue in Rio de Janeiro over the next couple of weeks.

As the dust settles on the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final that took place in Abu Dhabi from 26-30 November, attentions have turned to the 2015 series. Melbourne will kick start the ISAF World Cup series before the sailors head to the USA, France, Great Britain and an Asian venue. The series will culminate in the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final Abu Dhabi.
Held at Sandringham Yacht Club, racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Melbourne will start on Monday, 8 December 2014 with Medal Races scheduled for Saturday, 13 and Sunday, 14 December 2014.

Laser (One Person Dinghy)

In the Laser Class, current World Number One sailor Tom Burton (NSW) and winner of the ISAF Sailing World Cup final is back to make it three consecutive Melbourne titles. Burton has had a great year, winning two World Cups, the Rio Test Event as well as the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final.

“I’m looking for a third win in Melbourne,” Burton says. “It’s going to be harder than the last two years, though the way I’m sailing it’s definitely do-able. Abu Dhabi had a lot of top guys in the world there. It couldn’t have been a better lead up for Sail Melbourne.”

Burton will be chased by Dutch 2014 Laser World Champion Nicholas Heiner as well New Zealand’s top Laser sailors Sam Meech (ninth at the Worlds, sixth in Abu Dhabi) and Andy Maloney (14th at the Worlds, 17th Abu Dhabi).

Australia’s strong Laser squad including Matt Wearn (WA), who finished fifth in Abu Dhabi last week, will also be challenging for the podium spots.

49er (Men’s Skiff)

London Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge (NSW) and Iain Jensen (NSW) finished the 2014 international Olympic racing season with a bronze medal at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander in September and after a stint with their Swedish America’s Cup team Artemis they are back in Olympic class sailing and looking to repeat their 2013 Melbourne win.

AST’s David Gilmour (WA) and Rhys Mara (NSW), who only recently qualified for the AST by finishing seventh at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in September, will chase them, as will Australian Sailing Squad’s Joel Turner (QLD) and Lewis Brake (QLD). The youngsters will be keen to get back into the mix after they won the 49er at Sail Sydney this week – a successful come-back to the water after a five week break due to Brake’s recent knee operation.

Nacra17

It will be much of an Australian affair in the Nacra 17 mixed-gender multihull event with four out five entries being Australian. The Nacra 17 is the new class in the Olympic program and it has been a big year of learning and gaining international racing experience for the Australian Nacra crews.

Melbourne marks the one-year anniversary for the current World #2 combination of two-time Australian Olympic silver medallist Darren Bundock (NSW) and his London 2012 silver medallist crew Nina Curtis (NSW), who is looking forward to racing on home waters:

“Sail Melbourne is always a great event for us and it’s great to sail a World Cup regatta in our own country. While we will have a small Nacra fleet here, the racing will be fierce and tight, every team turning up is going for the win. It should make for some exciting racing”, Nina Curtis said about the event ahead.

With Rio only one and half years away, Curtis is happy with their current preparation:

“Bundy and I are very happy with our preparations looking forward to Rio. While our worlds result wasn't as strong as we hoped, we put together a great year of consistently strong results and podium finishes. We have a solid plan in place for what it will take to win a gold medal at Rio and we are very happy with our progress.”

Also vying for the Olympic spot are cousins Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin. Winning a World Championship bronze medal, they were the best performing Australian Nacra crew at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander in September. They also qualified the class for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

As the youngsters on the international Nacra circus they are realistic about what there is left to learn, but crew Lisa Darmanin is confident about the tasks ahead:

“Obviously we were really happy with securing a spot on the podium at the worlds this year. I think it was encouraging to be up there with sailors that are much older and more experienced than us. I think it proved we can mix it with the best.”

“We still have so much to learn about Olympic racing so I believe we will keep on improving this next year and be a force to be reckoned with come Rio 2016.”

Lisa is also excited about the event on home waters and racing in front of a home crowd: “It's great to have a World Cup on Australian shores and Sandringham is a great place to sail. We are looking forward to showcase the Nacra to Australians and hopefully convince more people to enter the event next year.”

“Melbourne, will about developing racing techniques, we can learn a lot from the other Aussies and all their experience so it will be a tight battle and I think everyone will be pushing hard because they can!”

49erFX

Competition for selection in the new Olympic women’s 49erFX class is also heating up.

London Olympic match racing silver medallist and AST athlete Olivia Price and her crew, Australian Sailing Squad member Eliza Solly want the spot. So do Victorian Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) athletes Tess Lloyd (VIC) her crew Caitlin Elks (WA). At the Santander Worlds, Lloyd and Elks qualified Australia for a 49erFX spot at the Rio Games with their 11th placing. Price and Solly were two places behind.

Solly previously sailed with Lloyd. Elks use to sail with Price. They switched a year ago and for both crews it’s a blossoming union.

“Eliza and I have just celebrated a year sailing together and everything is coming together quite well. We didn’t have the worlds we would have liked so we reassessed our priorities and have been working hard with our coach Shane Smith to rectify those things we didn’t quite achieve, including developing a good language between us, plus boat speed.”

The pair just won Sail Sydney, which was their first regatta after Santander and Price said the pair is happy with their series result and now feel prepared for Melbourne. “We learnt a lot more about each other in the last three days,” the skipper and London women’s match racing silver medallist added.

The 49erFX field will also see Australian Sailing Squad’s Haylee Outteridge (NSW) team up with dual rowing Olympian Sarah Cook (VIC), who recently made the switch from the 470 to the 49erFX class.

Finn

In the Finn, Australian Sailing Squad’s Jake Lilley (QLD) will aim to take his good result from Abu Dhabi (5th) into the World Cup in Melbourne. He will race against Great Britain’s Finn sailor Ed Wright, who won the bronze medal at the ISAF Worlds in September, but finished two places behind Lilley in Abu Dhabi. Local ASS Finn sailor Oliver Tweddell will also be in the mix.

Paralympic Boat Classes

In the Paralympic classes Gold medal Paralympians and 2014 World Champions Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch will hit the water in the Skud18 while Paralympian Matt Bugg (TAS) will race the 2.4mR. Both crews will be chased by Australian Sailing Squad’s Amy Barnbrook (NSW) and Brett Pearce (NSW) in the Skud and Neil Patterson (TAS) in the 2.4mR respectively.

Racing in the 49er, 49erFX, Men's and Women's RS:X and Nacra 17 fleets start racing on Monday, through to their Medal Races on Saturday, 13 December.

Men's and Women's 470, Finn, Laser, Laser Radial and Paralympic events commence on Tuesday, 9 December through to their Medal Races on Sunday, 14 2014.

Live Tracking
The racing will be available to watch in 2D and 3D via the live tracking.
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2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne Australian Sailing Team & Squad Entries:

Men's One Person Dinghy – Laser
– Tom Burton (NSW) – AST
– Matthew Wearn (WA) – AST
– Ryan Palk (QLD) – ASS
– Luke Elliott (NSW) – ASS
– Mitchell Kennedy (QLD) – ASS
– Mark Spearman (WA) – ASS Youth

Women's One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
– Ashley Stoddart (QLD) – ASS
– Anna Philip (VIC) – ASS Bridging

Men’s Two Person Dingy – 470M
– Alexander Conway & Patrick Conway (NSW) – ASS

Women's Two Person Dinghy – 470W
– tbc & Jaime Ryan (QLD) – ASS
– Sasha Ryan (QLD) & Amelia Catt (TAS) – ASS

Men’s Skiff – 49er
– Nathan Outteridge (NSW) & Iain Jensen (NSW) – AST
– David Gilmour (WA) & Rhys Mara (VIC) – AST
– Joel Turner (QLD) & Lewis Brake (QLD) – ASS
– Harry Price (NSW) & Harry Morton (NSW) – ASS Bridging

Women's Skiff – 49erFX
– Olivia Price (NSW/AST) & Eliza Solly (VIC/ASS)
– Tess Lloyd (VIC/ASS) & Caitlin Elks (WA/ASS)
– Haylee Outteridge (NSW/ASS) & Sarah Cook (VIC)

Men's One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) – Finn
– Jake Lilley (QLD) – ASS
– Oliver Tweddell (VIC) – ASS

Mixed Multihull – Nacra17
– Darren Bundock (NSW) & Nina Curtis (NSW) – AST
– Jason Waterhouse (NSW) & Lisa Darmanin (NSW) – AST
– Euan McNicol (NSW) & Lucinda Whitty (NSW) – ASS
– Paul Darmanin (NSW) & Lucy Copeland (NSW) – ASS Bridging

Women's Windsurfer – RS:X
– Joanna Sterling (QLD) – ASS

Paralympic Boat Classes

Skud 18
– Daniel Fitzgibbon (NSW) & Liesl Tesch (NSW) – AST
– Amy Barnbrook (NSW) & Brett Pearce (NSW) – ASS

2.4mR
– Matt Bugg (TAS) – AST
– Neil Patterson (TAS) – ASS

Race Schedule:

Monday 8 December – Fri/Sat 12th/13th December: Qualifying & Final Series
Saturday, 13th – Medal Race: 49er/FX, Nacra 17, RSX
Sunday, 14th – Medal Races: Laser/Radial, Finn, 470 M/W

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