Australians climb on the penultimate day of ILCA 6 Worlds

Three races were held in moderate winds on the penultimate day of the ILCA 6 World Championships hosted out of Texas Corinthian Yacht Club.

After two impressive wins today, the reigning Olympic Champion, Anne-Marie Rindom of Denmark, leads by a sizeable 19 points ahead of defending World Champion Emma Plasschaert of Belgium. However, overall points remain tight, with just 13 points separating second to 10th place, meaning it is all on for tomorrow with just two fleet races scheduled to round out the Championship.

The Australian contingent had a solid day on the water, including a mixture of top-six finishes and keeper scores to climb them up the ranks ahead of the final day.

It was an emotional rollercoaster for Queenslander Mara Stransky, who struggled at the beginning of today. Yet, the Olympian pulled it together for the third and final race of the day, finishing in second place. The 23-year-old scaled four places overall and now sits 14th after ten races.

“After a tough start to the day, it felt nice to remember what it’s like at the front of the fleet,” Stransky said. “Hopefully, we can all take some of that form through to tomorrow’s racing.”

Elyse Ainsworth was today’s most prominent Australian mover, shooting up eight places to 25th overall. The WAIS athlete shared, “Today, I just really focused on getting a good start and getting the elbows out. I was disappointed after yesterday, but it was really important to refocus and try to improve today.”

The Australian ILCA 6 squad has shown improvements and resilience throughout the week as they work cohesively towards Paris 2024. Today was a good day for the team after a very long testing week, both mentally and physically.

Australian ILCA 6 national co-coach Ben Walkemeyer is pleased with the squad’s sailing today. He commented, “Mara came back with a strong result. She went head to head with the gold medallist Anne-Marie on the last downwind to battle it out for first or second in that last race. So, it’s a great booster for her knowing she can do it going into the last two races tomorrow.

Casey Imeneo CREDIT Helen Galli
Casey Imeneo CREDIT Helen Galli

“Casey had a great day with a fourth and a second, she was leading them both at different points, and Zoe and Elyse had pretty solid days as well. Elyse found herself up near the front in a couple of races, and so did Zoe.”

The strong results from Victorian Casey Imeneo has seen her rise to 20th overall, whilst 24-year-old Zoe Thomson held her position in 21st overall. The Australian squad is well within reach to push hard tomorrow and climb up in the overall rankings.

On the racing strategy, Walkemeyer observed, “It was a day where there were options to do well from either side because the shift range wasn’t as big. There were longer but smaller angle shifts with pressure, so speed was important and getting clear early off the start was also critical.”

The forecast is looking similar tomorrow, with a thermal enhanced gradient expected. Two races are scheduled from 12:00 local time, with the sailors anticipating a slight delay, considering the week so far waiting for the thermal enhancement to kick in.

ILCA 6 reaching CREDIT Helen Galli
ILCA 6 reaching CREDIT Helen Galli

Full results can be found here: https://jpvm.org/results/2022/ilca6_men_women/ILCA_6_Women_results.html

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS), Australian Sailing Futures and other Australian (AUS) entries:

ILCA6 (85 Boats)

Gold fleet (43 Boats)

14th – Mara Stransky (AST) – 8,10, 20, 12, 9, 7, 23, 21, (28), 2 (92pts)

20th – Casey Imeneo (ASS) – 11, 8, 12, 13, (41), 33, 15, 4, 2, 22 (107pts)

21st – Zoe Thomson (ASS) – 12, 11, 17, 9, 28, 6, (RET), 18, 14, 11 (109pts)

25th – Elyse Ainsworth (ASS) – 16, 12, 17, 11, (34), 30, 27, 24, 6, 12 (138pts)

38th – Evie Saunders (ASF) – 9, (25), 10, 14, 32, (43), 34, 32, 37, 35 (203pts)

Silver fleet (42 Boats)

49th – Sylvie Stannage (AUS) – 29, 21,25, (29), 14, 8, 13, 3, 19, 14 (116pts)

Words: Lisa Darmanin

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