Australians come out firing at French Olympic Week

The French Olympic Week has commenced today in Hyeres and the Australians squad have come out firing with Grae Morris leading the charge in the iQFoil. Meanwhile, Breiana Whitehead sits in fourth in the Women’s Formula Kite, setting the stage for an exciting week ahead

This year, the iconic event has a unique format, with two simultaneous regattas catering to different objectives. The ‘Last Chance Regatta’ at the French Olympic Week offers a final opportunity for nations to secure Olympic quotas, with Australia keeping a keen eye on the men’s Formula Kite discipline where five spots are up for grabs. In contrast, the ‘Qualified Nations’ regatta accommodates countries already guaranteed a spot at the Games, presenting an ideal platform for fine-tuning strategies and honing skills.

Australian sailors are in all but iQfoil Women, with the Nacra 17 squad not present either as they prepare for their World Championships in just a few weeks in La Grande Motte, France.

After a short delay racing got underway, the light wind start to the day made it challenging for the foiling classes to keep flying, Grae Morris reflected on the day, describing it as “Light and tricky, but we got it done.”

Setback

Despite a setback in the first race, Morris remained resilient, clinching impressive results in subsequent races, he went on to explain “I had a bit of a shocker on my first one, I was the leading, but then touched it down (into the water) which wasn’t great, but then pulled through for the next one with a two and a one. So, I was pretty happy and had some good learnings.” 

For Morris and Whitehead, the French Olympic Week serves as invaluable preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. With a smaller fleet of qualified nations, the regatta provides an ideal training ground for navigating the complexities of Olympic-level competition.

The Formula Kite racing completed five races in the building breeze. Whitehead, fresh from her recent triumph at the Princesa Trofeo Regatta in Spain, views the event as a crucial opportunity to refine her skills, “This is the last event before Worlds next month and then we have a bit of a break before Paris, so it’s just another chance to check in with the fleet,” said Whitehead.  

Both Morris and Whitehead are bound for Paris, with other 2024 Australian Olympic Team members set to hit the water tomorrow, including the newly announced athletes Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas in the Mixed 470 and ILCA6 sailor Zoe Thomson. These sailors are joined by the 49er team of Jim Colley and Shaun Connor, as well as FX pair Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine. Olympic Champion, Matt Wearn will also be fighting it out in the 68 boat ILCA7 fleet over the week. 

There is a strong contingent of Australian Sailing Team and Pathway Team members who will be pushing hard to make the most of the international racing here in France. 

For updates and insights over the French Olympic Week, follow us on socials @aussailingteam for daily updates or head to the event website to find the results

Australian Sailing Team (AST)Australian Sailing Pathway Team (ASPT), Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) and other Australian entries (AUS) at the French Olympic Week Regatta:


49er – QN – 30 Entries

Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (AST)
Jack Ferguson (AUS) and Max Paul (AST)

49erFX – QN –  9 Entries

Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (AST)

Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (AST)

Formula Kite Men’s – LCR – 64 Entries

22nd – Hector Paturau (ASF) –

32nd – Oscar Timm (ASF)      

Formula Kite Women’s – QN –  24 Entries

4th – Breiana Whitehead (ASPT)  

ILCA 6 – QN – 69 Entries

Casey Imeneo (AST)

Mara Stransky (AST)

Zoe Thomson (AST)

Elyse Ainsworth (ASPT)

Evie Saunders (ASPT)

ILCA 7 – QN – 68 Entries

Finn Alexander (AST)

Ethan McAullay (AST)

Matt Wearn (AST)

Zac Littlewood (ASPT)

iQFOiL Men’s – QN – 35 Entries

Grae Morris (AST)

Joseph Folley (ASF)

Matthew Quinlan (ASF)

Mixed 470 – QN – 27 Entries

Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas (ASPT)

Ashlee Daunt and Brayden Daunt (ASF)

Sophie Jackson and James Jackson (AUS)

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About Australian Sailing
Australian Sailing is the governing body for the sport of Sailing in Australia. We are responsible for the administration, promotion and development of sailing. We are a member-based organisation that represent the interests and provides services and support to over 360 clubs across Australia as well as more than 160 accredited Discover Sailing Centres.

Information: contact Lisa Darmanin, Australian Sailing Team Media Officer

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