Following a strong first day at the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, Australian Sailing Team (AST) and Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) athletes have strengthened their positions on Day 2, despite the continuing tricky sailing conditions on the Bay of Aarhus.
The 49ers were first up in the morning with a further three races held and a drop coming into play. Four crews have moved up from their overall positions yesterday, Jim Colley and Shaun O’Connor (ASS) leading the way in fourth overall after scoring 4-1-3 results.
“Happy days,” Colley said ashore. “I don’t know where we are in the overall results. We don’t look. It’s one race at a time, as the old cliché goes. We still have a lot of races left so we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.”
The Australians only returned to the international arena this year because of previous COVID restrictions, so results have been patchy, up until Mara Stransky won Gold in the ILCA 6 at Kiel Week in Germany little more than a week ago.
“I definitely feel it’s the case until here in Aarhus,” Colley, from NSW agreed. “We were out of race practice. We had a lot to learn and a lot of catching up to do because of logistics and COVID. It hasn’t been easy.
“It’s a credit to the Australian squad sailors pushing each other hard. We are not at the top yet, but we are getting better. This regatta does offer more opportunities with big shifts and winds from light to heavy from race to race,” Colley explained.
Queenslanders Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS) also lifted after a day that ended with a pair of third places and a drop result of 14th.
Needham declared: “We had a good day.“ The conditions were quite full on. Really shifty and gusting from 12 to 30 knots. It made for big gains and big losses throughout the races.
“The whole Aussie squad is doing well at this regatta. We’re all making steps up in racing overseas now. We’re finding our feet, putting in the gains we made at home,” said Needham admitting, “We felt early in the season we were behind the eight ball and had to play catch up, but now we are on top of it.
“Looks like it will be groundhog day all week; shifty and changeable offshore winds,” he asserted.
In other 49er results, Jack Ferguson and Max Paul (ASS) are having a brilliant regatta, moving up to 19th overall, courtesy of winning the day’s final race in their group.
Rio Olympic gold medallist in the Laser (now ILCA 7), Tom Burton (ASS), made the switch the 49er, but only joined the international circuit with Simon Hoffman (ASS) at Hyeres in April. Today they too moved up the leaderboard. Their results, including a fourth, show future potential.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST) have begun to find the form that led to their selection to two Olympic Games, inclusive of a silver medal at Rio 2016. The cousins sailed to 14th , seventh and fourth today, moving them up to 12th place overall in the Nacra 17, where they are the best placed Australians.
Waterhouse explained: “We are a little bit behind because we missed the first training block with illness. We raced at Kiel and then came straight to Aarhus to put time in on the water.
“Today was good for bridging that gap. It was really, really puffy, with more breeze than yesterday, making it easy to gain, especially on the upwinds.
“We are making progress but it’s frustrating not being at top of fleet where we’re used to being.”
Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS) remain the best placed of the Australian 49erFX pairs, although similar to their fellow Aussies in the class, were not immune to mixed performances. The Sydney sailors posted 23-11-2 results, dropping two places to 11th overall. Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS) were the most consistent with 13- 9- 7 placings.
The Olympic classes regatta continues tomorrow (Thursday local time).
Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) results and overall placings:
Nacra 17 (33 entries) – 6 races (one drop)
12th – Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST) (15), 13, 10, 14, 7, 4 = 48pts
17th – Jack Liddell and Lucy Copeland (AST) 14, (23), 23, 13, 12, 18 = 80
23rd – Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown (ASF) (26), 16, 19, 25, 26, 22 = 108
28th – Archie Gargett and Sarah Hoffman (ASF) 20, (28), 31, 20, 27, 27 = 122
49erFX (70 entries) – 6 races (one drop)
11th – Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS) 20, 2, 3, (23), 11, 2 = 38pts
18th – Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS) 12, (17), 5, 13, 9, 7 = 46
40th – Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (ASS) 21, 14, 17, 10, (30), 22 = 84
42nd – Chloe Fisher and Laura Thomson (ASF) 16, 24, 18, 26, (28), 9 = 93
67th – Mina Ferguson and Madeleine McLeay (ASF) DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC = 180
67th – Lilly Richardson and Matilda Richardson (ASF) DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC = 180
49er (93 entries) – 6 races (one drop)
4th – Jim Colley and Shaun O’Connor (ASS) 3, 5, (9), 4, 1, 3 = 16pts
12th – Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS) 11, 7, 2, 3, (14), 3 = 26
19th – Jack Ferguson and Max Paul (ASS) 5, 6, (18), 10, 9, 1 = 31
30th – Tom Burton and Simon Hoffman (ASS) (28), 7, 11, 14, 4, 10 = 46
42nd – Thomas Cunich and Miles Davey (ASF) 10, 13, 13, 15, (16), 16 = 67
79th – Otto Henry and Flynn Twomey (ASF) 26, 29, 19, 19, 21, (DNC) = 114
89th – Ryan Littlechild and Jack Hildebrand (ASF) DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC, DNC = 160
Follow the regatta, including full results here:
By Di Pearson/Australian Sailing Team media