Australians take to the water for first day of iQFOiL European Championships

It was a difficult opening day at the iQFOiL European Championships on Lake Garda in Italy, with those representing the Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) were not immune, as a lengthy wait for the breeze to fill in and the end of the day marred by protests affected the majority of competitors.     

Due to start at 12pm, racing was delayed for almost two hours while officials waited for the breeze to fill in. Shortly before 2pm, the wind had stabilised somewhat and a Sprint Slalom course was set up. 

The Men’s class was away first and contested four races in approximately 12 knots. Split into two groups, those on the southern course sailed in a more consistent breeze than their counterparts on the southern course.  The Women’s followed.

Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) athlete Natasha Bryant (NSW) generated the best Australian results in the Women’s competition, while 15-year-old Harry Joyner (ASF – WA) at only his second international regatta in the class, topped the Men’s scoreboard. Joyner made history recently as the first in the world to tack an iQFOiL on foils, which he repeated during racing overnight.  

Men's fleet.
Men’s action. Pic – Moan Photos

“The racing is pretty exciting and tough, being of the younger generation and coming to race against the legends of sailing. I feel pretty comfortable though, especially with my first three races,” Joyner, from Fremantle Sailing Club said. 

Brimming with the confidence of youth, Joyner admitted, “Knowing I’m not alone, having the rest of the Australian Team and Arthur (Brett) here, makes it easier for me. 

“I’m hoping for course racing tomorrow. I prefer it. It’s more technical. I’m lighter compared to some of the guys here, so course racing suits me.” 

Grae Morris (ASS) did not have the start to competition he was expecting, ending the day 100th on countback. 

“The starts were a bit tricky. Trying to work out who was over early was difficult. It was like gambling and then trying to play catch-up,” the Woollahra Sailing Club athlete explained.

Coach, Arthur Brett, commented, “It’s a tough environment. I’m loving being here and them gaining experience. We are gaining knowledge and information and experience on how we can climb our way up a mainly experienced fleet that includes Olympic medallists in sailboarding. We will get there, but we are not there yet. 

“It is amazing support from Australian Sailing investing in the future of this class,” Brett said of the iQFOil, which will make its Olympic entrance at Paris 2024. 

Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) results and overall placings:

iQFOiL Men (154 entries) – 4 races (one drop) 

69th – Harry Joyner (ASF) 11, 11, 21, (23) = 43 points

84th – Will McMillan (ASF) 5, 11, 17, (23)  = 51

98th – Caelin Winchcombe (ASS) (31), 25, 23, 11 = 59 

100th – Grae Morris (ASS) 23, 19, 17, (35) = 59 

138th – Jack Marquardt (ASF) 29, 27, 35, (39) = 91

iQFOiL Women (95 entries) – 4 races (one drop)

45th – Natasha Bryant (ASF) 19, 25, 13, (DNC)  = 57 points

65th – Samantha Costin (ASF) 29, 21, 27, (DNF) = 77

The event continues tomorrow and concludes on Sunday 22 May local time.

Follow the regatta, including full results at: https://iqfoilclass.org/iqeuropeans2022/  

By Di Pearson/Australian Sailing Team media

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