Belcher and Page challenge for medals in 470 Europeans

Australia's Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page are in a strong position to challenge for the medals heading into the final day of the 2009 470 Class European Championships in Austria.

Sailed in tricky conditions on Lake Traunsee Belcher and Page sit on 46 points after seven races, just six behind the third placed German crew of Lucas Zellmer and Heiko Seelig with three races left to run.

Belcher and Page have consistently been at the pointy end of the 82 boat fleet with a first placing in race two and a second in race five.

“The racing here is crazy,” said Page. “The wind shifts are huge and the pressure differences even bigger.”

“I suppose this is expected when you are surrounded by 1000 metre high mountains, and I do mean plural mountains,” he said. “Lake Traunsee is incredibly beautiful but a very difficult sailing venue.

The pair is progressing well in just their second European regatta together since pairing up earlier this year.

“We are enjoying any moment that we are not we are not postponed on shore and are making sure we use the time together to sail and race against the strong competition,” said Page.

The Australian crew is still well within striking distance of first place, just nine points behind Croatian's Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic and the Japanese pair of Harada Ryunosuke and Yoshida Yugo who are tied on 37 points.

“Tomorrow we head into the final, wind dependent, three races and the opportunities are there in front, and the challengers are waiting behind,” said Page.

“Nothing is guaranteed in this place, we just hope to get in as many races as possible tomorrow and throw the dice with the other competitors,” he said.

The two are joined in the men's fleet by fellow Australians Sam Kivell and Will Ryan who sit in 36th, ahead of Shane Hughes and Felix Patterson in 54th and Alexander and Patrick Conway in 75th.

In the women's fleet Australian Sailing Development Squad members Stacey Omay and Chelsea Hall sit in 26th place after five races.

For more information head to www.australiansailingteam.com.au.

 

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