Belcher and Page fifth at 470 European Championships

The Australian Sailing Team's 470 men's crew of Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page has finished fifth in the 2009 European Championships on Lake Traunsee in Austria.

Constantly changing conditions meant that only one race was run in the final two days of competition with Belcher and Page jumping the start before fighting back to finish 29th and just one point adrift of the Italian crew of Gabrio Zandona and Edoardo Mancinelli in fourth overall.

With a final race needing to be contested to enable a valid series, the race committee had the crews on the water for a 7am start with eventual regatta winners Harada Ryunosuke and Yoshida Yugo from Japan first to cross the finish line.

Australian skipper Mathew Belcher said that himself and Page were able to take a lot out of their limited time on the water in just their second European regatta together.

“The pressure and direction of our final race was quite stable, taking everything into consideration from this week,” said Belcher. “But unfortunately we jumped the start and had to go back. We managed to get back to 29th position, and with this race as our drop of the series slipped back to fifth place.”

“It was pleasing that after only limited time together we were fighting for contention throughout the regatta,” he said. “Obviously it would have been nice to capitalise on the opportunity to medal but we are happy with our performance in these conditions this week. It was the first time we've sailed in wind like this together so it's hard to expect more.”

“This regatta has been an invaluable learning experience for us, we're now looking forward to getting prepared for the World Championships in Denmark in August and some well earned rest,” said Belcher.

Belcher now returns home to Australia for University exams while Page heads to Sardinia to compete in the Farr40 World Championships.

Fellow Australians Sam Kivell and Will Ryan finished the regatta in 38th, ahead of Shane Hughes and Felix Patterson in 52nd and Alexander and Patrick Conway in 75th.

The Australian Sailing Development Squad crew of Stacey Omay and Chelsea Hall finished 27th in the strong women's fleet.

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