Belcher and Ryan conquer weed obstacle course to move into podium spot at 2016 470 World Championships

It was a full day of racing at day four of the 2016 Men’s and Women’s 470 World Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Thursday, 25 February local time) with the Race Committee getting in three races for each fleet.

A lot of weed on the course made for a challenging obstacle course for the crews, but defending World Champions and World #1 pair of Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD) coped well with the challenges to move into a medal position with two days to go. They are ranked third after posting a 7-4-6 series.

“It’s been another long day on the water. We launched at nine am and didn’t get back until four in the afternoon. The conditions were crazy with lots of weed in the water and pretty shifty breezes between 6-15 knots. And to be honest, with the conditions for the first two races, they should not have been raced. There was too much weed on the course to fairly race but we coped well,” Mat Belcher said about the challenges of the day.

“We had to go over a few islands up the first beat which hurt us a bit but we seemed to cope better than most. But when you have to clear both foils more than 20 times a race, it says something. The most memorable part of the day was when 30 coaches boats were trying to clear the weed by cutting it up with their engines just after the general recall prior to the next start” 

“However, overall we had a good day and managed to stay out of trouble. To come away with the results we did today in the conditions we had, you can’t complain. Will and I are looking forward to tomorrow and try to close the gap to the leaders.”

New Zealand is currently sitting in first and eleven points ahead of Mat Belcher and Will Ryan, who still have one more day of final series racing ahead of Saturday’s double-points top-ten Medal race.

Australian Sailing Squads Patrick and Alexander Conway (NSW) dropped into 25th and Tom Klemens (VIC) and Tim Hannah (VIC) remain in 36th with one day of fleet racing left.

470 Men – Results after 8 Races
1. Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Willcox (NZL 2) – 37 pts
2. Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO 83) – 39 pts
3. Mathew Belcher/William Ryan (AUS 11) – 48 pts
4. Sofian Bouvet/Jérémie Mion (FRA 27) – 55 pts
5. Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergström (SWE 349) – 56 pts
6. Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis (GRE 1) – 69 pts
7. Onán Barreiros Rodríguez/Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP 9) – 69 pts
8. Gabrio Zandona/Andrea Trani (ITA 2) – 74 pts
9. Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson (RSA 1) – 81 pts
10. Stu McNay/David Hughes (USA 1 ) – 84 pts

For full results click here.

In the Women’s fleet, only four races had been completed going into Thursday’s racing and Australian Sailing Team’s Carrie Smith (WA) and Jaime Ryan (QLD) used the opportunity of a full three-race schedule to move up the ranks.

The pair started out the day with a 25th but finished with two top ten results – 8th and 10th to move from 18th into 14th.

“Today was an extremely tough day on the race course but overall we had a good day. We had two solid races and one where we got stuck with half the fleet in weed, which made it extremely tricky. We’ve been having big shifts and long days here, but we are keeping focused on our goals and trying to improve and learn every day in the tricky conditions,” Carrie Smith said.

Australian Sailing Squad’s Sasha Ryan (QLD) and Ella Clark (WA) posted a 13-13-32 series and move up into 22nd

Another three races are scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, 25 February local time starting at 11 a.m. (1 a.m. AEDT).  

470 Women – Results after 7 Races
1. Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA 9) – 25 pts
2. Xiaoli Wang/Lizhu Huang (CHN 1221) – 28 pts
3. Sydney Bolger/Carly Shevitz (USA 88) – 32 pts
4. Lara Vadlau/Jolanta Ogar (AUT 431) – 36 pts
5. Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL 75) – 43 pts
6. Anne Haeger/Briana Provancha (USA 1712) – 43 pts
7. Bàrbara Cornudella Ravetllat/Sara López Ravetllat (ESP 14) – 46 pts
8. Afrodite Zegers-Kyranakou/Anneloes Van Veen (NED 216) – 49 pts
9. Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA 177) – 50 pts
10. Agnieszka/Irmina Orozek (POL11) – 58 pts

2016 RS:X World Championships  

In other World title events racing continued 2016 RS:X Men’s and Women’s World Championships in Eilat Israel, but only for Gold fleet.

Australian Sailing Squad’s Joanna Sterling (QLD) is in Silver fleet, but when the Silver fleets went out to have their races the wind weakened. The Race Officer tried to start the first race two times, but the wind stopped. After a while all were sent to shore, hoping to be re-called later. As the wind did not resume, this day was lost, and no races started for the Silver fleets.

Joanna Sterling qualified Australia a spot in the women’s RS:X Windsurfer class for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the RS:X World Windsurfing Championships in Al Mussanah, Oman in October last year and will be vying for selection over the next couple of months.

The RS:X World Championship takes place in Eilat, Israel with racing scheduled from 22 – 27 February 2016.

For more event information see here:

Australian Sailing at the 470 World Championships

The 470 World Championships in Buenos Aires are the season highlight in the lead up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Current World #1 and defending World Champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan won the 2015 470 World Championships in Haifa, Israel in October last year, which was an historic, record-breaking sixth successive title for Olympic gold medallist Mat Belcher and a record 18th World Championship title for Australian Sailing Team’s ‘medal maker’ head coach Victor Kovalenko.

They have been a winning combination ever since getting together post the London 2012 Games and have continuously finished on the podium at every sailing regatta they have competed in.

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan wrapped up a successful 2015 with a win at the Copa Brasil de Vela mid-December after winning the 2015 Rio Test Event there in August and also kicked-off the Olympic year with win at the South American Champs, which was regarded the warm-up event for the World Championship.

After winning both the 2014 and 2015 Rio Test Events as well as the 2014 and 2015 Copa Brasil de Vela the pair remains undefeated on Rio Olympic waters.

While Mat Belcher and Will Ryan have already been selected to represent Australia in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the men’s 470 class, the women’s crew is yet to be selected. Australian Sailing Team’s Carrie Smith (WA) and Jaime Ryan (QLD) are vying for the spot and their selection over the next few months.

The pair got back in the boat just before the 2015 World Championships after extended medical issues sidelined 2013 ISAF Youth World Champion Carrie Smith for most of last year. They finished the 2015 World Champs in overall ninth and secured Australia a spot at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The top ten position at the World Championship also qualified the young duo, who are coached by Australian Sailing’s Olympic gold medallist Nathan Wilmot (NSW), for the Australian Sailing Team.

The new combination of Sasha Ryan (QLD) and Ella Clark (WA) complete the Australian contingent in the 40-boat women’s fleet.

Racing at the 2016 470 World Championships runs from Monday, 22 February through to Saturday, 27 February with the world’s best Olympic 470 class sailors racing out of Club Nautico in San Isidro over six days. The format for the 470 World Championship is 11 fleet races, followed by a top-ten double-points medal race on Saturday, 27 February for the top ten teams advancing from the fleet race series.

Qualifying and Final series will be followed by Saturday’s top-ten Medal Races and prize giving.

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