Australians have won Bronze medals in all three Paralympic classes at the Delta Lloyd Regatta, incorporating the Para World Sailing Championships, in Medemblik overnight. Aussie Luke Elliott also took Bronze in the Olympic Laser class.
Good sailing conditions with a building breeze throughout the day and a warm northerly provided challenging racing across the fleets.
In the Skud 18, the defending champions, Australia’s Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch took the Bronze Medal after a thrilling finish to the regatta. The Australians were disqualified in the penultimate race, meaning a strong result was needed in the final race of the regatta to hold onto a medal. The Aussies came out fighting, and with a strong start in the final race, they led around the top mark with the British second and the Poles in third. After a tough and close race, the positions didn't change with Fitzgibbon/Tesch taking the race win to secure the bronze.
“It's been a long week on the Eiselmaar,” said Fitzgibbon at the conclusion of the regatta. “We have learned alot this week and will take this away and use it in our preparations for Rio.”
The final day of racing was also thrilling in the Sonar Class, with Australia’s crew of Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden finishing strongly with two second places in today’s two races.
Medals in the 16 boat Sonar fleet were wide open going into the last day of racing, with the final results being determined in the last leg of racing. Alphonsus Doerr/Hugh Freund/Brad Kendell (USA) had led overnight and held a four-point margin going into the final day.
A fourth in the first race of the day reduced the American’s lead to three points and going into the final race there were still only six points separating the top four boats. The title could still have gone to any of them. The Aussies, Colin Harrison/Jonathan Harris/Russell Boaden made the best start in the final race with John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Stephen Thomas (GBR) close behind. The Americans trailed in ninth at the top mark and made a huge recovery downwind to round third. On the final downwind the British team found a way past to win the race and take silver from the Australians who had to settle for bronze. The separation between the medallists was just three points.
“It was a tough end to a very challenging day with a roller coaster ride of emotions as we were up and down,” said Harrison at the end of racing. “As always it's very close racing, and there are a few teams that have jumped right up. There are now several teams who could potentially take top three.”
In the 2.4mR, Australia’s Matt Bugg took the Bronze medal after a mixed day on the water. The Aussie came third in the first race of the day, after a strong start and a solid performance in the race. However, he was a little too eager in the final race, and had to restart the race after being over the line at the start.
“In the second race I was looking to win the pin end start but was a little early and had to turn around and restart the race. From then I was in damage control.
“It seems like the level of competition had stepped up another notch – it's getting harder and harder but I’m enjoying the challenge more and more.”
Meanwhile in the Olympic Laser Class, Australia’s Luke EIliott has had his first podium finish in Europe after finishing fourth in today’s medal race.
“I was gifted a second chance when today’s first race was abandoned,” said Elliott. “In the second race everything came together on the last run.
“This is my first medal at a euros regatta so that's really good and I enjoyed the regatta a lot.”
– Megan McKay/Yachting Australia