Bullet fires Aussies up at World Champs

After the tempest comes the calm. Nice wind and sunny skies greeted the crews on St Margarets Bay for the second day’s racing at the 2022 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships.

First up were the 49ers, which completed their allotted three races to take their total to four. The highlight for the Aussie 49er teams was Max Paul and Jack Fergusson securing a bullet (first place) in the first race of the day.

Paul commented, “It was a tough day, but definitely a lot calmer than yesterday. We executed a good plan in the first race to get to the favoured side, which paid off. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get off the start line in the second and third races, and had to dig back through the fleet.”

“It’s super challenging with only two fleets, also the quality is really high, and with so many good boats it makes it very difficult to make passes when you get behind. Hoping for a better day tomorrow”, said Paul reflecting on the 18th and 12th places that followed their win.

49er Coach, Euan McNicol’s appraisal was, “We had good sailing conditions with 9-13 knots that built throughout the day from the South. It is tough racing in all fleets.”

Taking into stock today’s bullet and yesterday’s DNFs, the question remains, how many crews does he think will make it through to the all-important Gold Fleet? “It’s a good question. They will likely have four more races tomorrow, and the points are close. So they need to take care of the fundamentals, and race well to move up. Everyone will have the opportunity tomorrow if they are good enough.”

Annie Wilmot CREDIT Beau Outteridge
Annie Wilmot CREDIT Beau Outteridge

Annie Wilmot and Laura Harding are in 8th place overall in the 49erFX after a solid string of consistent results. Wilmot said of it, “With the fleet size being a lot larger than usual, there’s a lot of snakes and ladders in the racing. Some tactical decisions that normally pay off don’t always transfer with the larger fleet, so we’ve been focusing on getting the important moments right.”

“The conditions here have been awesome the past two days, and it’s always fun when things get ‘sendy’. It’s great to see how far we’ve come this year after being in Australia for two years, and this week is about putting together everything we’ve been learning throughout the year.”

“Really looking forward to the next few days with differing forecasts.”

Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin CREDIT Sailing Energy
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin CREDIT Sailing Energy

In the afternoon session, and despite a bit of a delay on the water, the Nacra 17s also completed three to make them the only class with a full compliment of six races registered. The 49erFXs completed two to make five in total.

The reason this is so important is that it brings the drop into play, and for those who recorded a DNF yesterday, it is the chance to discard what is effectively like having a sinking dinghy being towed along behind the main vessel.

Lucy Copeland and Jake Liddell are in 12th place overall in the Nacra 17 foiling catamaran. Copeland commented after racing, “Today was quite tricky on the bay. Our course needed to wait about 45 minutes for the breeze to fill in, but then had a medium strength sea breeze for three races. Jake and I started the day poorly, making some tactical errors in race one, but then managed to make better decisions and stay closer to the front of the fleet in the second two races.”

In closing, Australian Sailing Team High Performance Director, Iain Brambell said, “It was great to see Max and Jack spring to the front, and then hold onto it for the win in the first race of the day.”

“Following yesterday’s big winds and waves, it was much appreciated by the athletes to get back to today’s conditions, which were experienced consistently throughout the last two weeks of lead-in preparation. In general, the Australian crews are showing great speed, but continue to fine-tune some minor technical issues. This fine-tuning will continue throughout tomorrow’s preliminary races with the goal of securing Gold Fleet status.”

“St Margarets Bay is a beautiful setting for the Worlds, and the Aussies are loving the Nova Scotian generosity and hospitality.”

Racing concludes on Monday September 5, 2022.

Visit the event website for full results.

Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan CREDIT Beau Outteridge
Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan CREDIT Beau Outteridge

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) at the 2022 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships:

49er – 68 entries

23rd – Jack Ferguson and Max Paul (ASS) – 18, 1, 18, 12 (31 points)

28rth- Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS) – 12, 14, 6, (24) (32 points)

30th – Tom Burton and Simon Hoffman (ASS) – (DNF), 20, 5, 9 (34 points)

44th – Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (ASS) – 22, 25, 8, (32) (55 points)

59th – Ryan Littlechild and Jack Hildebrand (ASF) – (DNF), 26, 29, 27 (82 points)

49erFX – 36 entries

8th – Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS) – (21), 10, 10, 11, 6 (37 points)

22nd – Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (ASS) – 23, 7, (29), 25, 20 (75 points)

26th – Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS) – 28, (29), 15, 19, 22 (84 points)

Nacra 17 – 34 entries

4th – Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST) – 9, 5, 5, 3, (14), 5 (27 points)

12th – Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland (ASS) – 6, 14, 10, (22), 10, 14 (54 points)

24th – Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown (ASF) – 21, 21, 17, 15, 21, (22) (95 points)

By John Curnow


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