Burton and Wearn fight for Laser title, Belcher/Ryan also on top

World Champions Mat Belcher (NSW) and Will Ryan (NSW) will lead the 470 Men ten-boat medal race line up on Sunday (30 November) after a solid 2, 2 scoreline from Saturday’s two races at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi. After a total of six races the duo leads with six points over Panagotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis from Greece.

World #1 Tom Burton is the leader in the Laser fleet ahead of fellow Aussie Matt Wearn (WA) who moved up into second place on the penultimate day of racing. It will be a final day shootout in the Laser at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates with only minimal separation in the fleet ahead of Sunday’s double points do or die Medal Races following a thrilling penultimate day of racing on Saturday.

Finn sailor Jake Lilley (QLD) managed to move up the ranks and will go into Sunday’s medal race ranked fourth. 

Both Australian skiff crews with David Gilmour (WA) and Rhys Mara (NSW) in the men’s and Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Caitlin Elks (WA) in the women’s fleet just missed out of the medal race after late scoring changes.  Also Finn sailor Oliver Tweddell (VIC) missed out after finishing 15th after six races.

Four out of seven Australian crews have thus qualified for the final round and will contest Sunday’s medal races

With the Medal Race places decided the competitors will be fighting it out for ISAF Sailing World Cup Final glory as well as a share of the USD$200,000 prize money.

Abu Dhabi treated the sailors to another glamorous day with a north westerly wind coming in around 10-13 knots which made for some exciting action.

Laser  

World #1 Tom Burton and Matt Wearn are flying the Australian flag high in the Laser fleet at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, UAE, occupying the top two spots in the ultra-competitive fleet.  

Burton has been the standout performer of the week, recording three victories from six races.  He leads on 11 points but his young compatriot, training partner, room-mate and rival Wearn piled on the pressure with an outstanding day on the water to pull within nine points.  

Burton secured the opening race victory over Wearn by the narrowest of margins.  Wearn ramped things up in the final race ahead of Sunday’s deciding Medal Race and picked up an emphatic race win, finishing 60 seconds ahead of Jesper Stalheim (SWE).  

The result pulled the young Western Australian within reach of Burton and he was a happy sailor at the close of play, “I finally found some form,” smiled Wearn. “I definitely needed it to get into that area to try and push for the top three. It’s a bit of a shock to be up in second to be honest as the racing has just been so close in the Laser.”

“With just 20 boats and one dropped score after six races anything can happen. But that’s the way it is.”   Burton and Wearn are sharing a room in Abu Dhabi and it will be a case of ‘what goes on, on the race track, stays on the race track’ on the final day.  “I’m sure we’ll have a good time tonight,” joked Burton.  “There will be a bit of banter and stuff like that but it’s good to see an Australian one two.”  

“Matt and I train together a lot.  I competed against [Tom] Slingsby in the regatta before he won the Olympic gold and I know how good a feeling it was for me to be just behind him.  We train together so this will make for some good memories when we train this Australian summer.”  

Medal racing in a highlight competitive fleet is nothing new to Burton who has made the cut in all events he’s competed at throughout 2014, picking up an abundance of medals along the way.  

For Wearn he has not faced off against all of the best Laser sailors in the world but goes in with no fear, “Tom’s got a bit more experience than me in Medal Race situations but I think I’ll go out there and just go for it.  If I can win the race then anything can happen.  

“It would be pretty big to finish on the podium.  I had a bad regatta at the worlds so to get the confidence back up and get back into the groove of the Laser class would be really good.”  

An Australian one two is certainly on the cards but Tonci Stipanovic (CRO), Francesco Marrai (ITA) and Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) are all within touching distance.  Nonetheless the ever confident Burton remains upbeat, “Depending on what the conditions are we will see what we can do. I’ll see what the conditions are like tomorrow. I think that maybe there will be some more breeze and inside here [just off of the Corniche] it should be interesting.”  

Racing is scheduled to commence at 10:00 local time (17:00 AEST) on Sunday 30 November.

The schedule is as follows:

10:20 (17:20) – Laser

12:15 (19:15) – Finn

14:40 (21:40) – Men’s 470

ISAF Sailing World Cup Abu Dhabi – AST & ASS entries&results (Day 3):

470M (Men’s Two Person Dinghy) – 7 races:

Mat Belcher (QLD) / Will Ryan (QLD) – AST: 2, (4), 3, 1, 2, 2 – 1st

Laser (Men's One Person Dinghy) – 7 races

Tom Burton (NSW) – AST: 5, 1, (21 UFD), 1, 1, 3 – 1st

Matthew Wearn (WA) – ASS: 3, 8, 9, 6, 2, 1 – 2nd  

49er (Men's Skiff – 49er) – 10 races

David Gilmour (WA) & Rhys Mara (NSW) – AST: 5, 6, 11, 4, 12, 5, 14, (16), 13 – 11th  

49erFX (Women's Skiff) – 10 races

Tess Lloyd (VIC) & Caitlin Elks (WA) – ASS: 6, 7, 8, 12, 5, 6, (18 DNF), 18 DSQ – 13th  

Finn (Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy) – 7 races

Jake Lilley (QLD) – ASS: 2, 5, 13, 11, 3, 8 – 4th   

Oliver Tweddell (VIC) – ASS: 16, 10, 17, 3, 10, 10 – 15th

Results

Results are available here – www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php

– Cora Zillich/AST

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