Challenging start for defending World Champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan at 2016 470 World Championships

Belcher Ryan 470 2016 Worlds

Defending World Champions Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD) had a challenging start to the 2016 Men’s and Women’s 470 World Championships, which kicked-off in San Isidro, Buenos Aires, Argentina over night (Monday, 22 February local time).

The three-time World Champions finished race one in fourth, but after a U flag at the start of the race the result did not count. A top-twenty finish in race two sees them sit at the back of the 42-boats fleet in 33rd after day one and with five more days to go.

“It was a tough day for us. We were sent out for a 12 pm start but there wasn’t any wind. We eventually got a start in at 2.20 pm in a light but building breeze. The conditions were nice with over a knot of current, which made for some interesting racing. We were racing well but got caught up in a few back markers at the start of race one and with one knot of current we literally got dragged over on the U flag start – a little bit silly in the first race of the Worlds but a good lesson. We finished 4th in the race but doesn’t count.”

“The second race again was really difficult to get off the line. We have 44 boats in the fleet and there isn’t much room on the course. I’m not sure what position we got but around the early 20’s. We will focus more tomorrow to get off the line and try and find some clean lanes,” Mat Belcher said about the events of the day.

“This was not the start we were looking for but we have the experience to get ourselves back on track. We have quite the hole to get out of now but we’re looking forward to the challenge,” he added.

A total of three Australian Sailing men's 470 crews are competing in Buenos Aires with Australian Sailing Squad’s Patrick and Alexander Conway (NSW) and Victorians Tom Klemens and Tim Hannah finishing the first day in the Men’s 470 fleet in 17th and 36th respectively.

In the women’s fleet Australian Sailing Team’s Carrie Smith (WA) and Jaime Ryan (QLD) started the event with a 28th and finished day one with an eighth to be ranked 17th. New combination of Sasha Ryan (QLD) and Ella Clark (WA) had a UFD and 19th and sit in 31st in the 39-boats fleet.


2016 RS:X World Championships  

In other World title events, Australian Sailing Squad’s Joanna Sterling (QLD) finished day one at the 2016 RS:X Men’s and Women’s World Championships in 32nd after posting a fifth and 29th.

Australian Sailing Squad’s Joanna Sterling (QLD) is the only Australian participant at this event. She 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, securing country qualification for Australia in the Women’s 470 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.

– Cora Zillich/AST

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