The Australian Sailing Team had a successful return to the 2012 London Olympic Games winning one Gold, two Silver and one Bronze medal at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland (10-14 June), which concluded on Sunday (14 June)
The four medals concluded a strong regatta for Australian Sailing on the road to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games after nine boats had qualified for seven of the top-ten Medal Races.
The day started off light from a northern direction with the Nacra 17 fleet getting the first racing in. Following a short postponement whilst the wind shifted the race action got going again and culminated in some tense Medal Race action.
Australian Sailing Team’s Jason Waterhouse (NSW) and Lisa Darmanin (NSW) took home the Gold Medal in the Nacra 17 and added another win for Australia in this new mixed-gender multi-hull boat class, which will premier on the Rio 2016 Olympic program. It is the second World Cup win for cousins Waterhouse and Darmanin, after a gold medal at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Melbourne in December and a bronze medal at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in September last year.
Australian Sailing teammates and Olympic silver medallists Darren Bundock (NSW) and Nina Curtis (NSW) made it two medals for Australia in this boat class by winning Bronze.
World Champions Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD) won the silver medal in the Men’s 470 behind the USA, capping off a long week of racing.
In a nail-biting medal race, Australian Sailing Team’s youngest sailor, 19-year old Matthew Wearn (WA), added another silver in the Laser, beating teammate and World #1 Tom Burton (NSW), who finished the regatta in sixth.
London 2012 Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge (NSW) and Iain Jensen (NSW) also finished the regatta in sixth after they lost valuable points on the second day of the regatta which saw them drop down the ranks with enough points to make the medal race, but not enough to make it into the medal ranks. Their arch rivals Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) took the Gold.
Australian Finn sailor Jake Lilley (QLD) finished of a strong regatta with a second place in the medal race to conclude the event in overall sixth. Windsurfer Jo Sterling added an overall fifth and Laser Radial sailor Ashley Stoddart (QLD) a ninth place to the Australian results list in Sunday’s medal races.
Already on Saturday (13 June) Australian Sailing’s Paralympians Colin Harrison (WA), Jonathan Harris (NSW) and Russell Boaden (WA) won the Gold Medal in the Sonar event.
A total of nine Australian Sailing teams had qualified for Sunday’s top-ten medal races in seven out of the nine Olympic classes with Australian participation at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Weymouth and Portland (10-14 June).
First up on the day, the Nacra 17 had to contend with some light breeze on a changing racecourse.
Australian Sailing Team’s youngsters and 2014 World Championship bronze medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin went into the medal race in the lead after a strong, consistent week of racing. Following in fourth and tied on points with third were Olympic silver medallists Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis. Twelve points separated the two Australian boats with anything still possible in the double points medal race.
With a dying breeze, it was a game of patience where calm heads were required. Keeping their cool were overnight leaders Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin. The cousins kept things tight and a third after sailing recovering from the tail of the fleet at the first mark was enough for gold.
After yesterday’s racing in a strong breeze, today was a bit of an anti-climax because it was such light wind. But when we crossed the finish line I looked at Jason and couldn’t quite believe that we just did it. It was a bit of a relief as it was such a stressful race. It was tricky out there, but we kept our cool and sailed a really good downwind. Finishing third in the medal race got us to gold so we are really happy,” a beaming Lisa Darmanin said after racing.
“It was really hectic out there and I mean it in the nicest way possible. It wasn’t even that windy, but my heart was racing,” Jason Waterhouse confirmed the pressure. “Either way it was a great race, Lisa did a great job and I’m super proud of my cousin and we’re looking forward to the next event already. We’ll race at the Nacra 17 World Champs in July next and hope we can have another good result there.”
And in reference to two Australian teams finishing on the podium he added: “It’s great to have two Aussie medals in our class and I guess this reflects a bit the 2012 Olympics spirit as we’ve another strong team here.”
Australia’s second crew of Olympic silver medallists Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis were in top form in the medal race and came through in second. This was enough to promote them up into bronze medal position after Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT), who occupied the final podium spot overnight, were penalised for being over the line at the start with 22 points added to their tally. But it was not enough to move into silver, as Nina Curtis had hoped for:
“We went into today with all the points really close. Jason (Waterhouse) had a pretty solid lead. He was always going to be hard for us to beat, plus the points between silver to bronze and a few boats behind us were all really close.”
“While we're happy to take away the bronze medal, when we crossed the finish line, we actually thought we pulled off the silver medal. Unfortunately, the boat between us and another one were OSC, so that was a little bit disappointing. Nevertheless, we are really happy with how this regatta went for us and to be on the podium at the Sailing World Cup is always a good thing.”
And helmsman Darren Bundock added about the event as a whole: “It was a good event with a variety of conditions and it was promising for us that we showed we’re going a lot better now when it's strong and windy. That was a weakness for us last year and now it's becoming one of our strengths. The great thing is that we’re still going quite quickly in the light as well. So overall we’re very pleased with how we’re going. We’re off to Denmark next for the Nacra 17 World Championships and the next part of our Olympic selection. Obviously it’s getting very close and Jason and Lisa are doing very well, but we'll keep them honest and push them all the way.”
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470M
In the Men’s 470, World Champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan went into the medal race in the silver medal position with a comfortable lead to third but also with a seven points gap to the leading Americans and it all came down to Sunday’s medal race performance.
In a dying breeze it took two attempts to get the medal race in and with the U.S. crew of Stuart McNay and David Hughes putting in another strong performance winning the Medal Race they took home the overall win.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan finished eighth in the Medal Race to take silver.
“We tried to get the first race through which was pretty light. They made a good decision, actually, to cancel it and do the re-race in a nice South Westerly of about 7-8 knots, which were nice conditions, but all in all made for a difficult day of racing,” Mat Belcher said after racing.
Despite this being the third second place for the pair at a World Cup after Miami and Hyères, the Olympic gold medallist was confident about their Rio campaign:
“We’re very competitive and we want to win every event, or at least perform at our top in every event. And to come away with second is always a bit hard. It’s been three seconds now, against different guys at the past three World Cups. But it’s still a long road to Rio and we are happy, really happy with where we are in the campaign.”
“The major championships are coming up, with the Europeans up next in a couple of weeks. We have Worlds later on, the Pre-Olympics in August and then obviously next year, the Games. With all that in mind, we’re happy where we are and obviously doing the things we need to and improving the best we can.”
Men's One Person Dinghy – Laser
It was a tense finale in the Laser and anything was possible with a number of competitors mathematically in with a chance of taking the medals.
Going into the final medal race only one point separated Australian Laser sailor Matt Wearn from leading German Phillip Buhl. World #1 Tom Burton also qualified for the medal race after finishing in eighth place after the fleet racing.
It was a nail-bitting final race with changing positions and Matt Wearn’s overall result going up and down in between gold and silver. But in the end it was Germany's Phillipp Buhl who clinched gold in the nerve-racking race.
He finished the Medal Race in third but had Tom Burton to thank for him taking gold after he finished in between Buhl and Matt Wearn. Wearn needed to stay one place behind the German on the final run to the finish but Buhl managed to pass Burton near the end of the leg, meaning that Wearn missed Gold by a single point.
But there was no disappointment for Matt Wearn, who sailed a strong regatta and was very happy with the silver.
“It was a tight battle all the way around, losing positions and gaining positions everywhere. It was just the race to the bottom gate on the last downwind that really made the difference. Unfortunately Buhl just had a little bit more legs on me on the downwind but at the end of the day I’m pretty stoked to come away with a second, which is a good step.”
And asked about the fact that fellow teammate Tom Burton’s strong performance cost him gold he realistically said: “I was pretty well aware of what the points situation was. But obviously, TB (Tom Burton) was not going to slow down just for me to win a regatta, he's a good sailor and obviously would always go for the best result in a race. He’s a good bloke, he's happy for me and I’m happy for him when he does well. Buhl just sailed a good downwind and TB did all he could to do his best, no harm done.”
And Tom Burton added: “On the last run, I did have a glance back and saw Matt behind me and Philip obviously past me. Of course I knew the points, but what can I do, I'm not going to stop, its not a team game and that would look really bad. Its bad luck for him but he sailed a good week anyway and second is nothing to shy away from.”
And with regards to his own week of sailing he added: “It was quite a tough week and some aspects of my sailing were quite good and other aspects were quite basic and rookie level, so it was a little disappointing. I expected to get better each day, but more so than I did. I will need a bit of a boost going into the worlds in a few weeks and there are a few things to work on and much to improve on.”
Men’s Skiff – 49er
In the 49er, Olympic medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen lost their chance to win a medal on the second day of the regatta, which saw the pair drop from second to 15th. A lost day of racing on Friday (12 June) did not help their need for points to climb back up the results ladder. Solid results on the last day of fleet racing catapulted them back up into overall sixth and into the final medal race, but based on points the pair knew a medal would be out of reach.
In the medal race they finished third and thus sixth overall.
“We were pretty happy with our overall results after the fleet racing, but obviously it wasn’t enough to get us into medal contention. All the damage was done a couple days ago,” Nathan Outteridge said. “It's been a tough week for us here in Weymouth with some ups and downs, but all in all we sailed quite well. We just had that one bad day in the middle, which cost us a lot of points. We had an up and down medal race, but finished the race in third and were happy with that. Next up for us is Portugal for the Europeans and then we’ll be on to Rio for the test event after that.”
Men's One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) – Finn
Australian Sailing Squad’s Jake Lilley had a solid week and qualifying for the medal race was a big success for the young Finn sailor.
He was ranked ninth going into the medal race and based on the overall point score, an overall sixth was the best that he could reach. And that’s exactly what he did. A strong performance and second place in the medal race put him into sixth overall
“I did as much as I could to move up the leader board as far as possible. I had quite a good race and started well, like a bull out of a gate. I went up the first beat and had some good speed to lead at the top mark and bottom mark. Then the Frenchman got to the side of me and sailed around me upwind, but I stayed in front of the boys I needed to stay in front of and finished the race in second to move up to sixth, so, I’m pretty stoked with that.”
Women's One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial & Women’s Windsurfer – RS:X
Joanna Sterling had a good week of racing in the Women’s windsurfer and consistent results put her into overall fifth.
“I think finishing seventh in the medal race was a great finish to a good week of racing. My results have been pretty consistent and I have really been enjoying the conditions and the regatta. Europeans are up next for me.”
Fellow Queensland Ashley Stoddart also had a strong regatta in her second international medal race of the 2015 season and finished the event in ninth.
“Weymouth went really well, I was pretty happy with how I was sailing, and the results came in the end, I was fighting from the beginning and my worst place was a 13th so I was pretty happy with some consistent and good results,” Ashley said. “I made the medal race in Medemblik at the Delta Lloyd regatta and also here in Weymouth. That’s two top tens in a row, which is a good step ahead of the Europeans in Aarhus, in Denmark mid July.”
Individual class championships, including the Laser World Championships in Canada (29 June – 8 July) and the Nacra World Championships in Denmark (3 – 12 July) will be up next for the Australian Sailing Team, before selected athletes will come together again for the Rio test event from 15-22 August.
Watch the race action again here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQ8hlJyeqxk
About the Australian Sailing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth/Portland
The Australian Sailing Team (AST) and Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) are represented in Weymouth with 20 boats in nine of the ten Olympic class events as well as with one boat in the Paralympic Sonar class. Racing commenced on Wednesday, 10 June with a four-day series building up to the live Medal Races on Sunday 14 June.
Weymouth is the second time the Australian Sailing Team is racing in the new ISAF Sailing World Cup format. The ISAF Sailing World Cup changes were introduced at the last World Cup regatta in Hyères, France where Australia came away with three medals, one gold for Tom Burton in the Laser, silver for Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen in the 49er as well as for Mat Belcher and Will Ryan in the Men’s 470.
This ISAF Sailing World Cup is the second major event for Australia’s sailors on the road to Rio 2016 selection and the third of five 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup series events that lead up to the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi later this year.
Each World Cup class has a maximum of forty entries with the world’s top 30 ranked sailors having qualified for an invitation to compete at Weymouth and Portland through their ISAF ranking (as of 27 April 2015). The remaining entries were earned at last week’s qualification event, the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, the Netherlands.
Top results at the key international regattas are required to be named in the Australian Sailing Team and to be nominated for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic teams and Weymouth and Portland will be a good opportunity for final preparations before heading into the major class Championships coming up in 2015 as well as the Rio Test event (August 15-24).
2015 Australian Sailing Team & Australian Sailing Squad at Weymouth
Results as of Sunday, 14 June 2015
Men’s Two Person Dingy – 470M
– Mathew Belcher (QLD/QAS) & Will Ryan (QLD/QAS) – AST: 10, 7, 2, 1, (14), 2, 1, 4, 8 – 2nd
– Alexander Conway (NSW) & Patrick Conway (NSW) – ASS: 24, 4, 20, 17, 19, 23, 30, (34) – 19th
Mixed Multihull – Nacra17
– Jason Waterhouse (NSW) & Lisa Darmanin (NSW) – AST: 4, 2, (20), 7, 1, 5, 6, 3, 7, 6, 3 – 1st
– Darren Bundock (NSW) & Nina Curtis (NSW) – AST: 10, 5, (11), 1, 8, 6, 11, 5, 4, 3, 2 – 3rd
– Euan McNicol (NSW) & Lucinda Whitty (NSW) – ASS: (23), 1, 18, 19, 4, 22, 19, 21, 5,8 – 13th
Men’s Skiff – 49er
– Nathan Outteridge (NSW) & Iain Jensen (NSW) – AST: (30), 1, 7, 15, 22, 25, 3, 4, 6, 9, 3 – 6th
– David Gilmour (WA/WAIS) & Rhys Mara (VIC/VIS) – AST: 18, 12, 5, 27, 18, 20, 8, 13, 14, (29) – 16th
– Joel Turner (AST – QLD/QAS) & Lewis Brake (ASS – QLD/QAS) – ASS: 1, 28, 22, (40OCS), 35, 22, 13, 10, 10, 2 – 18th
– Will Phillips (VIC/VIS) & James Wierzbowski (VIC/VIS) – ASS: 11, 5, 13, 29, 30, 36, (38), 25, 25, 32 – 28th
Men's One Person Dinghy – Laser
– Matthew Wearn (WA/WAIS) – AST: 8, 7, (14), 1, 8, 2, 4, 5 – 2nd
– Tom Burton (NSW) – AST: 10, 6, (11), 5, 5, 15, 9, 4 – 6th
– Luke Elliott (WA/WAIS) – ASS: 21, (34), 9, 34, 16, 20, 7 – 29th
– Ryan Palk (QLD/QAS) – ASS: 23, 18, (30), 26, 31,14, 30 – 28th
– Mitchell Kennedy (QLD/QAS) – ASS: 32, 26, 36, (37), 23, 27, 32 – 35th
Other non-AST/ASS Australian crews: Jeremy O’Connell (VIC): 11, 13, 22, (28), 19, 23, 14 – 19th
Women's One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
– Ashley Stoddart (QLD/QAS) – ASS: 8, 13, 5, 11, 13, 10, 6, 10 – 9th
Men's One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) – Finn
– Jake Lilley (QLD/QAS) – ASS: 11, 8, 11, 5, 18, 11, 9, 2 – 6th
– Oliver Tweddell (VIC/VIS) – ASS: 22, 22, 25 (OCS), 19, 14, 4, 21 – 22nd
Women's Windsurfer – RS:X
– Joanna Sterling (QLD/QAS) – ASS: 1, (19 OCS), 12, 4, 7, 5, 2, 5, 5, 7 – 5th
Women's Two Person Dinghy – 470W
– Sasha Ryan (QLD/QAS) & Amelia Catt (TAS/TIS) – ASS: (21), 13, 7, 9, 16, 14, 12 – 13th
Women's Skiff – 49erFX
– Haylee Outteridge (NSW) & Sarah Cook (NSW – ASS: 19, 20, 2, 15, (25), 5, 17, 7, 16, 10, – 14th
– Tess Lloyd (VIC/VIS) & Caitlin Elks (WA/WAIS) – ASS: 18, (24), 19, DNC: withdrawal due to injury.
Three-Person keelboat – Sonar
– Colin Harrison (WA/WAIS) & Jonathan Harris (NSW) & Russell Boaden (WA/WAIS): (3), 2, 1, 1, 1, 1 – 1st
All results are available here – www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php
– Cora Zillich/AST