Great day for Aussie sailors at Weymouth

The impressive results have continued for the Australian's at the Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth, England, with race wins in the 49er, RS:X, Laser and Women's Match Racing classes on an entertaining day.

In the 49er fleet current World Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen extended their lead to 17 points after a sixth, eleventh, second and first in the four races.

“After four races we finished off with a win,” said Outteridge. “We were actually leading the first race and on the finish line went back to sixth with people sailing around us in different pressures, so that was a bit disappointing but anything in the top ten is good in this kind of fleet.

“We now have a bit of a lead over everyone, so the plan is to keep doing what we're doing and hopefully increase our lead to 20 points for the medal race and take the pressure off,” said Outteridge.

Tom Slingsby had another great day on the water, with a race win and a second placing to Olympic champion Paul Goodison in Thursday's two races extending his overall lead to 15 points with just three races remaining.

“The first race today was in about 17 knots which was dying the whole race and by the time the second race came around it had really lightened off, probably to ten knots with really big shifts,” said Slingsby.

“There were a lot of big gains and big losses out there but I was lucky I had a good day and sailed pretty conservatively,” he said. “In race two Goodison led and I just tried to back myself and back my judgement and he had a couple of minutes lead but in the end only got me by about ten seconds.”

“Every time he'd give me a bit of leverage I'd pull him back a bit and in the end he just cut off the leverage and covered me to the finish,” said Slingsby.

The Australian Sailing Team's Jessica Crisp had a positive day with a race win and a fourth placing moving her up to sixth overall.

Australia's two Women's Match Racing crews have qualified for the quarter finals after vital victories aboard the Elliott 6's skippered by Lucinda Whitty and Katie Spithill.

“We only sailed one race today and it was a must win for us, If we had have lost it would have been all over so we're pretty happy,” said Whitty.

“We had a penalty in the pre-start and led around the top mark and around the bottom, so on the second leg upwind we managed to just do it in time and then downwind it was game on, we won by just half a boat length, maybe even less,” she said.

In the 470 men's class Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page finished the day with a seventh and tenth placing and are now in second position, just one point behind the leading crew of Nic Asher and Elliot Willis of Great Britain.

In the Laser fleet James Burman is 37th in the Gold fleet and Sean Bly is 26th in the Silver fleet while in the Finn class James Patterson is in 32nd position.

Sonar sailors Colin Harrison, Barry Astwood and Russell Boaden are in seventh position overall after a sixth and two sevenths in the day's three races.

Paralympic Silver medallist Rachael Cox is 12th in the 2.4mR class and fellow Australian Duncan MacGregor is in 15th position.

Racing continues on Friday with medal races to be held on Saturday, 19 September.

For more information go to www.australiansailingteam.com.au

-Craig Heydon

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