ILCA Europeans set to kick off in the South of France

The 2022 Senior European ILCA Championships are about to get underway in Hyeres, France, with both the ILCA 7 and ILCA 6 classes set to compete simultaneously.

It’s been a tale of two seasons for the Australian ILCA 7 and ILCA 6 squads with the ILCA 7 sailors having a sporadic season of regattas whilst the ILCA 6 women have been back-to-back in their competition schedule

Technical Director of the Australian Sailing Team Michael Blackburn provided a snapshot of the ILCA squad’s year so far. “Oddly, this year’s major regattas are really strung out for our ILCA 7 sailors, with a Worlds in May and Europeans in November.

“Most of our ILCA 7 squad came away from the Worlds disappointed, so they were eager to head back to Europe and will look to finish the year on a high.”

Blackburn continued, “Our ILCA 6 squad had a goal this year to ramp up their racing experience by competing at all major regattas. After spending spring-summer in Europe, they headed to the Worlds in Texas where they had some strong results, but they’ve also spotted key processes they’d like to continue working on in a big fleet.”

Lead Australian ILCA 6 Squad Coach is Belgian Olympian, Carolijn Brouwer, who divides the coaching role with Assistant Coach Ben Walkemeyer, shared her thoughts on how the squad has progressed over the 2022 season.

Mara Stransky CREDIT Beau Outteridge
Mara Stransky CREDIT Beau Outteridge

“I am very proud of how far this squad has progressed in one year. Mara (Stransky) and Zoe (Thomson) were both finalists at the Australian Sailing Awards last week, with Mara taking home the trophy (for Australian Female Sailor of the Year) and Casey (Imeneo) and Elyse (Ainsworth) got a personal best at the recent World Championships in Houston.

“This is a real testament to the hard work the squad put in this year and I am confident the girls will put in a huge effort next week.”

Newly crowned Australian Female Sailor of the Year Mara Stransky is looking to come out firing after having a short break following the World Championships just a few weeks ago.

Stransky shared, “I’ve had a bit of time out of the ILCA since the worlds, just maintaining fitness and getting on the water to wingfoil and sail some bigger boats. It’s been so nice to get back in the little boat in some really fun, onshore, wavy conditions.

“Following the Worlds, I’m really looking to work on my decisiveness, I can’t wait to get into it.”

New South Welshman, Finn Alexander, is raring to get back on the race track after many months of hard training both domestically and overseas since their World Championships in Mexico back in May.

Looking ahead to this week’s racing, conditions are expected to take a turn from the easterly winds the sailors have been preparing in. Alexander explained, “We have had some slightly unusual conditions for this time of year, warm weather and warm sea temperature have made a very mild start of European winter, but the typical mistral breeze is looking like it will push through, so there is potentially some windy racing coming our way.”

Alexander added, “I am super keen to get back into racing after a pretty big break between regattas, I’m ready to let rip.”

LaserTop Mark Elliott CREDIT EurILCA
LaserTop Mark Elliott CREDIT EurILCA

Twelve races are scheduled from the 16th to the 21st of November with three days of qualifying planned followed by the Final series.

Find out more at the event website here.

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and other Australian (AUS) entries:

ILCA 6 (110 Boats)

Mara Stransky (AST)

Elyse Ainsworth (ASS)

Casey Imeneo (ASS)

Zoe Thomson (ASS)

Evie Saunders (ASF)

Paige Caldecoat (AUS)

ILCA 7 (177 Boats)

Zac Littlewood (AST)

Luke Elliott (AST)

Finn Alexander (ASS)

Ethan McAullay (ASS)

Sam King (ASF)

Words: Lisa Darmanin

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