A complete lack of wind at the scheduled start time caused a delay to racing on day three of Sail Melbourne, but a late Seabreeze kicked in allowing for an action-packed afternoon to mark the halfway point of the 2023 Regatta.
Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) 49erFX team Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine were keen to get back out on the water today after wild weather saw the fleet complete just one race yesterday.
“It was a pretty up-and-down day for us as we were sailing in one of the toughest conditions for our skillset at the moment,” said Haseldine. “That transitional breeze, in between 7-12 knots is something we want to work on. We were going through a few different modes and trying to be in the best VMG.”
The Sydneysiders are using the regatta to fine-tune their preparations for the World Championships later in the year.
“It’s been great to get some of the conditions we don’t normally get in Sydney, we’re looking to work in the waves and the breeze a bit more so we can train what we’re going to get in the Hague for our worlds in July.”
It’s a tight battle for the top spot in the 49er FX class, with Olivia and Evie currently tied for the top spot with ASS teammates Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot.
“It’s super exciting to see how everyone’s improved over the last few months, and we’re really excited to keep going with that,” said Price. “Sail Melbourne is really giving us a great base to get some final racing in before we head over to Europe later this year.”
Tom Burton and Max Paul had a strong day, scoring themselves a 2-1-1 and positioning themselves ahead of fellow ASS teams Jim Colley and Shaun Connor in second and Thomas Needham and Joel Turner in third.
The Australian Para Sailing Championships have been running alongside the 2023 Sail Melbourne Regatta over the past three days, with Neil Patterson crowned the winner of the 2.4 mR class this afternoon.
“Yesterday I got disqualified from a race for having the wrong sail number, so to win today I had to get first in both races,” said Patterson.
“In the second race I narrowly beat the person I had to beat so that was pretty touch and go. I think we crossed each other about 10 times so I really didn’t know I’d won the regatta until the last leg.
“I love Sail Melbourne, it’s at my home club and a great event. This is the second time I’ve won Sail Melbourne and I’ll definitely be back, this place is awesome.”
The Liberty class will continue to race over the next two days, with 2022 Australian Sailing Para Sailor of the Year Chris Symonds and Victorian local Alison Weatherly currently battling it out for the national title.
In the iQFOiL it’s Samantha Costin and Grae Morris leading the Women’s and Men’s classes respectively, each having posted straight bullets all week.
The strength of the current youth iQFOiL sailors is on display as well, with Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron sailor Jarrod Jones and Sandringham Yacht Club and Royal Brighton Yacht Club local Charlotte Wormald both leading their youth fleets whilst also positioned amongst the top five open sailors as well.
“At the moment I’m coming first in the iQFOil youth and fourth overall across both fleets which is pretty cool for me,” said Jones.
“It’s been really interesting racing with the adults, they’ve got bigger gear so that’s an added challenge, but it’s been really good to have some experienced guys in the fleet that we can push ourselves against.”
Australian Sailing Team star Matt Wearn was leading the ILCA 7 class coming into the day, but has retired from the regatta as he nurses a wrist injury that he picked up at the recent ILCA 7 National Championships in Sydney.
The Tokyo Olympic gold medallist pushed through some discomfort in the big waves yesterday, but is now keen to recover and ensure he is ready for the 2023 European season. He intends to return to training with the rest of the squad at their training camp in Adelaide with the British Sailing Team at the end of this month.
Sail Melbourne Principal Race Officer Stephen Aulich is excited to see the rest of the regatta play out.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic this week, we’ve got some good people around us. Sail Melbourne brings together the best we have here in Australia, and it’s been great to work with the coaches, jury and course race officers,” said Aulich.
“We have a group meeting all together each morning and it’s great to sit down and talk about how we can make the experience better for the sailors, so that part has been terrific.”
Racing resumes for classes at 1pm AEDT tomorrow.
Sail Melbourne is supported by the Victorian Government.
View a full list of results here.
Head of Marketing and Communications, Australian Sailing