Australian Matt Wearn saved his best until last to win the 2019 Laser Senior European Trophy in Portugal after the scoreboard was turned on its head, while fellow Aussie Mara Stransky finished strongly in seventh place overall, her best result in a major international competition.
Tom Burton had looked strong all week, as had his nearest rival, Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR), but Wearn had other ideas.
The West Australian came from third place, finishing off the regatta with a pair of second places to claim the European Trophy. As a non-European, he could not claim the European Championship title. Rio Olympic bronze medallist, Sam Meech (NZL) trailed Wearn by 14 points to take second overall, while Chiavarini placed third to claim the Championship title.
Tom Burton’s day did not go as planned; his 16th and 21st places dropped him from first place into fourth overall.
An elated Wearn commented, “Today was champagne sailing; 10 to 18 knots with great waves. Again, I really enjoyed the conditions and managed to grab the win after the last race.
“It feels great to take the win in such a competitive fleet,” ended Wearn who sailed against 161 of the best sailors from around the globe.
Mara Stransky finished seventh overall in a polished Laser Radial fleet. She did not have her best day, ending with 15th and 21st places, dropping the latter result. Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) and Marit Bouwmeester (NED), the Rio Olympic silver and gold medallists respectively, finished top two, while other Olympians and world champions finished above the Queenslander.
“I’m really happy with my performance overall in mixed conditions,” Stransky said. “Although I did hold onto good positions like a leaky sieve, I was very happy with the processes that got me to those positions in the first place.”
Generously, Stransky added: “I still think there’s nothing in it between the Aussie girls. A lot of things fell into place for me this week and I certainly wouldn’t have made it this far without them.”
The Australian Sailing Squad’s Elyse Ainsworth finished 42nd in the Gold fleet, while Zoe Thomson was 62nd in the Silver fleet.
In the Laser, Australians Mitch Kennedy jumped up a few places to finish 11th, Luke Elliott dropped to 13th and Finn Alexander climbed from 22nd to end the regatta 17th overall.
Australian Sailing Team results
Laser (162 boats)
1st Matt Wearn – 4,7,6,2,(9),(18),5,7,3,1,2,2 = 39
4th Tom Burton – (9) 5,1,3,2,1,2,2,5,18,16,(21) = 55
11th Mitch Kennedy – 5,9,(11),8,4,8,9,17,(47),21,8,11 = 100
13th Luke Elliott – 1,(10),1,3,10,7,(BFD),12,20,15,25,8 = 102
17th Finn Alexander – 4,10,8,3,17,(26),21,19,22,(43),6,19 = 129
Laser Radial Gold fleet (120 boats)
7th Mara Stransky – (28),3,11,12,5,6,8,17,19,10,15,(21) = 106
42nd Elyse Ainsworth – 14,15,17,15,31,36,(38),20,45,(56),29,44 = 268
62nd Zoe Thomson – 15,35,(47),21,15,(BFD),1,2,3,6,23,3 = 124