The first day of Gold fleet racing brought mixed results for Aussie teams chasing podium places at the 2019 Hyundai 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships in Auckland.
Leading the Aussie pack in the 49er Gold fleet are the Phillips brothers, William and Sam, with a second place in their last race of the day lifting them up to seventh overall. The key to their showing was coping with the different pace and pressure at the top.
“Gold fleet sailing is quite different. It always takes a little adjustment,” Sam Phillips explained.
“There’s a lot more boats at a higher skill level, a lot more boats that are going fast.
“There’s a premium on making sure you are going fast and then having really good execution to be able to get to the front of the fleet.”
Phillips added that there are lessons they’ve learned that they’ll carry over for the rest of the racing. “Being comfortable just grinding away in the pack and taking an opportunity when it presents itself rather than going on a flier. Other than that, keep it simple.”
Just one point back, in 11th place, are fellow Aussies Jim Colley/Shaun Connor. They have really lifted their game in the past two days, thanks to a new approach.
“For us it’s been basically a change in mindset. We’re not sailing the boat any differently, we’re just almost giving ourselves permission to be at the front of the fleet,” Colley said.
“That’s been the biggest shift over the last two regattas and with that comes confidence and then the ability to execute the skills we learned in training, something we struggled with at the start of the year.”
“What triggered it was when we were performing overseas we sort of knew we were better than that. We could perform better,” added Shaun. “We’ve seen ourselves with the rest of the Aussies training and the way we evaluate our performance we are quite honest with ourselves. We knew something had to shift together we worked on that.”
It explains why it means so much to them to be where they are now: “Unbelievably stoked,” Colley said, “but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves, we’re just taking it one race at a time.
“The biggest goal is to go out there and love what we do and enjoy the racing. If we do that then we sail well, and the results take care of themselves. It does mean a lot. It means that what we are doing is paying off.”
The duo says they really haven’t thought ahead, but Jim confessed “Thoughts are starting to creep in.”
The pendulum swung again for the top two Aussie teams in the Nacra17 today, with Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin climbing into second place and the brother and sister crew of Nathan and Haylee Outteridge dropping to twelfth on the leaderboard.
“It was really up and down,” Darmanin said. “No lap was the same, so it was just trying to keep the points as low as possible.”
Conditions for the first day of gold fleet racing were tricky with a choppy sea and light winds.
“The reason we did well was that it got pretty bumpy and usually when the waves come up we tend to do well,” she explained.
“We’re kind of ready for any conditions and it’s good just to mix it up and let the leaderboard shuffle a little bit. Jason and I we just like to chip away. We don’t like to do anything special and we got pretty good starts and good laylines. Just kept it simple and kept the points flowing.”
The Outteridge siblings will also be doing some homework: “We’ve got a few things to look at tonight – video footage, our tracking and everything like that,” Haylee conceded.
“We’ve got a few ideas we can brainstorm overnight to get a bit more speed and get back to the way we were racing before.”
So what went wrong? “Everything,” Nathan said. “We weren’t starting well, got the shifts wrong in first two races on the first beat and not going well downwind.
“We set up for a lot more wind in the first race and could a hardly trapeze for a lot of it which was a bit frustrating. We did get better the rest of the day so that was at least a small positive.”
The siblings acknowledging there’s a battle ahead. Nathan again: “Every day’s a battle. I think people don’t realise that even on the days when you have very good results how difficult it is.
“All it takes is a couple of things to not go your way and you tumble down the leaderboard very quickly. It’s just as easy to be back up there tomorrow. We’ve just got to eradicate a few of our errors.”
For the Aussie 49erFX sailors in the Silver fleet, it was a case of making the most of the rest of their time in Auckland. “We were trying to practice today being a bit more consistent,” Australian Sailing Squad athlete Amelia Stabback said. “It let us down in qualifying and that was our goal today; better risk management.
“We’re taking the opportunity to practice some skills and test ourselves in a big fleet ready for Geelong, our next worlds, in a couple of months,” added crew Caitlin Elks. “It’s a really good chance to use the big fleet while we can because we don’t get it very often in Australia.”
Australian Sailing Team, Australian Sailing Squad and other Australian entries:
49er (88 boats) Gold Fleet
7th Will Phillips and Sam Phillips (AST) – 2,7,2,9, 10 ,8,11,11,7,21,2 (78)
11th Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (AUS) – 10,6,7,4,14,13,1,3,12,5,15 (90)
20th David Gilmour and Lachy Gilmour (AST) – 20,10,8,8,3,6,15,8,14,11,13 (110)
30th James Grogan and Max Paul (AUS) – 13,8,4,1,11,13,22,20,15,4,12 (122)
45th Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS)- 14,14,6,18,1,7,15,18,8,31 (BFD) (149)
53rd David O’Connor and Fang Warren (AUS)- 24,17,20,2,19,25,20,19,2,18,22,15 (178)
58th Kurt Hansen and Simon Hoffman (ASS) – 12,13,15,18,19,17,21,20,1,1,2 (139)
62nd Oliver Manton and Jack Lloyd – 17,23,22,22,16,9,21,20,15,6,6 (176)
65th John Cooley and Thomas Cunich (AUS) – 19,20,21,17,14, 25,11,24,14,4,21 (189)
49erFX (61 boats) Silver Fleet
26th Amelia Stabback and Caitlin Elks (ASS) – 15,6,3,13,21,7,2,11,8 (108)
37th Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot (ASS) – 20,5,21,12,22,8,18,15,(BFD)9 (153)
38th Tessa Parkinson and Ella Clark (AUS) –21,16,11,3,18,23,18,18,4,24 (156)
43rd Tess Lloyd and Jaime Ryan (ASS) – 24,17,14,15,26,20,4,22,15,6 (163)
50th Laura Harding and Laura Thomson (AUS) – 29,29,26,26,12,23,20,6,9,27 (207)
59th Chloe Fisher and Eleanor Grimshaw (AUS) – 28,17,25,26,28,29,29,18,27,31 (258)
Nacra17 (52 boats) Gold Fleet
2nd Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST) – 6,13,9,3,4,1,4,4,4,1(49)
12th Nathan Outteridge and Haylee Outteridge (AST) – 3 ,5,3,6,3,2,1,24,15,13 (75)
29th Paul Darmanin and Lucy Copeland (ASS) – 14,11,15,17,18,8,12 ,6,5,5(110)
47th Steve Brewin and Karma Randall (AUS) – 19,22,21,20,20,20,23,13,20,20 (198)
49th Emma Jones and Hugo Hamilton (AUS) – 25,20,23,25,23,17,22 ,11,22,17,(205)
50th Jake Liddell and Rita Booth (AUS) – 24,21,25,24,25,24,12,23,22 (223)
Full results: https://49er.org/event/2019-world-championship/