Morris up to second at Olympic Test Event

Grae Morris continued his climb at the Paris 2024 Olympic Test Event in Marseille, moving up to second place in the iQFOil windsurfing class with seven fleet races to come.

Morris said afterwards, “We had four slalom races today. Light wind meant a lot of pumping (of the sail). I pulled it together and stayed consistent, keeping it super simple and letting the rest of the fleet mess each other up.”

Matt Wearn OAM goes into tomorrow’s ILCA 7 Medal Race (top ten double points) in second place. He is nine points astern of the leader and five points clear of third place after a retirement in today’s final fleet race. Wearn commented that it would have been his drop (discarded result) at any rate and was looking forward to tomorrow’s final.

Australian Sailing Team (AST) Technical Director, Michael Blackburn added, “Wearny is in great condition, but his boat wasn’t after a collision that resulted in a large crack in the gunwale of the Devoti ILCA he was using. This has resulted in a move back to the AST’s well-known Element 6 ILCA. He will now use Zoe’s (Thomson) hull with his Test Event rig for tomorrow’s medal race.”

The Mistral was not present for racing today, as the Nor’westers clocked well South and abated to 7-10 knots. The last two days look to be conducted in light Sou’easterlies, with low 30-degree temperatures on offer. This is very similar to the conditions earlier in the regatta.

Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine also climbed up one place to be sixth place overall in the Women’s 49erFX skiff. They have three more fleet races to complete, and overall points are tight in the second half of the top ten. A day ashore today to recharge the batteries is sure to help.

Jim Colley and Shaun Connor climbed up two places out on the track today, with a second place in the last race bound to fill them with confidence going into the last three fleet races. They are in 11th place overall, two points adrift of the magical 10th place.

Colley said, “The goal tomorrow is to leave nothing out there. Go hard in the breeze and get ourselves into the medal race.”

After five straight days of racing and qualifying in fifth place overall, the Mixed 470 crew of Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas had earned a rest day. Showing a wisdom that hitherto may have been considered above their years the pair have grown in stature both on and off the water at this crucial regatta.

Nicholas said, “Yesterday was great racing. Everyone came out firing and it was incredibly close. It’s been a long season of lessons and mistakes, and now we have learned from those and starting to really improve and achieve what we believe we can.”

“There’s still a lot of work to do but the great thing is we are getting better each day. We are very ready for this medal race and will not leaving anything in the tank. We are coming for a medal.”

Jerwood took a more holistic approach and said, “We have a rest day today, so the plan is to focus on recovery and also go do something fun to re-energize for tomorrow. The medal race is very tight on points from third through to seventh, so it is a who beats who scenario. We have been sailing fast and smart the last few days and plan to carry this into the medal race.”

Zoe Thomson finished her regatta in 20th place today. A bright start to the competition will be something for her to work with henceforth. Clearly disappointed, Thomson was already looking forward, and said, “It’s a hard game with one discard and consistency is everything. I’ll analyse this one and learn from it.”

The new pairing of Lisa Darmanin and Darren Bundock in the Mixed Nacra 17 may have only had a few weeks to train together, but there is vast resource of talent and experience there. They recorded a dreaded Black Flag today, after a U Flag earlier on in the event. Darmanin spoke once back ashore, “We don’t think we were over, so it’s a bit weird. A frustrating day; we’re lacking speed. Looking forward to some more wind for our final three fleet races.”

Racing continues tomorrow as the remaining crews make sure they qualify for the all-important, double points medal races at the end of the regatta.

Visit the event website for full results.

Australian results at the Olympic Test Event:

ILCA 7 – 42 Entries

2nd – Matt Wearn OAM – 1, 7, 5, (10), 5, 2, 3, 1, 6, (43 RET) (40 points)

Men’s iQFOiL – 22 Entries

2nd – Grae Morris – 9, 3, (24), (10), 3, 4, 1, 2, 7, 2, 4, 3 (42 points)

Mixed 470 – 17 Entries

5th – Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas – 7, (16), 16, 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 3, 11 (53 points)

49erFX – 24 Entries

6th – Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine – 2, (19), 8, 12, 14, 13, 11, 4, 7, (71 points)

Women’s Formula Kite – 20 Entries

11th – Breiana Whitehead – 7, 10, 10, (16), 12, 12, 8, 13, (21 DNF), 9, (21 DNF), 5, 9, 7, 12, 7 (121 points)

49er – 28 Entries

11th – Jim Colley and Shaun Connor – 16, 15, 4, 7, (17), 12, 15, 2 (82 points)

Nacra 17 – 18 Entries

16th – Darren Bundock and Lisa Darmanin – 17, (19 UFD), 11, 11, 14, 16, 19 BFD, 14, 16 (118 points)

Men’s Formula Kite – 20 Entries

17th – Scott Whitehead – (20), 10, 12, (17), (16), 15, 16, 16, 15, 9, 11, (21 DNF), 14, 13, 13, 9 (169 points)

ILCA 6 – 38 Entries

20th – Zoe Thomson – 11, 8, 13, (39 DSQ), 39 BFD, 10, 24, 9, 28, 23 (165 points)

Words by John Curnow.

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