Australian Grae Morris has scored a breakthrough sixth place at the iQFOiL European Championships after finishing third in his quarter final, a result good enough to win the Under 21 European Championship title.
After nearly four hours waiting for 40 knot gusts to ease on the racecourse in Patras, Greece, Morris (Australian Sailing Squad and NSWIS) finished a great week with another strong performance.
“This was my first Medal Race, and it was super intense, and super fun. The long delay ashore before the race didn’t affect me, I wasn’t really feeling the pressure and was working on just keeping things calm,” said Morris.
“My start wasn’t great so I had to pick the simple and smart way in those 25-27 knot top-end conditions, as I didn’t want to rush anything, just do it right. That all paid off in the upwind leg, where I went from last place up to third. I was pushing hard for second place, to move into the semi finals as part of the top two, but I just didn’t make that.”
Speaking at the end of a busy European schedule, Australian Sailing Team iQFOiL Coach Arthur Brett summed up the event.
“A very good regatta here still with room for improvement. Grae and I have already had a great debrief about the path moving forwards, with some specifics for him to work on. He will continue to develop, but this really is an exciting time for Grae and the iQFOiL squad.”
Particularly encouraging for Brett was the ability for the Woollahra Sailing Club athlete to work his way through the fleet after a poor start.
“Unfortunately, his start was a fraction off, which put him in last place at the first mark,” noted Brett.
“After that he did really well, passing four boards to get third in the quarter finals which secured him 6th place overall. This shows what Grae is capable of. These boards are travelling at ten metres per second at the start, so if you are half a second late to the line you are five metres back. We will work on the precision in that area, but this is a skill that will only get better.”
Summing up the recent regattas and training blocks in Europe, Coach Arthur Brett had high praise for the iQFOiL squad.
“We have been away for eight weeks, and the squad remained sharp all the way to the end. That is a real credit to these athletes for maintaining that high level of intensity.”
With the iQFOiL Europeans completed, the squad returns home for a break, then pre-event training for the Paris Olympic Test event in Marseille from 7-16th July in and the World Championships in The Hague from 10th-20th August.
Visit the event website for full results.
Australian Sailing Squad (ASS), Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) and other Australian (AUS) entries:
iQFOiL Men – 18 races (four drops)
6th Grae Morris (ASS) (NSWIS) 11, (12), 4, 7, (16), 1, 4, 3, (11), 1, 11 (18), 3, 1, 11, 5, 7, 2 = 71
53rd Harry Joyner (ASS) (WAIS) (34), 16, 11, 16, 14, 28, (32), 25, 41, (46), 45, (54), BFD 39, 33, 35, 35, 37, 35 = 410
79th Steve Allen (ASS) 28, (40), 35, 26, (37), 30, 24, 34, 9, DNC (58), 12, DNC (58), BFD (58) 3 = 317
96th Jack Marquardt (AUS) (VIS) 45, 42, 44, (50), (50), DNF (58), 47, 46, 29, 38, (41), 29, 22, 40 = 432
iQFOiL Women – 18 races (four drops)
69th Samantha Costin (ASS) (QAS) 31, (39), (32), 32, 31, 29, 28, 31, 20, 24, 20, 15, 23, 21, (33), 27, 19, DNF (45) = 351
Words by Blue Robinson.
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