Pacific Games – Sailors seal first week of Pacific Games

Written by AOC

Australia has won two gold, a silver and a bronze medal after a week of sailing at Iumi Water Park, with the young sailing team revelling in the international regatta opportunity.

Eighteen-year-old Evie Saunders won gold in the ILCA-6 class, also taking home gold in the teams event with Ellen Sampson, while Sailboarder Lachlan Vize won silver, also taking home bronze with teammate Jarrod Jones in the teams event.

With 11 ILCA-6 races and 15 sailboard races over the course of the week, the four Australians were constantly in the mix.

Evie entered the medal race with a slender lead over Fijian Sophia Morgan – knowing she would need to finish within one position of the Fijian to win gold. Turning the medal race into a one on one match race, tactically matching the Fijian, saw Evie finish within the target one position to take the overall points win.

“I’m super happy with it,” Evie said. “To win the individual and the team event with Ellen, two golds, I’m just so happy.

“This is my first big international win, it’s so amazing. All my hard work and training has paid off.

“Coming into today I knew it was a battle between Fiji and myself for gold – it became a very tactical, one on one boat handling battle and my plan worked out well. 

“At the finish line, I was so close with Fiji, I knew my plan and I knew that I executed it. It took a minute to sink in but once I came over to the coach boat with Ellen and (coach) Annie I knew it was real. It’s such a great feeling.”

With teammate Ellen in fourth, the Australian duo also comfortably won the teams gold, which is based on the finishing position of each nation’s two competitors.

Seventeen-year-old Victorian Lachlan Vize also took out a tight tussle for silver, holding off Fijian Andrew Rhodes who won bronze, and behind winner Olympian Samuel Launay of New Caledonia.

“It’s an amazing experience, I can’t really believe it,” Lachy said. “It’s so cool racing against the Olympians from New Caledonia. 

“Heading into the final race there was one point difference between me and bronze – it was tight, and right at the start of the medal race I thought he might have had me, but I feels so good to come away with the silver.”

Jarrod Jones finished fourth, with his result enough to secure team bronze for the duo.

Sixteen-year-old Ellen said the week’s regatta has given her a wealth of experience to take home, as well as her gold medal from the teams event.

“I’m really happy with that week, I learnt a lot, and made some improvements,” Ellen said. “It was really cool racing to be involved in at a high level.

“I learnt so much – everything about being in a top end regatta, the preparation, all the racing, so many little things I’ll take with me.”

Eighteen-year-old Jarrod was battling against seasoned veterans with decades of experience, including Olympic sailors from New Caledonia.

“While I’m a bit disappointed with the individual performance, I’m really happy to get the teams result. It’s been such a good learning opportunity – I’ll be able to take this away and get better.

“Whenever you’ve got good people you’re racing against, it always pushes you to be better. I’ve learnt a lot from the experienced guys in our regatta, about how they sail, how they position themselves in the fleet.

“Sailing is traditionally quite an individual sport, it’s such a nice change to be part of a wider team, to get amongst and support each other, it’s a really cool experience.”

With the racing week for the first four sailors complete, racing will begin on Monday for the remaining four sailors, two each in men’s laser and women’s sailboard.

For the full AOC article, please click HERE

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