Rio Olympians Carrie Smith and Jaime Ryan are cherishing the rare opportunity to race against male sailors at Sail Melbourne International, as they continue to rebuild after a challenging post-Olympic lull.
The 470 duo are the best-placed women’s crew among the 12-boat fleet, holding down fifth spot after six races, including two solid fourth placings in squally and rainy conditions off Royal Brighton Yacht Club. World Champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan lead the way.
“It’s super rare for the women and men to be racing together but it’s so good,” Smith said.
“I’ve always known that for us to get better and be the best girls in the world we had to sail like the men and get them to push us. So this opportunity is awesome. It’s pushing everyone to their limits.”
The timing is perfect for the pair, who came 15th at their debut Olympic regatta before enduring a tough European season.
“After that we decided to come together for six weeks, just Jaime and I, and we went to different coaches around the country and got information and really focused on ourselves and our relationship,” Smith said.
“It brought us right back to that basics and we realised we just had to build from there. Sail Melbourne is the first regatta since doing that and I think it’s really showing that we can work solidly as a team and push hard.”
Smith is a staunch advocate for females in sailing and wants to see more women progress from the Australian Sailing Squad to join Nacra 17 star Lisa Darmanin in the Australian Sailing Team.
“We know it’s on us to get the results to get more women in the Team,” she said.
“We were lucky to have myself, Jaime, Lisa and Ash (Stoddart) go to the Olympics. But we want to see more women getting opportunities. It’s the way forward and it’s something we all need to work towards.”
Another sailor pushing up the ranks on Day 3 was Australian Sailing Team member Oliver Tweddell, who scored a confidence-boosting bullet in the first of the two Finn class races to move into third spot behind top-placed Jake Lilley and second-placed Tom Slingsby.
“We’ve got Max (Salminen) the gold medallist and current world champ, Ed [Wright] is a former world champion, Tom’s an Olympian and multiple world champion, and Jake’s an Olympian – so these boys are no slouches,” Tweddell said.
“I’m very happy with winning a race today. I was very close to winning one yesterday, as well. I’m just trying to work on certain things and, even if I’m not winning races, I’m looking to improve. That’s the main thing. I’ve had a lot of stuff going on this week so I’m happy that I’ve been in the hunt. Today, I’ve made a move and I’ve jumped up a little bit.”
Bad weather prevented any action in the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17s, though the Lasers squeezed in three races, with World Championship bronze medallist Matt Wearn emerging victorious in two and World Championship silver medallist Tom Burton winning one. Burton leads the fleet by a point from Wearn.
Results for Australian Sailing Team, Australian Sailing Squad and Class Training Squad members:
Men’s One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) – Finn
Jake Lilley (QLD/QAS) – AST: 1,(2),1,1,2,1 – 1st
Oliver Tweddell (VIC/VIS) – AST: 3,(5),5,2,1,4 – 3rd
Lewis Brake (QLD/QAS) – ASS: (12),8,7,4,6,7 – 6th
Jock Calvert (TAS/TIS) – ASS: (11),10,6,5,7,6 – 7th
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
Tom Burton (NSW/NSWIS) – AST: 3,2,1,1,(5),2,1 – 1st
Matt Wearn (WA/WAIS) – AST: 2,1,3,3,1,1,(4) – 2nd
Jeremy O'Connell (VIC/VIS) – ASS: 1,3,2,2,3,(7),6 – 3rd
Luke Elliott (WA/WAIS) – ASS: 5,4,4,(7),2,3,2 – 4th
Mitch Kennedy (QLD/QAS) – ASS: 9,6,(16),11,4,4,3 – 6th
Finn Alexander (NSW/NSWIS) – ASS: 7,8,(16),9,6,6,7 – 7th
Two Person Dinghy – 470M/W
Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan (QLD/QAS) – AST: 2,1,(4),1,1,1 – 1st
Chris Charlwood and Josh Dawson (WAIS/NSWIS) – ASS: 4,4,2,2,(5),5 – 4th
Carrie Smith and Jaime Ryan (WAIS/NSWIS) – ASS: 3,6,3,(8),4,4 – 5th
Nia Jerwood and Monique de Vries (WA/WAIS) – ASS: 6,5,6,5,(13),6– 6th
Dana Tavener and Katherine Shannon (NSW/NSWIS) – ASS: 9,8,7,9,8,(10) – 8th
Sophie McIntosh and Orla Mulholland-Patterson (NSWIS/WAIS) – ASS: 8,(10),9,7,10,8 – 9th
Shelley White and Emma Baillie (QLD/QAS) – ASS: (11),11,10,6,9,9 – 11th
Men’s Skiff – 49er
David Gilmour and Joel Turner (WAIS/QAS) – AST: 1,(5),4,1,2 – 1st
Sam Phillips and Will Phillips (VIC/VIS) – AST: (4),4,1,4,3 – 2nd
Kurt Hansen and Harry Morton (NSW/NSWIS) – ASS: 8,7,(10),2,1 – 5th
Lachlan Gilmour and Ryan Donaldson (WA/WAIS) – ASS: 6,2,(7),7,4 – 6th
Jim Colley (ASS) and Simon Hoffman (NSW/NSWIS): 7,9,6,10,13 – 10th
Women’s Skiff – 49erFX
Amelia Stabback and Ella Clark (NSWIS/WAIS) – ASS: (3),1,1,2,3 – 1st
Tess Lloyd (ASS) and Harry Mighell (VIC/VIS): – (4),4,2,1,1 – 2nd
Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot (NSW/NSWIS) – CTS: 2,2,4,3,2 – 3rd
Caitlin Elks and Hayley Clark (WA/WAIS) – ASS: 1,3,(5),4,5 – 4th
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (NSW/NSWIS) – AST: (2),1,1,1,1 – 1st
Paul Darmanin and Lucy Copeland (NSW/NSWIS) – CTS: 1,(2),2,2,2 – 2nd
Tayla Rietman and Lachlan White (VIS/NSWIS) – CTS: 3,(4),3,3,4 – 3rd
Connor Nicholas (CTS) and Alexander South (WA/WAIS) – (4),3,4,4,3 – 4th
Full results: http://sailingresults.net/site/event/80163/default.html