Slow start to 470 European Championship for Australia

Day 1 of racing at the 2023 Mixed 470 European Championship was punctuated by a long delay ashore followed by a thunderstorm and lightning on the waters of San Remo in Italy where the Australian teams taking part did not come home with the results they wanted.

Racing, set to start at midday, was delayed by three hours ashore as conditions were unstable. Finally, waiting competitors were sent out to the course area at 3pm.

The day was further hampered by a thunderstorm and conflicting winds. However, officials were able to conduct two races as planned, making it a long day for all concerned, with competitors not returning to shore until after 7.30pm.

Tokyo Women’s 470 Olympian Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas from the Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) are best placed in 40th overall. The pair sailed to 18th and 19th respectively in the opening two races of the qualifying series.

The 65 boats have been split into Yellow and Blue groups, with Jerwood and Nicholas in the Yellow fleet, while Sophie Jackson and Angus Higgins (ASF), sailed in the Blue fleet. They are just two places behind Jerwood and Connor after scoring 25-14 results.

Nicholas admitted, “It wasn’t the most ideal start we’ve had. Nia and I tried to be a bit too clever at times. We didn’t stick to rules in our play book, to keep things simple and don’t try to be too clever.

“It was one of those days that if you got off the line cleanly you did well. We didn’t do that,” the West Australian athlete stated.

“Conditions were pretty wild. We didn’t launch until 3pm and went out to lightning and thunder over the course area and a fighting land and sea breeze. It made it very tricky racing.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s Races 3 and 4, Conor said confidently, “We’ll go out swinging. We know what we need to work on.”

The Mixed 470 European Championship is being conducted by Yacht Club Sanremo, in co-operation with the Italian 470 Class Association and the International 470 Class Association, and under the auspices of the Italian Sailing Federation (FIV).

Racing continues from midday tomorrow local time for the 65 international teams spanning 26 nations. The Medal Race on Saturday 20 May will bring the event to a close.

Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) sailors results in Hyeres:

470 – 65 entries – 2 races

40th Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas (ASS) 18, 19 = 37

42nd Sophie Jackson and Angus Higgins (ASF) 25, 14 = 39

57th James Jackson and Lily Richardson 26, 29 = 55

Full entry list and all information: https://2023europeans.470.org/en/default/races/race

By Di Pearson/AST media

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