Today was all about the medal races in Kiel, with light winds delaying the starts until late morning when the both the temperature and the pressure ramped up.
Queenslander Mara Stransky wore the leader’s yellow bib into today’s medal race, and she put the finishing touches on a breakthrough regatta winning both the race and the gold medal.
For assistant National ILCA 6 Coach Ben Walkemeyer it was a fantastic result for the squad.
“Mara sailed a pretty perfect race, she didn’t put any unnecessary risk out there and led from the first top mark to the finish,” said Walkemeyer. “She essentially had a fleet of four boats she had to look for and so started safely, got the first shift and it was all about protecting that reasonable position, and so that meant the race win right there.”
Mara was delighted with today’s performance.
“This is my first proper win, so it hasn’t sunk in yet. My aim coming here was to work on consistency as that has let me down in the past, and so most of this win came from my starts. It was so hard to work out these conditions and so I just wanted to start clean and keep it simple.”
Speaking about the race delay, Stransky was comfortable with the extra time.
“It was good to have some extra time to settle before the medal race here, as once you are on the water, we are generally straight into a start sequence. If I finished in the top seven it would be hard to lose this, so my aim was to stay safe and sail conservative. Initially it was about not coming last, then halfway up the beat I moved into a really good position. “
The entire Australian Sailing ILCA 6 squad made the medal race at Kiel, Stransky was effusive in her praise of the entire team.
“It is so phenomenal to have all of us in the medal race and I credit most of my ability to get around this racecourse from working with the other girls. Everyone in the squad has the ability to win, and that is super exciting. I particularly want to thank my family and my home club the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron plus the Queensland Academy of Sport sailing program, they have been really influential.”
The squad’s achievement has brought excitement and energy to the young group, including Zoe Thomson who finished in sixth.
“All of us in this squad believe we can achieve something pretty extraordinary,” said Thomson. “We are all working hard towards that, we are pretty good friends, plus we are relatively young and so this experience is all adding up.”
Western Australian Elyse Ainsworth shared that sentiment.
“I think what we have going is unique and very special. We have all worked incredibly hard to make this happen and I am stoked that we can be doing this together. I think this is only the beginning for us and I really believe we can take it all the way, to be a very dominant squad within the ILCA 6 class. This is really exciting for women’s sailing in Australia, as it feels like we are leading a very powerful pathway here.”
The other Aussies in a medal race today were Queenslanders Tom Needham and Joel Turner in the 49er class, and they finished an agonising one point off a podium finish.
National 49er Coach Euan McNicol described the 49er medal race in very difficult conditions.
“Today was light and patchy and pretty streaky, but I think Tom and Joel did a good job of balancing out the shifts and the pressure. They managed to stay in the front part of the fleet for all the race which certainly wasn’t easy, as it developed into quite gusty and shifty conditions.”
The 49er fleet in Kiel had one of the closest finished of the event, as Needham explained.
“It was a photo finish for third, fourth and fifth, so we didn’t know our result when we finished it was that close. There was a big gust down the middle of the course and obviously the boats behind get that first, so everyone caught up and it was super tight. Luckily, we managed to shoot through and get a third in the medal race, just one point off third overall.”
Reflecting on an impressive week, Thomas and Joel were clear on the pride and passion in the Australian 49er squad.
“It was so good to go out there and represent our country and our squad. We are a very close-knit 49er squad, and we work hard together and so very proud to represent the guys and everyone back at home. All this means that a huge credit must go to the rest of the 49er squad and to our support staff, our coach Euan McNicol, Michael Blackburn, and the physios and psychologists here who make it all work. We are from Brisbane and so the Queensland Academy of Sport helps us day to day, and of course the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron is really important to us. We know that none of this happens without each and every one of our supporters, and so as always, a massive thanks goes out to them.”
Visit the event website here: https://kieler-woche.de/en/
Follow the results of Kiel Week 2022 here: https://kieler-woche.de/en/sailing/results.php
Words: Blue Robinson.
Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) entries at Kiel Week 2022:
470 Mixed – Medal Race final results (Medal Race points in brackets) – 37 entries
Gold – Malte Winkel and Anastasia Winkel (GER) (14) – 44 points
Silver – Simon Diesch and Anna Markfort (GER) (4) – 47 points
Bronze – Anton Dahlberg (SWE) (8) 57 points
14th – Chris Charlwood and Amelia Catt (AUS) – 91 points
49er – Medal Race final results (Medal Race points in brackets)
Gold – James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) (2) – 34 points
Silver – Diego Botin and Florian Paul (ESP) (4) – 44 points
Bronze – Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie (NZL) (12) – 50 points
4th – Thomas Needham and Joel Turner (ASS) (6) – 51 points
49er (91 entries)
24th Jack Ferguson and Max Paul (ASS) 5, 12, 8, 9, 9, 21, (24), 22 = 86
29th Jim Colley and Shaun O’Connor (ASS) 5, 12, 8, 10, 1, 11, (34 BFD), 21 = 68
43rd Thomas Cunich and Miles Davey (ASF) 17,13, 12, 16, 10, (21), 19, 19 = 106
45th Otto Henry and Flynn Twomey (ASF) 18, 8, 10, 18, 11 19, 23, (28) = 107
58th Tom Burton and Simon Hoffmann (ASS) 31 UFD, 9, 7, 22, 27, 30, 34 BFD (34 BFD) = 160
62nd Ryan Littlechild and Jack Hildebrand (ASF) 24, (26), 18, 19, 5, 4, 3, 4, 20 = 97
49erFX – Medal Race final results (Medal Race points in brackets) – 65 entries
Gold – Sophie Steinlein and Thomas Plobel (GER) (4) – 25 points
Silver – Villma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler (SWE) (8) – 42 points
Bronze – Georgia Lafrance and Antonia Lafrance (CAN) (2) – 54 points
14th Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (ASS) 11, 8, 3, 8, 9, 15, (23), 6, 15, 11 = 86 points
26th Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS) (12), 7, 6, 10, 5, 9, 1, 1, 2 = 41
28th Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS) 7, (15),10, 5, 7, 4, 6, 4, 8 = 51
ILCA6 – Medal Race final results (Medal Race points in brackets)
Gold – Mara Stransky (AST) (2) – 16 points
Silver – Monika Mikkola (FIN) (4) – 34 points
Bronze – Mirthe Akkerman (NED) (10) – 38 points
6th – Zoe Thompson (ASS) (18) – 50 points
8th – Casey Imeneo (ASS) (16) – 60 points
9th – Elyse Ainsworth (ASS) (12) – 105 points
ILCA 6 (42 entries)
17th– Evie Saunders (ASF) – 107 points
ILCA 7 (105 entries)
90th Luke Elliott (AST) (50 DNC), 50 DNC, 50 STP, 50 DNC, 50 DNF, 1, 50 DNC = 251
Nacra 17 – Medal Race final results (Medal Race points in brackets)
Gold – Ruggero Tita and Vaterina Banti (ITA) (8) – 27 points
Silver – John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR) (10) – 36 points
Bronze – Vittorio Bissardo and Maelle Frascardi (ITA) (2) – 46 points
Nacra 17 (31 entries)
11th Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST) = 75 points
17th Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland (ASS) = 114 points
21st Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown (ASF) = 132 points
28th Archie Garrett and Sarah Hoffman (ASF) = 183 points