Strategy clicks for Aussie sailors on moving day at ILCA 7 World Championship

Four out of five Australians have booked spots in the final series at the ILCA 7 World Championship being held in Mexico. 

It was moving day on Banderas Bay for Sydney’s Finn Alexander on the final day of qualifying racing today. The 23-year-old sailor came away with two top 10 results and will enter the Gold fleet in 22nd overall. 

Alexander commented, “I finally found a bit of rhythm and got the strategy clicking a lot more, having better starts and a much better idea of the racecourse and how the wind was working. 

“It’s been pretty different from what our preconceived idea of the venue was, so it’s taken a couple of days to get used to that. But it’s starting to come together now, and I’ve had some good pace upwind and downwind.” 

Finals racing will commence tomorrow with sailors being split into Gold and Silver fleets based off their position at the conclusion of today’s final qualifying race. 

“There are plenty of tired guys out there racing so us Aussie boys will be charging for the next few days,” Alexander added. 

Luke Elliott sailing upwind.
Luke Elliott. Pic – John Pounder

Western Australia’s Luke Elliott and Ethan McAullay will join Alexander in Gold fleet racing with McAullay proving he belongs in the Australian Sailing Squad after missing out on the Gold fleet at the 2021 World Championships. 

The 21-year-old WAIS athlete has been progressively moving up the overall rankings and finishes qualifying in 36th place with six more races to come. McAullay knows that getting off the start is critical and is making sense of the challenging racing. 

“The racing is super tough with short-lasting shifts, and differing pressure on both sides of the course it can become quite confusing to know what you want to achieve upwind,” McAullay remarked. 

Australian Sailing Futures program sailor Sam King squeezed his way into the Gold fleet in 61st place with 63 boats progressing to Gold fleet racing. 

It has been a frustrating week for reigning Under 21 World Champion Zac Littlewood, who has collected some large points along with letters on his scorecard so will continue finals racing in the Silver fleet. 

Coach Rafa Trujillo knows it’s been a difficult year so far for his athlete, “It’s been a hard start of the season for Zac with both injury and illness which is a bit unlucky, Trujillo shared.  

“This has meant he has struggled with consistent training and maintaining the fitness required to perform at the level we know he can.”

Six more races are set to take place over the next three days in Vallarta, Mexico with similar conditions expected for the remainder of the event. 

Full results:

Australian Sailing Team (AST)Australian Sailing Squad (ASS),  and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) entries:

ILCA 7 (126 Boats) 

22nd – Finn Alexander (ASS) 20, (23), 20, 6, 9, 7 – 65 points

27th – Luke Elliott (AST) 1, (32), 32, 3, 14, 25 – 75 points

36th – Ethan McAullay (ASS) (34), 16, 26, 4, 22, 17 – 85 points

61st – Sam King (ASF) 24, 13, 28, (47), 38, 27 – 130 points

92nd – Zac Littlewood (AST) (DSQ), 26, 21, DNC. 51, 35 – 197 points

Matt Wearn (AST) – DNC (withdrawn from competition)

By Lisa Darmanin

Jeanneau SF30 OD
JPK August 2023