Subtropical conditions for day two of Sail Sydney

High humidity and lighter winds made for a subtropical day two at Sail Sydney. The morning session was postponed until a light nor’easter replaced the early glass-out and slowly inched up to 10 knots by the time the Moths, 49ers, FXs, Finns and standard Lasers took to the racetrack mid-afternoon.

The 420s, 470s, Flying Dutchmans, Laser Radials and 2.4mR went out for the morning session from Woollahra Sailing Club and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. The International 2.4mR, a class that has been around since 1982 and is a scaled down version of the old 12m America’s Cup yachts, are berthed at the CYCA in Rushcutters Bay due to the excellent facilities.

Among them is Australian Sailing Team athlete and London Paralympian (7th) Matthew Bugg from Hobart who grew up in a sailing family and says he’s been lucky to remain part of the sport after breaking his back in a snowboarding accident in Switzerland 10 years ago.

“Out of an unfortunate situation I’ve been fortunate to have sailing in my life,” Bugg says. He may have qualified Australia for its spot in the 2.4mR class at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, but like all those vying for national selection he still has to prove to selectors he’s a medal chance.

Bugg’s coach Richard Scarr, the national Paralympic coach for the 2.4mR and Tasmania’s state high performance coach, says the legacy of Australia’s results at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games is a better integration of the two teams, and this is producing results. “Being able to access the AST’s coaching experience and training facility at Middle Harbour Yacht Club and training with the rest of the AST is getting Matt the one percenters that make the difference,” Scarr says.

On their Hobart base Scarr reckons “it’s like having a place to train in secret then turn up and smash the world.” For ‘Bugsy’ the weather vagaries can mean wearing a dry suit both in summer and winter to ward off the wind chill on the Derwent River.

Merino farmer Peter Thompson learnt to sail on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra and after his accident switched from 470s and 505s to the 2.4mR. He represented Australia at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, finishing fourth, and after an extended break is back competing.

Sail Sydney 2014 has drawn a multinational fleet from Ireland, Chile, Germany, Russia, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Macedonia and Canada.

Swiss Laser sailor Christoph Bottini combined a Sydney wedding last Thursday at Bradleys Head for him and his very understanding new German wife with his seventh Sail Sydney regatta. Bottini is contemplating a shot at Olympic Laser selection “depending on whether I’m still having fun and how far off the best guy I am at the end of next week’s ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne”, the next stop for the newlyweds as they share an unconventional honeymoon.

Irish Finn sailor James Espey is delighted with the hot sun and the sauna-like temperatures bearing down on those rigging up at WSC given “the temperature was touching zero back at home.” It’s been cost effective for the Irish Sailing Team athlete to combine two ISAF graded events in one long trip as he sets his sights on a top 10 finish next week and in the longer term, making the cut for his second Olympic Games.

The Italian 49er crew of Ruggero Tita and Giacomo Cavilli shook off the worst of their jetlag due to their arrival on the first morning of competition yesterday, Tuesday December 2, 2014, straight from Abu Dhabi to re-join the fleet on Sydney Harbour today. It’s been a dream of Tita’s to sail in Sydney and Cavilli said seeing the city’s most famous landmarks, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, for the first time yesterday was “overwhelming”. Currently the pair is running second overall.

All day one Sail Sydney results are available here and will be updated with today’s races later this afternoon.

The NSW Government is a key Sail Sydney supporter along with Nautilus Marine, Gill Marine clothing, Steve Jarvin Motors, Lejen Marine, Tohatsu Outboards and Sydney Harbour Boat Storage.

– Lisa Ratcliff

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