Friday, 1st December:
Some of Australia’s brightest young sailing stars shone bright on another glamour day of racing at Sail Melbourne today.
A steady nine to sixteen knots of wind ensured the full schedule of racing was completed, with Mara Stransky (ILCA 6), Grae Morris (Men’s iQFOiL) and Samantha Costin (Women’s iQFOiL) all harnessing it to post straight race wins today.
The Western Australian Mixed 470 team of Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas rode the highs and lows on another dramatic day in their fleet.
They notched a third consecutive win in the first race of the day before an On Course Side (a false start which also gives maximum race points) in the second race dropped them to third overall.
“The breeze was up nice and strong which suits us perfectly,” said Nicholas.
“The last race was flawless other than that we were OCS which was pretty frustrating for us. It was a simple mistake that we need to clean up and not do that again.”
“The racing has been really fun so far, we’ve got eleven 470s here and a strong contingent of Futures athletes and teams from New Zealand and Italy here,” added Skipper Jerwood. “The racing has been good fun but really intense.”
The Australian Sailing Futures program has recently introduced additional support in the form of international regatta coaching and investment into campaign plans. Futures athlete Stefan Elliot-Shircore is one of those prospering from the combination of that additional support combined with the expertise he can access in his state environment in Western Australia. He is currently eighth in a competitive ILCA 7 fleet.
“The blend of Western Australian Institute of Sport and Futures support has given me access to quality technical coaching, squad training, racing, career mapping and benchmarking against people like Matt Wearn who is number one in the world,” said Stefan.
Elliot-Shircore is also getting support from former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh AM, who is mentoring the young Perth sailor through the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program.
“It is great to see our Futures groups forming an important part of the fleets here at Sail Melbourne,” said National Performance Pathways Manager Ken Lynch.
“We’ve been paying significant attention to these squads over the last two years, introducing a new Futures Plus level andoverseas regatta coaching to complement our domestic camps and off-water performance support. We are starting to see the positive impact of this work on athlete progression in daily training environments and international results, with excellent showings at Under 21, Under 23 and open age regattas overseas.”
Today was the first day of the 2.4mR class at Sail Melbourne, with local sailor Neil Patterson setting the tone with 2nd, 2nd and 1st in today’s three races.
Sail Melbourne is a big operation, as explained by Principal Race Officer Peter Osbourne.
“We’ve got 170 boats supported by almost 200 volunteers from our partner clubs Mordialloc and Black Rock without whom we couldn’t do this,” said Osbourne.
“But we’ve also got volunteers coming in from all around the bay and interstate. We’ve got a great team of Race Officers including five international race officers out there all out there doing a fantastic job.”
Racing resumes for all classes at 1pm AEDT tomorrow.
Sail Melbourne is supported by the Victorian Government.
Head of Marketing and Communications, Australian Sailing