Australian crews have wrapped up victory in two classes with one day of racing remaining at the Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth, England, with a third class still in the balance for the Australian Sailing Team.
Current 49er World Champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have now won three out of three regattas, taking an unbeatable 34 point lead into Saturday's medal race.
“We've come out of today with a lead of more than 20 points which was the goal for the day,” said Outteridge. “It was just nice being out there and learning about the conditions, apparently it's not going to be like this because it's coming from the north but hopefully we'll get a few days like we've seen this week.”
49er crew Iain Jensen is enjoying sailing alongside Outteridge and that the pair are looking forward to contesting the final medal race.
“We went pretty well out there today, we had good pace and were on the right side of a lot of shifts which made a big difference,” said Jensen.
Tom Slingsby has also taken an unassailable lead in the Laser fleet, with a fifth and third placing on Friday giving him a 25 point gap back to second place, meaning he just needs to take part in the medal race to take the title.
“It's been a long time between drinks, well over a year since I won a grade one event so I'm stoked to be back on top,” said Slingsby.
“The whole game plan this week was to back myself and back my judgement,” he said. “I found that during the last year I've been a bit of a follower, following the fleet around and basing my tactics on what the fleet does.”
“This regatta I've just wanted to do what I want to do and back myself and it worked out,” he said.
In the men's 470 fleet Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page had a first and seventh place to move back into first place, alongside local crew Nic Asher and Elliot Willis.
The class will be decided on the results of the medal race, with Belcher and Page looking forward to the contest.
“We're just going to go out and sail our own race,” said Belcher. “All we can do is treat tomorrow as any other race.”
Page said that they have taken a lot out of their time on the 2012 London Olympic Games course.
“The beautiful thing is that this is a more difficult place to sail in and that will be a good thing for the Games,” said Page. “I want it to be more difficult as it brings out who's good and who's not.”
“We've had quite a few positives to come out of this week, even though we say we're not focusing on results we are doing better, our teamwork is coming together nicely,” he said.
RS:X sailor Jessica Crisp will also be contesting the medal race, with a fourth and seventh moving her up to fifth overall.
The two Australian Sailing Development Squad Women's Match Racing crews both made the quarterfinals before being knocked out of the competition.
Katie Spithill, along with Nina Curtis and Jessica Eastwell finished the regatta in fifth place, while Lucinda Whitty, Olivia Price and Stacey Jackson finished eighth.
ASDS Finn sailor James Paterson finished his first overseas regatta in 31st position, learning a lot from sailing against a high quality, international, fleet.
In the Laser class James Burman finished 43rd in the Gold fleet while Sean Bly was 26th in the Silver fleet.
Australia's 470 women's crew of Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson were forced out of the regatta due to an injury to Rechichi but gained a valuable insight to the conditions in Weymouth during their time on the water.
In the Sonar class Colin Harrison, Barry Astwood and Russell Boaded finished the regatta in eighth, with a fourth place in the final race their best result of the week.
2.4mR sailor and Paralympic Silver medallist Rachael Cox was 12th overall while fellow Australian Duncan MacGregor ended the regatta in 15th.
For more information go to www.australiansailingteam.com.au
– Craig Heydon