Two silver, two bronze for Australia at ISAF World Cup Miami

The wind was back for the final day of the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami (26-31 January 2016) with Australian Sailing crews taking home two silver medals in the Men’s 470 and Men’s 49er skiff as well as two bronze medals in the Laser and Finn class this morning (Saturday, 31 January local time). This brings the overall Australian medal tally in Miami to two silver, two bronze in the Olympic as well as one gold medal in the Paralympic classes.

Men’s 470 World Champions Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD) finished their first international regatta of the 2015 season with a silver. Men’s 49er skiff sailors Joel Turner (QLD) and Iain Jensen (NSW) added another silver after a great week for the pair who has only been sailing together for a few days.

With Australian Sailing Squad’s 19-year old Joel Turner winning silver and 19-year old Matt Wearn (WA) plus 21-year old Jake Lilley (QLD) adding two bronze medals in the Laser and Finn class respectively, it was Australian Sailing Squad’s youngsters who were making waves at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami.

Already yesterday (Friday, 30 January 2015 Miami local time) London 2012 Paralympic gold medallists Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch took home the win in the SKUD 18 with Paralympian Matt Bugg (TAS) finishing the regatta in fifth.


After yesterday’s final race day was cancelled due to the lack of wind, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan went into today’s medal race with a 15 point gap behind the leading British crew of Luke Patience and Elliot Willis. Looking behind them, the pair had a 13-point lead over third and 15-point over fourth but results could have gone either way in the double points medal race so Belcher and Ryan had to be on their game.

They managed the task well and finished the medal race in third, which secured them the silver medal behind Great Britain.

It was the first leg of the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup series for the pair after they missed the World Cup in Melbourne in December and after a week of strong and challenging winds the pair was still quite happy with their Rio 2016 preparation and the competition in Miami:

“We are all competitive people and we all want to win” crew Will Ryan said. “But it’s been good to be in that medal winning position and finish the regatta with a silver.”

“It’s been great to sail here and a good indicator where everyone is at with seven out of our world champs top ten here so it’s been a high priority on everyone’s calendar.”

“It’s been really, really tricky racing, but good at the same time. We’re learning a lot and it’s been good to be back here. The main priority are the Olympic games and we’re making sure to gain as much experience as we are heading towards Rio.”

And about the week as a whole Olympic gold medallist Mat Belcher added:

“The racing and competition has been great and is exactly what we were after. We learnt again a lot at this regatta and are happy with our overall performances and where we are at on our road to Rio. “

“The racing here in Miami has been difficult with often extreme shifts and quite unstable conditions. The fleet, including us had few sail and other material damages due to multiple capsises over the first few days but we managed to hang in there.”


The new pairing of Olympic gold medallist Iain Jensen (NSW) sailing in Miami with up and coming skipper Joel Turner (QLD) delivered a strong performance which attracted a lot of attention over the week.

In Miami, Australian Sailing Squad’s Joel Turner filled in for Olympic gold medallist Nathan Outteridge and successfully filled some big shoes. Turner and Jensen moved up into second place on the third day of the regatta and managed to hold that position until the end finishing it all off with a silver medal today.

19-year Joel Turner, top ranked under 21 athlete at last year’s Junior World Championships, who usually sails with fellow Queenslander Lewis Brake, was thrilled about the opportunity to sail with the experienced Jensen.

“Its been awesome sailing with Goobs. I got the call up last minute because Nathan wasn’t available to race, so I had a late flight over here and we only got two days of training before the regatta, so that had to do, but it’s all been going great,” Turner said.

“Obviously for me, I just wanted to achieve the best result possible for two reasons; A, for rankings and to make Goobs feel good and not feel like he is sailing with someone inferior, and B, if I sailed to my best, I would be able to clearly define some goals for myself and Lewis as a team for the rest of this year.”

“There are not that many differences between Goobs and my usual crew Lewis but there are just some little things I’ve picked up on which will be really good for myself and my crew because we can work on those things and we can try to up our game as well. At the moment it’s all about the learning for me as well as being the best skipper that I can be.”

For Turner and Jensen, their short-term partnership, was a one off for Miami with Jensen’s usual helm Nathan Outteridge missing out for personal reasons, but nonetheless Jensen was very complimentary of his Miami skipper. ““Joel has been doing a great job and picked some clever shifts out there. We’ve been doing a lot better than we expected considering we only had a couple days in the boat together before this”, Iain Jensen said.

“Joel’s been awesome to sail with and I think he’ll be a force in the 49er for years to come, he’s 19-years-old and got a bright future but in the next couple of years I might just stick with what I know,” Jensen replied when teased with the question if he will now stick with Turner.

Seven years after forming, three 49er world titles and an Olympic gold medal later, Miami was the first time Jensen had been without his helm in the Men’s Skiff.

“It’s the first time I’ve sailed the 49er without Nathan for a long time. If you sail with someone for years, like I have with Nathan, you get stuck in your routine. It’s always the same but if you sail with someone else it forces you to problem solve differently and that’s beneficial for when you go back with the other person,“ Jensen said about the benefits of sailing with a different partner.

Outteridge flew in on Thursday, supporting his crew and training mate Turner from the coach boat.


Western Australian Matt Wearn made waves in Miami after a strong week which saw him taking the lead on day three and finishing the event with a second place in the medal race and the bronze medal in the high-calibre 126-boat Laser fleet.

“I wanted to finish the regatta strongly”, Wearn said after racing. “Being a perfectionist I didn’t just want the third place overall, but getting a second in the medal race today was a good way to finish off the week. I was extremely happy to have such a solid performance both in today’s race and during the regatta.”

After finishing second at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Melbourne and third in the strong fleet of Miami, Matt Wearn requalifies for a spot on the Australian Sailing Team (AST) – a position he lost after a disappointing 28th at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain last September.

“To requalify for AST is such a great feeling” an excited Matt Wearn said. “Especially to bounce back after my worlds experience. It’s just nice to get back on track for 2016.”

Wearn and current Laser World #1 Tom Burton (NSW) had one of the closest battles at the recent Laser Nationals underlining the current strength of the squad, coached by 2000 Olympic bronze medallist Michael Blackburn and as far as Matt Wearn is concerned the battle will continue.

“Miami has been a great confidence boost – also to get on top of TB (Tom Burton). He’s had a full on Australian summer also with the Moths, probably more full on than mine, but you got to be ready to race when you need to race”, Wearn said about the competition between Tom Burton and himself. “Things get heated out on the water at times, as you’d expect in racing, but on shore we are good mates and it’s great for the team to have good training partners going into 2016.”

Tom Burton already finished the regatta ranked 18th yesterday after a virus had weakened him considerably at the start of the event.

“This week has been a lot under of what I expect from myself and the results are showing. It's another kick up the butt like in Qingdao. You just can't race the laser on 50%”, Tom Burton said. “It’s still been good to come here and see how far I’m off the pace. It gives me motivation to prepare for Palma and come back hard.”


Queenslander Jake Lilley has been called the rising star of the fleet this week in Miami and put in an exceptional performance this week in a tough fleet and a range of conditions and managed to hold onto second place for the first four days.

On the penultimate day Lilley amassed a lot of points in the light and shifty conditions to drop to fourth, 11 points outside a medal before the final race so a medal almost seemed out of reach. It needed something special to turn that around and to come out and win the medal race is quite an achievement for the youngster.

It was an incredibly close medal race with all boats finishing the 25-minute race within 40 seconds.

At 21-years of age, he was the youngest Finn sailor in Miami and with his coach John Bertrand the current Junior European Champion is making steady progress. Lilley only joined the class in 2013 and is one of its fastest rising stars. Only time will tell whether he can continue this momentum, but there is no doubt that performing well at Rio is his aim.

“It’s been a good week and Miami put on some really tricky conditions”, he said. “The racing has been top notch with most of the Finn fleet here.”

“I’ve shown some improvements over the season and I’m happy to go into Europe next with where I’m at. You can’t miss any of these World Cup regattas and they are crucial on the road to Rio. You got to perform at the World Cups to know where you stand leading into the Games.”

Fellow Australian Sailing Squad’s Finn sailor Oliver Tweddell (VIC) finished the event in 10th.

Australian Sailing’s sixth boat in the medal races, women’s 49erFX skiff crew of Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Caitlin Elks (WA), finished the regatta in overall sixth

The Sailing World Cup Miami on Biscayne Bay saw world-class fields in ten Olympic and three Paralympic events including 599 boats and featuring 768 sailors from 63 countries. Australian Sailing Team and Squad athletes were represented in eight Olympic and two Paralympic classes taking home two silver, two bronze in the Olympic classes as well as one gold medal in the Paralympic SKUD-18 class.

Australian Sailing’s athletes will return to Australia to continue training on home waters before the majority of the team will head across to Europe from the end of March 2015.

ISAF video highlights:

2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami Australian Sailing Team & Squad Results

(as of Saturday, 31 January 2015 local time)

Men’s Two Person Dingy – 470M
– Mat Belcher & Will Ryan (QLD) – AST: 5, 12, (12), 2, 7, 12, 3, 3 – 2nd
– Angus Galloway / Joshua Dawson (QLD): 35, 36, (40), 29, 38, 37, 14, 40 – 37th

Men's One Person Dinghy – Laser
– Matthew Wearn (WA) – ASS: 7, 7, 1, 1, 2, 20, 4, 12, 16, (30), 2 – 3rd
– Tom Burton (NSW) – AST: 20, 20, 1, 7, 14, 6, 30, 55 (BFD), 17, 24 – 18th
– Ryan Palk (QLD) – ASS: 10, 37, 4, (55 UFD), 19, 34, 15, 25, 7, 9 – 21st
– Jeremy O’Connell: 23, 18, 21, 9, 39, (46), 42, 11, 32, 43 – 45th

Men’s Skiff – 49er
– Joel Turner (QLD) & Iain Jensen (NSW) – ASS/AST: 8, 12, 6, 2, 1, 6, 3, 4, 15, (21), 6, 4, 7 – 2nd
– David Gilmour (WA) & Rhys Mara (VIC) – AST: 5, 1, 7, 5, (24), 3, 22, 24, 9, (29), 25, 15 – 19th

Women's Skiff – 49erFX
– Tess Lloyd (VIC/ASS) & Caitlin Elks (WA/ASS) – 3, 7, 18, 23, 17, 9, 12, 12, 12, 23, 23, 4, 17, 12, 13, 11, 8 – 6th
– Olivia Price (NSW/AST) & Eliza Solly (VIC/ASS) – 4, (36), 3, 24, 27, 17, 1, 11, 26, 12, 17, 5, 34, 20, 32 – 15th

Mixed Multihull – Nacra17
– Euan McNicol (NSW) & Lucinda Whitty (NSW) – ASS: 11, 50 (DNF), 50 (DNF), 20, 5, 16, 11, 17, 6, 1, 15, 3, 24, 16 – 13th

Men's One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) – Finn
– Jake Lilley (QLD) – ASS: 2, 3, 22, 1, 2, 9, 7, 2, 10, (27), 1 – 3rd
– Oliver Tweddell (VIC) – ASS: 20, (41 DNF), 3, 2, 7, 4, 8, 4, 22, 18, 10 – 10th

Women's One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
– Ashley Stoddart (QLD) – ASS: 15, 13, (31), 19, 30, 31, 24, 12, 30 – 37th

Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X
– Jock Calvert (TAS) – Youth: 29, (31), 27, 21, 24, 22, 9, 22, 6, 22, 19, 22, (34 RET), 22, 19, 22 – 54th

Paralympic Boat Classes

– Daniel Fitzgibbon (NSW) & Liesl Tesch (NSW) – AST: 1, (9 DNS), 4, 1, 1, 3, 2, 1 – 1st

– Matt Bugg (TAS) – AST: 4, 7, 8, 8, (9), 3, 1 – 5th



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