Waterhouse and Darmanin hit the lead at Rio test event

Australian Sailing Team’s Jason Waterhouse (NSW) and Lisa Darmanin (NSW) have taken the lead in the Nacra17 at the Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after winning both their races on Wednesday (19 August 2015).

The Nacra 17 and the Finn were the only boat classes to get two races in with another day of unusual wind challenges resulting in the cancellation and reduction of races.

All Australian crews were meant to be racing on Wednesday, but in the end the Men’s Skiff (49er) were sent home and Laser, 470M, 49erFX only got one race in, while the Finn completed two instead of the scheduled three.

Winners of the day from an Australian point of view were cousins Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin who have sailed a consistent regatta and put in their strongest day thus far.

They kicked off the day with a race win and had to wait for several hours on the water before they could get another race in, and they won that as well.

“It was an interesting day today, we’ve got to sail into a different direction! We’ve been here for a month and it was the first time we raced in a Northerly, which was very interesting to see how it played out. But it was good and we had a good first race and got a bullet, so I don’t mind this direction,” Lisa Darmanin said laughing.

“The wind wasn’t happy after that and we had to wait a long time while it decided what it wanted to do. Finally it settled from the South and we got another race in. Two races for us today and two bullets so we are pretty happy.”

And helm Jason Waterhouse added: “The key for us today was that we got off the line really well in both races, which is something we’ve been working on. The boat felt really comfortable in a light up and down race. Lisa did a great job keeping the boat going forward and we were making good decisions and that’s all you can ask for in a venue like this. This puts us into first place overall and that’s where we want to be in the end. We hope to consolidate tomorrow and to improve on our result going into the Medal Race because anything can happen at the Sugar Loaf (Medal Race Course).”

It is a tight game in the Nacra17 fleet with the pair now leading by only two points ahead of the second ranked Dutch, but reflecting their consistency they carry a very low seventh place to drop.

While it was smiles in the Nacra17 team camp, the day did not go as planned for Olympic gold medallist Mat Belcher (QLD) and World Champion crew Will Ryan (QLD). The pair were first across the finish line in the one and only race of the day but were black-flagged (disqualified) after being ahead of the line at the start.

“We actually sailed really well with good boat speed and did the basics right. But unfortunately, we were over the start early. It wasn’t our best day, but tomorrow we’ve got three more races, hopefully on an offshore course and good winds. So we are looking to make amends,” Will Ryan said after the race.

“It was actually a scheduled rest day for us today, but due to not getting any racing in yesterday, they brought us down again this morning, which was good. Unfortunately the wind didn’t show up this morning, so it was another day of waiting around in the heat here. Fortunately, when we got to the furthest offshore course late this afternoon we had a good seabreeze and got one race in.”

The pair currently sit ten points behind the leading team from Croatia.

The Laser fleet managed to get one race with a ninth place for Tom Burton (NSW) who holds on to his fourth place.

“A long day again. We waited until two o’clock and the race committee sent us out on the Copacabana course, so a long tow out there. It’s not as far as the Pai course, but still a long tow. As soon as we got there, the breeze was in and they started us off straight away. I managed to get a ninth. Solid compared to some of the things that can happen out there on the tricky course. I was better at times, but I was worse at time as well. So this was a solid result, but not as good as yesterday,” Tom Burton said.

One race was also sailed in the 49erFX with Olympic silver medallist Olivia Price (NSW) and crew Jaime Ryan (QLD) with the fleet finishing in the dark. The pair posted a 14th place and sit in 15th overall.

In the Finn class, Jake Lilley (QLD) moved up one spot into 12th after posting a tenth and a 12th

Racing was cancelled for Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge (NSW) and Iain Jensen (NSW), who are currently ranked fourth in the 49er. With only on race day left ahead of Friday’s Medal Races in the 49er/FX, Laser and Nacra 17 the pressure will be on in Thursday’s racing.

With a front expected to come through, the hope is for better winds on Thursday and the remainder of the event.

Racing is scheduled to start an hour earlier from 12:00 p.m. with racing scheduled for all six Australian crews.

Ten Australian sailors, including four London 2012 Olympic medallists, are competing in Rio in six of the ten Olympic classes in what is a key dress rehearsal at the 2016 sailing venue. Running from 15-22 August, it is the second Olympic Sailing Test Event to be held on Guanabara Bay, Brazil.

Medal Races in the Laser, 49er, 49erFX and Nacra17 are scheduled for Friday, 21 August with Medal Races for the Men’s 470 and Finn classes to follow Saturday, 22 August.

– Cora Zillich/AST

Schedule for Thursday, 20 August 2015

Men’s One Person Dinghy Niteroi 3 Races 1230

Men’s One Person Dinghy Pai 3 Races 1230(Heavyweight)

Men’s Two Person Dinghy Copacabana 3 Races 1240

Men’s Skiff Escola Naval 4 Races 1200

Women’s Skiff P. Acucar 4 Races 1330

Mixed Multihull Ponte 4 Races 1200

Click here to access the Tracking and Competition Status Screen: www.sailing.org/olympics/rio2016/multimedia/live_tracking.php

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